My good friend Matt Alder recently wrote an excellent piece on this website on why a recruitment website is so important. He also did research showing that most recruiters are unhappy with their own careers website. I can only reiterate his point on why your careers website is so important.
You careers website is a multiplier for all your other recruitment activity.
Either it multiplies your ROI or in multiplies your costs.
I’ve been doing research into the Dutch digital candidate experience for 12 years. Every year my research ranks all websites, and other digital processes that touch the candidate experience, of all major Dutch employers on over 100 touchpoints. We even apply at every one of them to see if they respond and how the rejection is written. I’m personally known for being negative about Dutch recruitment websites, but I like to say I always see the possibility for improvement. However, looking at many English and American examples, I have to say the Dutch are actually frontrunners when it comes to corporate careers websites.
I’ve compiled a white paper with 10 quick wins for your careers website. I’ve tried to use as many international examples I could find, since it’s easier to understand if the screenshot is in English. However, in some cases I just could not find an example as good as the Dutch one. This list below is a summary of the white paper.
Vacancy Overview Page
The vacancy overview page is is the page where the vacancies are presented after the search. First tip: give standardized information. I’ve learned a long time ago that every company is a conspiracy against the outside world. Companies use their own language; hence, a job title just isn’t enough. A vacancy in the overview page needs to have a short description, preferably one line describing the job, the desired education and experience, and of course the location and maybe even the salary.
One word you are not allowed to use in order to classify a vacancy is “other.” Other means left over. Nobody wants to be the leftovers.
And don’t forget a button. We unconsciously look for a button to click on in order to read the rest of the vacancy. A clear call to action is the quickest win!
In the Netherlands, 80-90 percent of all visitors to your careers website never see any other page than the actual vacancy. They don’t enter via the homepage. They enter either via Google or social media on the vacancy and leave if it’s bad. Put the vacancy first, second, and third on your priority list.
It needs to have the right content. Recent research by Appcast shows that putting in at least four different employee benefits (e.g. healthcare) items of pay instead of zero ups the number of applicants from 7.4 percent to 22.5 percent.
It needs to be written right. Textio is a great tool to make a perfectly written vacancy, but is too expensive for many companies. So let me give you some basics that I learned from using Textio.
- use 30-50 percent bullet points
- use no more than 15 percent adjectives
- use at least 15 percent verbs
- make sure you use the words “you” and “we” almost equally.
The layout matters to. Using colors, both in the background as well as with headers, can make a vacancy more readable. And if you’re working on the layout, why not design your own bullet points?
Don’t forget your employer branding. If most of your visitors never see anything but the vacancy, you need to sell your company here. So quotes, videos, visuals, and every piece of cool content you’ve developed for your careers page needs to surround the vacancy.
Every corporate careers website should service its candidates like an e-commerce website services its prospective buyers. So it should have a job alert for future jobs. It should have a “related vacancies” and it should have a “previously looked at” vacancies.
The easiest to install is the job alert. Easy, yet 62 percent of all major Dutch employers do not offer this service.
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Previously looked at vacancies are of the most important almost-always-absent services on careers websites. I’m unsure about international research on this topic, but in the Netherlands the average candidate looks at a vacancy 2.8 times before he or she applies. So every company should have a “previously looked at vacancies” widget on their website. In the Netherlands only 2.5 percent of all major employers have it. With travel booking websites — that seem to have a similar orientation process as vacancies, since people come back about three times before they book — it turns out this widget is a money maker.
Related vacancies are important too. Since the entry point of a candidate is often a vacancy, that might not be the perfect vacancy, offering similar vacancies next to it might help the candidate see that there are more. They may not leave as soon as they see that this specific job title that was promoted in social media is for more- or less-experienced people, for example.
Fellow Dutchman Stephan van Calker wrote about the five things that drive online applicants crazy … things that make half of all U.S. applicants quit during an application process. Many are quick wins too. It’s about communications. Communicate about the process. This is best done visually and at the vacancy, since that’s usually all they see.
Of course, not asking unnecessary questions might be harder, since you have a terrible ATS that your predecessors bought that has the flexibility of a brick wall. Change it anyway.
Another bonus item I would like to add to Stephan’s article: a clear application button. Our research in the Netherlands shows that 13 percent of all major employers have a application button you need to look for. The researchers didn’t see it right away. Even worse: almost 2 percent of the major employers actually do not have a apply option with a vacancy. They have a job opening online, but don’t tell the candidates how to apply. No button, no e-mail, nothing. And we’re still surprised nobody is applying.
Last but not least is mobile. This isn’t a quick win, since it’s darn hard. But it’s also very necessary. You might actually want to think about a mobile-first design. Over 50 percent of your visitors, at least at my clients, visit your website on their mobile. Is your vacancy mobile friendly? Does it look like the same piece of long text as on the desktop? If you want to see what I call a perfect example of a great mobile-first design for vacancies, look at banen.bol.com on your mobile. I know, it’s Dutch, most of you won’t understand a word, but look at that design. It’s just amazing. Every part of the vacancy is mentioned (the “what will you do,” “where will you work,” “why should you (not) like this job”), but the text shows up only if you want it too. And much of the content under these headers isn’t just text, it’s visual information too.
The application process is also made mobile friendly. Yes, they still request a resume, but there is an upload-from-dropbox option. Or you can apply with Linkedin.
More examples can be found in the whitepaper. image from bigstock