Your careers site might be one of the most important tools in your recruitment arsenal. For your candidates, it’s one of their first touchpoints, and it gives you an unrivalled opportunity to get them engaged with your brand early on. But how do you leverage it effectively, and what are some of the traps employers fall into when designing careers sites?
The first step in the development of any careers site should be audience research. Every single user interacts with sites differently, and in order to speak to your audience on their own terms, and in their own language, you need to understand them.
Before you start developing your careers site, you should be able to answer one simple question: What do our candidates want?
You might think there’s an easy answer to that: A job. But, unfortunately, it’s not that simple. Candidates are more proactive, engaged and informed than ever before, and most will do their own research before applying for a job. Research suggests that candidates browsing your careers site are not doing so just because they want a career with you, but because they’re sizing you up. It’s a safe bet to assume they also have your competitors’ sites open in the next tab. So, developing an effective careers site has become less about advertising roles, and more about catching attention.
The attention battlefield
In a competitive candidate market, all employers are competing for one thing: The attention of talent. To win that battle, your careers site needs to not only be eye catching, it also needs to be persuasive.
You need to give candidates a reason to choose you. It’s no longer good enough to simply put out a job advert and see what happens, your recruiting needs to be proactive, and your user journeys need to serve a purpose.
It’s a journey
When we think about user journeys, we tend to think in restrictive terms. User A enters the site, browses a few pages, reads a few sections of text, and eventually heads to the apply page. And sometimes this is the case, but it’s one of many journeys.
Ultimately, every user is different. And every journey is different. A good careers site, therefore, needs to account for many different types of journey.
For example, User B might have already applied for one of your roles, and might be browsing your site to learn more about the company before their interview. In this case, the experience they have might dictate how much effort and preparation they put into the interview, or whether they give your competitors more time and energy. User C might have found your stall at a careers fair and opened your site on their phone to have a quick look. They’ll see 20 other sites before the day is over – so what is it about yours that stands out? What inspires them to come back to your site the next day and make an application?
It’s all in the innovation
Innovation comes in many forms. And doing something new and unexpected is a surefire way to get you noticed.
Visual innovation – Step away from the expected. If your competitors all look the same, doing something completely new will set you apart from the crowd.
Functional innovation – how your site moves, loads and reacts to the user can make a huge difference to their experience. As in all things, attention to detail is key.
Performance innovation – users attention spans are dwindling, and slow loading sites might be clicked out of almost immediately. Streamlining your content, using variable fonts, and ensuring slick transitions between pages are all great ways of making sure your site performs effectively on all platforms.
Conversational innovation – Features like chatbots, AI and personalisation ensure your website keeps on learning from your candidates. They make the user journey more interactive, so people spend more time on your site.
Where it goes wrong
Building an effective careers site takes a lot of work, thought and attention. There are a few traps that employers fall into that can hinder the performance of a site significantly.
Overexplaining – All of the text on your site should serve a purpose. Too much, too little, or purely factual content does little to persuade candidates to apply, and can push them further towards your competitors.
Dead-ends – Pages that go nowhere, include no calls to action, or have nothing on them to do are effectively dead weight. Your site should take candidates on a journey, directing them from page to page.
Jargon – Industry or company specific jargon and acronyms are a quick-fire way to confuse and alienate your candidates. Make sure that, no matter what background your candidates come from, they can understand every word.
Accessibility – Accessibility should be built into your site from day one. Treating it as an afterthought – or an add on – risks making your site inaccessible to potential candidates.
If you’re looking to revamp your careers site, it’s best to consult an expert. Careers sites are huge undertakings, and getting it right takes practice. Go into development with an open mind, and a willingness to explore new technology, visual styles, language and layouts, and make the process as collaborative as possible. That’s how you get results.