The Sad State of Career Sites
And How They Can Be Improved
A career site is a window into your organization. It is the primary way that potential candidates get information about what you do, your culture, your working style, what kind of work you have for them, and your approach to innovation.
They are where many career journeys begin. A potential candidate comes to the website, either through their own curiosity or because they have seen a promotion about opportunities in your firm. What they experience here is critical.
Most career sites are poorly designed and do not engage candidates. Many people spend less than two minutes on the typical career site leaving because they did not find what they were looking for or had to read pages of corporate jargon.
The usual, simple, and one-directional recruitment websites we are used to are inadequate. Many contain data that is updated only occasionally and offers little to no value to a candidate who is seeking current information or looking for help in understanding or needs a question answered.
Good career sites are designed to attract and intrigue a potential candidate with useful information, insider tips, and videos of employees or the company's work. They can offer a way to give potential candidates updated information or let them join a talent community. Used well, they can help build a pipeline of potential candidates.
An effective carer site would have most or all of these characteristics and features.
#1. Easy to navigate and provide feedback
A fast and simple application process can increase the number of good candidates and reduce the number of interested but unqualified candidates.
It takes too long to complete the application process on many career sites. Candidates may be asked to provide lots of data about themselves before knowing if they meet basic qualifications or have the skills required to be considered. Better ones ask the candidate to upload a CV, but many experienced candidates do not have a resume and will not take the time to create one.
A better approach would be to use a chatbot to ask questions that automatically build a profile. It would then let the candidate know whether or not they meet the general requirements. If the candidate does not have the required skills or qualifications, matching capabilities would recommend other positions where their skills are a better fit.
A well-implemented chatbot reduces the number of unqualified applicants a recruiter has to sift through and increases the quality of the applicants.
NOTE: A white paper on chatbots will appear here soon for paid subscribers.
#2. Honest information about the company and its work culture
Today’s applicants are sophisticated consumers of information. They can see through the corporate-speak, and boilerplate platitudes about the company often found on career sites. It is important to be candid about your corporate culture and what it is like to work at the company. Glassdoor and other sites regularly collect information and feedback from current, and former employees about the company, and savvy candidates check these out. You can add testimonials or video clips of current employees talking about their experiences. Or you can choose to link to that feedback to underline that you have a positive culture.
#3. Videos, photos, personal accounts of working
Today's candidate is very visually oriented. YouTube, for example, is one of the most used websites. Effective career sites use videos that describe a day in the life of different workers, provide virtual tours, and might even include a video from the hiring manager tied to a particular job requisition. The more photos and videos are included, the longer people will stay on the site, and the likelihood they will apply also goes up.
#4. Segmented by job families (engineering, HR, marketing, etc.), each with its own mini career page
An effective approach is to break the career site into smaller, more targeted ’“micro” sites. A microsite is a focused career site, separate from the main career site, that provides relevant content about a specific function or addresses a targeted audience. By creating a microsite, you can hone in on the elements of a job that appeal to a specific type of person and showcase that job's unique culture and work habits. This increases attractiveness, usefulness, and effectiveness.
When you use data to see who clicks on links, watches videos, and so on, you can tailor these sites to attract more qualified candidates and increase engagement. When combined with a chatbot that helps direct interested people to the best microsite, you can increase their effectiveness.
#5. Truthful, Candid Job Descriptions
Most candidates start their job search by looking for job descriptions that describe the work and the skills required. But they are the weakest link in marketing jobs. They are filled with jargon and loaded with desired qualifications that only a few people will have. They do not have to be as long or as complex. There are alternatives ranging from turning them into videos or infographics to just writing them in everyday language and linking them to the description required by HR.
For example, the law requires automobile dealers to place a document that completely describes the features and equipment and estimated gas mileage on the window of every car. But they do not use this for advertising the car or attracting customers. The customer can examine that window sticker whenever they wish, but it is not the primary attractor.
Canned and packed food must list all the ingredients on the label. Many other products have similar requirements. But none of them use those lists to promote or advertise their products.
Research shows that women, in particular, will not apply for a job unless they meet 99% of the listed requirements. On the other hand, men will apply when they only meet around 60%.
Job descriptions need to be marketing-oriented and provide informative, attractive, clear information about the work you want them to do. You can always put a link to the required job description.
#6. Engaging Content
The average person stays on a career site for less than two minutes. Anyone who comes to a career site is looking for a job. They leave quickly if there is nothing relevant or interesting or if they have to spend lots of time reading boilerplate and finding job listings. A career site needs to grab them immediately, excite them, and quickly lead them to the best job based on their interess and qualification.
Content should be a mix of written information, videos, and pictures. The career site designer needs to collect data on what potential candidates click on, what they find the most interesting, and what path they take through the site. The user design or UX needs to be tailored to maximize engagement and improve the number of qualified people who apply, and minimize the number who drop off within minutes.
#7. Community Building
The most successful career sites provide ways to sign up for additional information and chat with other potential candidates or employees. This increases referrals and provides valuable intelligence about the talent market.
Your career site is the most critical component in attracting and engaging potential candidates. Careers sites need to be built on solid data, be resourced appropriately, and provided with a dedicated person to develop and maintain content and engage candidates.
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