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Future of Recruiting[tweetmeme source= ‘@smashfly’ only_single=false]

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.

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17 responses to “The Future of Corporate Career Sites”

  1. Nice recap here Chris! The elements you list are vital to insure both the candidate and employer get the most out of the career site. A well-developed career site should serve as the epicenter of employment information that represents the client well and depicts a true representation of the work culture. It should also serve up a great experience for job a candidate that creates “stickiness” from engagement and interesting information.

  2. Thanks for the great comment, Cyndy! You are definitely right, it’s all about engaging the candidate and remaining top of mind with a candidate. In most circumstances, candidates will look for more info on the Career Site as well as 3rd party sites like Glassdoor when making decisions on whether to apply. It’s as important as ever to get your message to these candidates and your Career Site is a big part of that.

  3. Chris – good work here. More and more targeted communications and messaging by business, region, and job type is definitely the next wave. It also means content is king and you have to keep working and reworking it! Can’t sit on a tagline and a pretty picture anymore, job seekers will glaze right over that B.S.!

    • Thanks for the comment, Adam! You are definitely right, the more you can target your messaging to specific candidates and visitors, the more receptive they will be to your company and opportunities. Every company is going to say that their company is great to work for and their opportunities are unique but being able to show candidates a more detailed look into the opportunities they are interested in, the more likely they are to buy into your messaging and want to work there.

  4. Great article and hopefully career site managers will read this blog and act.

    One item yet to be figured out in the mobile recruiting space is the usability around the application process. I do not believe social sign on and full blown applications are the answer.

    What are you thoughts on making the application process better on a mobile device?

    • Thanks for the comment, Chris! I agree the application process has to get better, not just for mobile but in general.

      I think it general, the first thing you need to decide is whether you will be requiring a resume with a mobile application. The resume has a bad rap (and is supposedly dying) but most organizations still use it as an initial screen. And it’s something that people might not have available on the phones for upload.

      What I think the mobile application being is a simple apply process that enables the linking of online profiles to the application. This provides the candidate a much easier option in providing their career info and should provide companies with the info necessary to make an initial screen (where they can reach back out to the candidate if they need more info.)

      The thing that makes it really tough today is that most organizations use their ATS for their application process (mainly for compliance reasons) and their mobile offerings are mostly lacking. If we can make integrations with the ATS better I see this as something that will be resolved relatively soon.

  5. Good blend of points -am redesigning our careers site at moment for 2013 launch and the reporting and analytics’s point really resonated.Thanks for sharing.
    Charu Malhotra

    • Thanks for the comment, Charu! I’m glad that you found the article helpful and I agree the reporting and analytics are one of the most important parts.

      Also, if you are looking for Career Site solutions, let me know as we have a solution that could help you.

      You can contact me at chris@smashfly.com if you are interested.

    • Thanks for the comment, Michael! I’m glad that you found the article helpful and best of luck with the site revamp!

      As I wrote to Charu above, if you are looking at Career Site solutions, let me know as we have a solution that may be able to help.

      You can reach me at chris@smashfly.com if you are interested.

  6. A great article describing the importance of developing technology within recruitment. There has indeed been a huge shift, and certainly we have moved on from the paper CV and generic cover letter.

    It is crucial for both companies and potential employees to stay ahead of the technology in order to maximise the success of the recruitment process.

    It is also possible that by utilising online technology, we can too help to address the issue of unemployment.

    Jack @ Sonovate.com

  7. […] The Career Site is your candidate facing front-end.  It should provide compelling content (i.e. why work for us, unique benefits, landing pages, etc.), easy job search as well as search engine and mobile optimization.  It’s main goal is to make it easy for candidates to find and engage with your jobs, sell candidates on applying and capture candidate contacts in the process flow.  (Check out this post from a year ago on areas to consider when building out your Career Site.) […]

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