The evolution of the Career Site has occurred rapidly over the last decade. Career Sites are no longer (or should no longer) be static job pages linked together by a single homepage but really act as your recruiting hub for engaging and interfacing with candidates about your company and employment opportunities.
Candidates no longer just want a job search for open positions (although that’s a necessity) but they want to learn about your company and culture so they can make an informed decision on whether or not to apply to your company. Candidates especially the best ones crave information and the Career Site is a great place where you are able to control this flow of information and sell them on your organization.
Recruiting organizations are beginning to understand the tremendous opportunity that the Career Site provides in helping them tell their employment story. The problem today, however, is that many are stuck with technologies way past their due date and have little flexibility in updating their Career Site design.
But the technology is catching up and organizations now have access to solutions that are dynamic and flexible so that they can take advantage of many of the trends that are evolving in the recruitment marketing space.
But what are some of the trends for Career Sites in the near future?
Here are a few that are not going away anytime soon and should be considered as you are looking to enhance your existing Career Site:
Usability: First and foremost, you need to make sure the Career Site works in the way it was intended and that the candidate experience makes sense. Think of it from a process flow standpoint. In what way should candidates consume the information on the career site? When thought of this way you need to make sure that your navigation is easy and make sure candidates never reach a point where they are confused and need to start their process over. Simple test: if the candidate needs to hit the back button, you’ve failed.
Easy Navigation / Search: A simple search based on job category is an absolute necessity but it will go deeper than this. Not only do you want to make it easy for candidates to explore all the content that is available on your Career Site but you want to make sure they have access to the right information at the right time. With the end goal being something like Amazon’s recommendation engines, “If you liked this content, then you should check this content as well”.
Organizations will look to provide a customized experience to every candidate giving them the most relevant and important information when they are looking for it.
Dynamic Content (not just jobs): Having a single jobs page and a simple job search is not going to do it for tomorrow’s talent. Career Sites will not only have to be flexible in giving recruiters the ability to create dynamic content on the fly for targeted candidate populations (more on this below) but will have to be able to leverage all sorts of different mediums to get across their message. From blog posts to videos to podcasts to images to social media, Career Sites will need to be able to easily incorporate this technology into any page to best communicate their employment message.
Targeted Messaging: While general information about the apply process and working on your company is helpful, candidates really want information and messaging that is relevant to them and their interests / careers.
Career Sites are moving from having just generic messaging about the company to being a collection of mini micro-sites and landing pages that resonate with different candidate populations. Having a solution that is flexible enough for your recruiting team to create this dynamic one-off messaging easily will be extremely important.
On top of that, it is through this messaging that you will be able to communicate the value proposition you provide to candidates and sell them on your employment opportunities.
SEO: First, it’s important that every page on your Career Site includes relevant keywords, SEO friendly URL’s as well as appropriate meta tags and links. Every job should have it’s own page that is SEO optimized. This should happen automatically and be created when you begin recruiting for a job in your ATS (i.e. create a job req)
Second, with Google’s recent update for their search and the renewed focus on semantic search it will be more and more important to have content outside your jobs. This content should be focused on answering questions about your organization or career related topics and being helpful to the different communities of candidates that you are trying to recruit.
Social: This one will be short but you need to make sure that your Career Site is linked and takes advantage of your social recruiting profiles. Every page should have icon links to these various platforms and in some cases have a call to action to drive followers and engagement on these channels. This applies to your social profiles as well. Each social profile should have clear calls to action driving candidates to your Career Site and employment opportunities.
Talent Network: Not every potential candidate that visits your Career Site will want to apply for the job and you’re missing a huge opportunity if you don’t have options that enable them to continue to interact with your organization outside of applying. One way that has proven very successful is to provide the option to join your Talent Network through simple opt-in forms.
These Talent Network Forms help organizations organically build dedicated talent pipelines for future engagement with targeted groups of candidates. While these forms can be used during the job apply process and other places, it will be important to make them accessible on every page of your Career Site in order to enable candidates opt-in to engagement from your organization and your employment opportunities.
These talent pipelines can then be used to engage with opt-in candidates through targeted job communications, great career content and/or pointing back to the interactive career pages you create.
Mobile: Most organizations are looking at ways to utilize mobile recruiting in their process and nowhere is it more important than the corporate Career Site. Candidates are more frequently using their mobile phones to access your job ads and content and this is only going to become more prevalent. So it’s important to think about your mobile strategy for your Career Site.
While some organizations are going to App route in terms of making your jobs and application accessible to candidates, I think this doesn’t make sense for most organizations. This is mainly due to the increased maintenance and cost associated (need to manage two sites) as well as what I view as the misguided expectations in forecasting how many candidates would use the App (I’ll have a post on this later this month.)
The better option, in my opinion, is having a mobile optimized Career Site that automatically builds mobile versions of every web page on your site once it’s created. This enables you to create a seamless mobile experience for candidates while not having the pain of managing two different sites.
Seamless Website Experience: Companies are finally starting to see that their recruiting content should just be an extension of their overall brand instead of a separate marketing initiative. This means your Career Site technology needs to easily support customized branding and be as flexible as the website technology you use.
One trend we are constantly hearing is the need for international recruiting teams to create content and messaging for the specific international populations they are trying to attract. To solve this problem, a number of organizations are creating branding templates that are consistent with the corporate brand image that international teams can use to create targeted messaging for their candidates within a Career Site technology.
Tracking: Just like the job distribution campaigns you run, you should be measuring the performance of your Career Site content with recruitment metrics. From page views to search engine keywords, you need to understand what content drives the best results for your organization in terms of qualified candidates and hires.
Another concept that is close to fruition is measuring the Sources of Influence for a particular hire or qualified candidate. This means tracking every web page on your Career Site that a candidate visited before and after they applied, the job board or site that the candidate entered the job application from and/or the search engine keywords that the candidate searched to find the job. This can help you understand what influences your best candidates to apply to your organization.
Career Sites are looking to follow the example set by their marketing brethren with sites that offer social & mobile integration, seamless branding, SEO optimization, interactive content, micro-site capability and targeted messaging, all with a focus on conversions through metrics (both into a Talent Network and applying for a position.)
The next generation of Career Sites is coming, will you be part of the movement?
Did I miss anything? Hit me up on Twitter @smashfly and let me know your thoughts.