Getting Feedback on your Corporate Career Section

In traditional European urban design there was always some type of “town square” or central public piazza where the town’s people would gather for celebration, food, news, shopping, and announcements. This same concept of the town square remains today in many small towns around the world. Other information channels, however?? including the Internet?? have made its use much less vital to communication needs and town life. The Internet has created literally millions of sub-communities with their own virtual town squares or portal pages. When we look at recruiting in the last few years, the corporate career section on the company’s website has clearly become the town square or centerpiece of many corporate sourcing strategies and branding programs. A company’s career section is the most public display available to reflect the company, the recruiting department, the process, and the systems supporting recruiting. What lies behind the scenes of a company is usually a mystery to the average jobseeker. Only the public career section gives a window into what the hiring organization is all about. It is visited by the most diverse pool of individual, and in many cases, is the largest source of candidates. But many organizations do not have a sense of how effective their career section is in meeting the information and connectivity needs of the jobseeker. The lack of relevant feedback on the career section makes any decisions for change or improvement difficult. In an “old town” one could easily see the clock was broken and needed fixing, and the townspeople could go to the town hall to complain. On a career section, we may have the equivalent of a broken clock, but nowhere for the town visitors to go to point it out. In this first of two articles, we’ll take a look at some techniques and ideas for gathering important information to help an organization gain feedback on the career section. We’ll divide these techniques into two categories: offline and online. For this first article, we’ll look at a few offline examples. Your Webmaster Is Not a Recruiter Before we review these ideas, it must be pointed out that in most cases the corporate webmaster is not currently and never was a recruiter. Sometimes the webmaster does not even come from a marketing background. Therefore, depending on how much those in control of your corporate website value recruiting, you may have an easier or harder time in implementing some of these changes. If those in control of your career section are not from recruiting, it may be worthwhile to set up a special meeting to provide education and information on the value of recruiting to the organization and the value of this “centerpiece” to the recruiting strategy. Focus Groups Focus groups can be informally or formally conducted and can include internal colleagues or external audiences. Focus groups are especially helpful before launching a new section or feature on your site. You can use a focus group to be part of your test group or quality assurance process. If you are planning focus groups within your career section implementation plan, make sure to allow enough time for any changes to be made based on feedback from the groups. When selecting internal participants for your group it’s a good idea to solicit colleagues from other parts of the organization to offer different perspectives outside of recruiting. Good selections for this task are people from the marketing department and hiring managers, or job holders in departments where there are high levels of hiring. Make sure your group goes through the entire application process and uses all features on the site as part of the feedback process. Your marketing department or an external research vendor can also conduct external focus groups more formally and for specialty audiences, such as college students. Again, gathering a group that reflects targeted audiences is key. Focus group feedback will give you the most detail out of any feedback mechanism (online or offline), but usually is the smallest sample size, so doing focus groups in conjunction with other feedback tools is usually best. Web Statistics Web statistics reflect overall activity on your website from a web server perspective. Examples of just some of these statistics are:

  • Number of visitors per day/per page
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  • Average length of time visitor spends on site
  • Day of the week with the highest/lowest traffic
  • Month with the highest/lowest traffic
  • Time of day with the highest/lowest traffic
  • Repeat visitors per day
  • Most popular browsers used to access site
  • Number of error hits received

Web statistics are compiled using special web server software that monitors activity on your web server. There are many vendors out there for this type of software, usually referred to as web statistics software or web log analyzers. Your webmaster is probably already using a tool to compile web statistics for many parts of your overall corporate website, but may not be delivering statistics for the career section specifically unless you ask. Analyzing web statistics will help deliver feedback on when to advertise events such as Career Open Houses and what technology to use in designing pages that work best with certain browsers. It can be also be a gauge of the effectiveness of improvements or new features to the site. One caution to collecting any feedback on your website: With the exception of the web server statistics, remember the data reflects just a sampling of total audience, and decisions should not be made in a vacuum on any single area of feedback. If your site receives 15,000 visitors a week and you receive one complaint on the performance of the website, that’s .0066% of the total audience. Interpreting results should also be done through a lens focused on your overall recruiting goals and the career section sourcing in general. Next time we’ll examine online feedback mechanisms such as pop-up surveys and embedded job questions.

Gretchen Sturm ( is Knowledge Manager of Services with Recruitsoft, the leading provider of Internet-based recruiting solutions for major corporations. She manages the implementation, eLearning and product knowledge transfer for Recruitsoft's consulting services and global client base. Her career has focused on integrating technology into the full hiring cycle and establishing effective Internet recruiting strategies. Previously, Sturm managed the recruitment technology and online recruiting areas of the Unisys worldwide recruiting team and oversaw recruiting technology and sourcing for CIGNA Corporation's US-based operations.