Your Career Site Is Your Most Important Recruiting Channel

If you take away just one lesson from the CandE research report from the Talent Board — and just one would be a mistake — it’s this: Employers should make sure their career site is the best it can be.

Even at the expense of your Facebook pages, Twitter feeds, and the 10 other marketing channels that get single digit ratings from candidates, spend what it takes to communicate your company values, its products and services, employee testimonials, and the reasons why people work and stay.

After surveying 100,000 candidates from among some 200 companies, company career sites turned out to be the most valuable resource candidates use when looking into a company. Almost two-thirds (64 percent) of candidates listed it among the five most valuable resources. That was not far off from twice the next most mentioned resource, job notifications or agents.

What do candidates want to find when they visit your career site? The Talent BoTalent Board Candidate experience 2015ard asked them, finding their top five are:

  • Values (41.8 percent)
  • Products and services (36.6%)
  • Employee testimonials (34.9%)
  • Answers to why people work there (30.8%)
  • And why they stay (23.7%)

Every year since 2011 the Talent Board surveys tens of thousands of candidates — successful and the more plentiful unsuccessful ones — on their experience applying for a job. It’s part of the vetting process for companies competing for a CandE — the candidate experience award. The companies also score themselves on their recruiting process.

Of the 185 companies who completed the 55-question employer survey, by virtue of what their applicants said about their experience, 50 were designated as the top ranked CandE Benchmark Companies (CandE Award Winners).

Winner or not, every company that participates gets its own report, allowing it to compare its own candidate experience to the benchmark of all the employers participating.

This year, the 2015 Talent Board North American Candidate Experience Research Report presented the results in three broad parts: Attract, Recruit, and Hire. The data points above fall into the Attract category, which, the Talent Board says, “is one of the most critical components of a modern talent acquisition strategy and sets the tone for the overall candidate experience.”

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“Now that attraction is a strategic initiative for employers, the candidate experience is improving,” adds the Talent Board.

That doesn’t mean all is well. Mobile application is lagging; only 8-10 percent of candidates apply that way even when they are offered the option. Though getting lighter, the dark hole persists. “Nearly half of candidates never received an indication of the status of the application, or information about why gender, race and ethnicity questions were asked or the option to save their application for a later date,” observes the report.

Only 40 percent of recruiters are required to respond to candidates, the report notes.

There are other shortcomings, notably in the interview process where candidate preparation is often lacking; 41 percent of candidates said they got no agenda or other communication much beyond day, time and place. On the positive side, 79 percent of companies require only one or two interviews, a 15 point jump over the 2014 survey.

John Zappe is the editor of and a contributing editor of John was a newspaper reporter and editor until his geek gene lead him to launch his first website in 1994. He developed and managed online newspaper employment sites and sold advertising services to recruiters and employers. Before joining ERE Media in 2006, John was a senior consultant and analyst with Advanced Interactive Media and previously was Vice President of Digital Media for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

Besides writing for ERE, John consults with staffing firms and employment agencies, providing content and managing their social media programs. He also works with organizations and businesses to assist with audience development and marketing. In his spare time  he can be found hiking in the California mountains or competing in canine agility and obedience competitions.

You can contact him here.