It’s amazing how many companies say that “people are at the heart of our business.” Oh really? So how come so few employers bother to really develop their careers site to try to attract absolutely the best person for the job? How many bother to develop it beyond a simple list of current vacancies?
Most companies don’t have a very good careers site. Some suggestions follow:
Avoid Visibility and Death by Clicks
Have your careers, current vacancies, or a jobs link on the front page of your website. Don’t hide it as a subheading on an “about us” drop down … put the button/link on your homepage slap bang in front of everyone who comes to your site. Someone who isn’t actively looking might just take a peak at your jobs, but only if your site makes it easy to find them. It also makes a clear statement of how important recruiting is to you.
Here’s the rule. If a job seeker can’t find your jobs within one click (yes, only one) you’re making them work too hard to find them. Check your own website. Can a job seeker find your jobs in one click from your homepage? You may well have a careers link on your homepage (which is great) but are you then hiding the jobs somewhere so they have to click, click, and click until they eventually get to them? Don’t make them click more than once to find them. By all means sell the company with lots of content and sections on why you should join (see points below), but first things first: “Show me the jobs.”
Let Me Send My CV to You Speculatively, or Let Me Register for Job Alerts
I’m really interested in working for you and I’ve glanced round your website but can’t see a vacancy that’s quite right. But I want to send you my CV in case you have something suitable coming up shortly. How do I do it?
As a minimum you need some kind of statement: “If you can’t see a suitable vacancy please email your CV to …”
Build up a talent bank of candidates without having to do any work as the candidates just populate it for you.
Very few careers pages allow a job seeker to submit a speculative application into a talent bank, thus missing out on an easy way to fill future roles and even fewer allow them to register for job alerts. If you don’t have this you’re missing out on a great way to let prospective applicants know about your jobs the moment you start hiring them. If you don’t want to use an ATS, get your IT team to put together a very simple job alerts tool, whereby the candidate can sign up for email alerts when you have a matching vacancy.
Add Some Video … to the Job Description
These days it’s not difficult to create a video. You just need a webcam and load them onto YouTube.
People respond to people, so what’s more interesting: a load of words, on a page or a link to a video from your prospective line manager outlining the key things they’re looking for in the perfect applicant?
Job applicants love it. It makes the company look innovative and it makes you look like you’re really trying to impress them as well as giving the applicant a feel for what their boss is like.
Add Some Video … About the Company
The careers section must have a section entitled something like “What’s it’s like to work at (xyz).”
Then instead of dull profiles of a few people or vague statements from the CEO about a ‘fun, work hard/play hard atmosphere,” how about a couple of 30-second interviews/profiles of staff members outlining what it’s like. So everyone knows they will only say positive stuff, but it gives the company a human face and people sell the business more than words on a page ever can. Better yet, get a full company video made and plonk it on your careers site.
Give Your Careers Site a Different Look
Let’s be honest: 99% of companies just list their jobs on a page frame identical to every page on your website. One word: boring.
The marketing bods will have heart failure at this next suggestion (“no, no it has to match the other pages, colors, and style sheets to maintain our brand integrity”). To which I say, “utter tosh!”
If you want to impress candidates, make it obvious that your careers site is different and not the same as all the other sections. Recruiting the right people matters so much to you that you’ve been prepared to build a separate section, a different layout, design, etc, etc. You don’t have to go mad. Just talk to the web guys and girls and ask them to mock up a new layout incorporating some or all the points included in this article but make it look different so the candidate knows you’re trying to impress them.
Make it easy for everyone who views your job to be able to spread the word to people they know on Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook, or good old-fashioned email.
Make sure you get your IT team to include these social options at the top (not the bottom) of every job (don’t worry, they’ll know what to do, but just in case they don’t, see addthis.com).
Tell People It’s New
If the vacancy is a new job, then tell everyone it’s a new job in the job details:
“We’re growing quickly and this is a new role …”
There aren’t many other things you can do to make a job more appealing than stating that. People want to work for a growing company, not one standing still, so if it’s a new job, don’t be shy, tell the world.
Consider a Live Chat Option
I’ll bet you haven’t got a place on your website where a candidate can ask a question anonymously. A live chat option is a great way to allow a job seeker and the employer to talk with each other without either side revealing their email address or who they are. If you don’t offer this, you’ll miss out on candidates who might have applied if their questions were answered.
Everyone will have come across a live chat option at some stage. You visit a website and a box pops up … “Would you like to chat to an operator,” or words to that effect, and if you’re hiring a lot of roles, you’ll be surprised just how many people will have questions. A live chat link is an ideal way to communicate with job seekers who are curious but no more. Answer their questions and you may well get an extra applicant you wouldn’t have otherwise have got.
If you don’t think you’re doing enough hiring to justify a live chat option, at the very least offer a separate email address just for communicating with job seekers: firstname.lastname@example.org or something similar.
Using an ATS? Stop Making People Jump Through a Thousand Hoops
This is a real big one. If you’re using an ATS, please remember that most are not very candidate friendly. All candidates complain about this, and yet the big ATS providers persist in creating painful application processes, typically starting with the dreaded “Please register to apply.”
STOP MAKING CANDIDATES LOGIN/REGISTER/FILL OUT A BILLION PAGES BEFORE THEY CAN APPLY.
If a candidate has to register before they can apply, an awful lot of very good candidates who are maybe just browsing and not actively looking will just walk away. Far from helping you, your clunky ATS is losing you top applicants.
We always work to the 60-second rule. If it takes more than one minute to apply, the application process is too long. Yes it’s perfectly reasonable to include screening questions, but not so many as to make the process arduous. Two or three at most.
I recently looked at an application process that said at the beginning, “this application will take you no more than 25 minutes to complete.” Nothing more needs to be said.
Add a Bit of Fun
It doesn’t really matter how, but try to add a bit of fun to the careers site. A list of job vacancies is all well and good, but a prospective applicant wants to know the company has a lighter side.
Try a quiz or an online game and then put the scores up in a box score showing how your employees have done with the teaser: “Can you get into the top 10?” Jobseekers will give it a try to see where they rank amongst your employees. It doesn’t have to be part of the application process; it’s just a bit of fun but it gives a clear message that not only have you got great jobs on offer, but you’re also a fun place to work.
Get Some Photos
If you can’t do a corporate video, make sure you post some photos of the office environment. The more a candidate knows about what it’s like to work at your company, the more likely they are to apply.
Have a “5 Reasons to Join Us” Section
It could be a 10 reasons to join, but create a separate section and list all the unique features that will appeal to a job seeker. Ask existing employees if they had to sell the company to a friend of theirs what they’d say to impress them. “We’ve doubled headcount in the last 12 months.” “You can work from home two days a week.” “You get free childcare.” “We have a team night out every month.” “We’re the market leader …” “We’ve just opened three new offices/sites in the last two months alone.” Get creative. Remember you’re selling to them as much as they are selling to you.