For many companies, employment websites do much more than just collect resumes: they provide a distinct competitive edge for top talent. But whether you’re in a large or small company, whether you have a big budget or a small one, whether you act as an in-house or agency recruiter, there are many lessons to be learned from those who do it best. So what makes an employment website one of the best? Start by thinking of your best recruiters, who:
- Find and talk to people who might not have considered or even heard of your organization in the past ó and not just the people with resumes.
- Help people understand whether or not they are right for your organization and vice versa, and how your openings compare to the competition’s.
- Persuasively sell your organization and openings ó without over-promising and without overtly disparaging competitors ó by putting everything in the context of what’s in it for the candidate.
- Take down contact information if there isn’t a suitable current opening and systematically contact candidates if and when there’s a better opening down the road, and network to see if there are others that this person knows who might help them fill current or future openings.
- Help ensure that the candidate has a good experience during the hiring process by bringing forward relevant, personalized information at strategic times.
- Don’t ask for more information than they really need.
The web has evolved beyond a collection of static pages. As contradictory as this may sound, technology at its best can help make what can seem like a very impersonal process much more personal. An employment website at its best can be the online reflection of how your best recruiters recruit. It can influence what your recruiters say about your organization and get everyone working from the same playbook. It can act as the central place that starts to close the deal on your recruitment marketing efforts and makes all the advertising money you’ve spent worth it (and less costly to boot). It can compel the passive visitor to apply to an open position that is the best match for his or her particular skills. A major consideration for employers as you build your websites should be your set of hiring goals. Do you recruit globally? What are your hardest to fill or highest volume openings? Is your audience tech savvy? Is there a lot of competition for the same talent pool? The answers to these questions impact what type of employment website you’ll need to succeed. One other important criteria of this evaluation is that each site has been built to accomplish specific business and recruiting goals for their companies ó gratuitous animation, extraneous information (no matter how deep the content) and meaningless hyperbole, cliches, or unsupported promises were considered negatives. Without further ado, the envelopes please… Overall Best in Class A few companies outshine all the rest regardless of which categories you put them in. These companies include:
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- Proctor & Gamble. This is exactly what any employment website should aspire to be. The P&G employment website takes treating the candidate as a customer to new levels. Not sure how to get a job at P&G? Take one of their job seeker seminars or visit their Candidate Advice Center. Want to know about how they recruit and why? They’ll tell you everything you want to know about what they do to recruit and select talent. The site leaves you wondering, why doesn’t everyone have the same transparency in their recruiting practices that P&G does? Most importantly, the P&G employment website represents an experience, not just a static group of pages. Interested college candidates can take a very interesting “Just In Case” challenge. Along the way, they’ll learn more about P&G, and compete against other players from around the world ó while helping P&G capture unconvinced passive candidates and separating the best from the rest.
- Enterprise Rent-a-Car. What in the world is a rental car company doing at the top of this list? They’re getting a huge competitive advantage for talent in their space and redefining their industry, that’s what. Enterprise presents an engaging, highly targeted experience that helps sell a specific audience of candidates ó college graduates who won’t consider a career with any other rental car agency ó on working for Enterprise. Instead of saying how great the company is, everything is put in terms of the job seeker. They do such a great job that I could actually see myself working there. The results? Higher quality candidates that no one else in their industry can hire and a competitive advantage for talent that drives their industry leadership.
- Deloitte. Seventy countries. Nine languages. Local content. Customized job seeker experiences for anyone, anywhere, anytime. Deloitte is able to present one consistent image worldwide, in a way that still gets recognized for excellence as far away as Germany. Visit Deloitte’s career site if you want to learn what it means to recruit from a global talent pool.
- Federated Department Stores. For many retailers, convincing their hiring managers that their candidates are online is like pushing a very heavy rock up a very large hill. “We’ll lose our walk-in traffic!” they protest. Yet somehow, FDS has been online for years and has had enormous success (and fun) doing it. Their career website brings together several different cultures ó think Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s, Rich’s, The Bon Marche, Burdine’s and Lazarus ó into one powerful, accessible employment brand that leaves the competition in the dust.
- Siemens. The Siemens employment website communicates a wealth of global information about what they do, where they’re going, their investment in R&D, and what kinds of people succeed there. In one of the most unique and most useful global features I’ve seen to date, Siemens also gives candidates the ability to “self screen” themselves on personality traits, fit, and their ability to think and act as part of a global team.
- Intel. The Intel careers website really represents a personal conversation between them and every developer, engineer, or marketing, finance, and HR professional who even thinks about working for them. Just like a good recruiter, their website sells to different types of audiences in very different ways. After all, an engineering candidate will certainly not have the same priorities as a finance candidate. The numerous awards Intel has received as an employer are also on display. Most importantly, their website acts as a conversion mechanism in support of their hiring goals ó you know exactly where they’re hiring and the types of people they’re after.
Honorable Mentions Other general sites that deserve mention include Home Depot, Cingular, General Motors, UPS, Boston Consulting Group, General Electric and Microsoft. KLA Tencor has a few innovative features, like event reminders, tight integration with their ATS, and even new hire and interviewee portals that help sell through the entire candidate lifecycle. T-Mobile’s site is currently in transition but will soon have some highly creative and fun features that will really set them apart. In the highly competitive healthcare field, only a few entries I’ve seen really stand out: CrossCountry Travcorps, Advocate Healthcare and Exempla. In aerospace and defense, Boeing and Northrop Grumman set the pace. And in public service, there are some high profile examples of putting our tax dollars to good use, including USA Jobs, the official site of the federal government and a masterpiece of integration work; the U.S. State Department; and the U.S. Naval Reserve. With the new talent wars just beginning, many employers are realizing that the first step in gaining a competitive advantage in the electronic recruiting space is to get their employment website in order. Companies are just starting to scratch the surface with emerging practices such as:
- Providing more adaptive and personalized experiences to better sell passive candidates
- Mutual online assessments, self-screening and simulations to reduce volume
- Ongoing relationship marketing, loyalty programs, and even blogs targeted towards niche audiences
- Candidate service features, such as clearly defined hiring practices and job seeker seminars
- Unified global recruiting and applicant tracking
- Candidate, recruiter and new hire support during and after the hiring process
- Relationship-based networks
While the sites above all represent great examples, the best is yet to come. If you know of other great sites out there that I missed (even if it’s your own), please post a review below. I’d love to hear about them.