Career Site OptimizationWhile this is a standalone post, it is also themed for our new White Paper on Career Sites “Building a Better Career Site For the Future, Today”.  This White Paper documents many of the do’s and dont’s of a Career Site strategy.  Most importantly, it is available for free download here.

With the information boom, candidates expect employers to provide them with the necessary information in order to make an informed decision on their careers.  And while this happens via social recruiting, conversations with employees and information found on the internet (whether that’s sites like Glassdoor or message boards), a lot of the impression that candidates have for your organization can be gathered through your Career Site.  And in many cases, it represents your chance to control the message and conversation.

But creating a robust Career Site is hard, right?  Well, with innovation in technology, it is no longer the beast that it once was.  It’s no longer necessary to have a web team create every new page and piece of content (although a web team approved template is essential) as recruiting teams now can be given the power to create messaging that resonates with the candidates they are trying to recruit.  Now the Career Site can be a constant evolution of your value proposition as an employer and not a site that you re-design every 5 years and forget about.  It should be flexible to changing trends and messaging in order to provide the targeted messaging needed to connect with candidates.

While technology exists to make this happen, many organizations are still living in the past with their Career Sites.  Whether it’s using just a standard jobs page or using their ATS job site technology (some are better than others), they lack the internal resources to really execute on a comprehensive branding strategy.

I look through Career Sites on a daily basis and while some are great, there are a good amount that need some work.  And for these, I see a lot of the same mistakes keep coming up.  So here are the top 6 that I see all the time:

Google Can’t Find Your Site:  This all goes to your recruitment SEO strategy.  At the very basic, it’s making sure every page on your Career Site has the right targeted keywords as well ensuring that every job has their own separate webpage that can be indexed by Google.  One of the biggest mistakes I see in regard to this is putting all the job pages behind a job search wall.  While having job search is an important element of any Career Site implementing it in this way essentially puts a bottleneck in the process.  And in many cases, it prevents Google and other search engine bots from navigating and indexing your individual job pages.

Generic Content: Many of the sites I come across have the same content as everyone else.  They usually will have a simple job search, an about us page with simple boilerplate and maybe a “Why work for Us?” section.  Typically this last section is about good benefits and great culture.  While this can be fine, the organizations that are really excelling are taking a different approach.  First, they are going deeper into their value proposition from career tracks to getting employees front and center to explain the culture.  Second, they typically are using a variety of content from text pages to social streams to blog articles to video to images.  This helps to engage candidates in a number of different ways, providing different options for a candidate to engage.

No Tight Source Capture:  This is a big one that I’m not sure how many organizations really understand or know about.  For most Career Sites, they are most likely not capturing the source data properly.  They are fine if the candidate is coming directly to the Career Site but it’s when the candidate jumps to other pages from that initial job page that they lose real insight into a candidates path to a job.

Here’s an example.  Say a candidate is searching for a job and finds your opportunity on Monster (or another job board).  They click the link and come to the job page on your Career Site.  After taking a closer look, they realize that they are unqualified for the position and instead use search to find a more suitable job.  After going to a few pages on the Career Site, they find a job that fits their skills and applies.  In this case, many Career Site solutions will list the source as the final Career Site page.  But anyone can see that the job board should get credit for that application as well.

When looking at potential systems to manage your Career Site, it’s important to ask about tight source capture of recruitment metrics so you can truly understand the impact of your Career Site along with the other recruitment marketing efforts you are using.

Not Yet Mobile Friendly:  Mobile is becoming more and more important by the day and organizations need to address it in their sourcing, engagement and most importantly, there branding strategy.  Ensuring that your Career Site is accessible and well displayed on mobile devices is a must and many organizations are lagging in this regard.  This doesn’t mean that organizations need to create mobile apps but moreso that they have something such as an mSite that provides candidates with a full Career Site experience from their mobile devices.

Not Ready to Apply, Go Away:  This is a big offender that can be easily fixed.  Say a candidate visits your site but doesn’t find a job that fits their skills today.  You need to have something on your Career Site that enables them to engage without applying for a job.  Whether that’s links to social recruiting profiles, job alerts or my favorite a “Join our Talent Network” form, there should be a way for them to opt-in to receive engagement from you.  This enables you to provide them with content and jobs that fits their interests to keep them warm.  And with the relationships you build with these candidates, when the right job opens up, you can get them apply for the position.

Did I Apply?:  This is something that I see on sites from time to time.  Basically, they require candidates to create an account for their Career Site and then send them to create another account through their ATS.  Not only is this very confusing for candidates but it is a severe breach in the candidate experience.  You’ll see that I recommend you capture some basic information before a candidate gets to the apply process (in case they drop off) but this should be brief and less intrusive.  Creating two separate accounts is not the way to do it.

All these mistakes can be easily fixed with a comprehensive branding strategy.  The key is taking the time to really think out what you want to be able to do, the candidates you are looking to recruit, the metrics that are integral to measuring success and then determine the systems that can help you get there.  We are in an age where people consume and expect there to be information.  And if they don’t find it through your channels, they will more than likely find it through other third parties where you have no control.

Check out our White Paper

Here is my obligatory plug for our White Paper, “Building a Better Career Site for the Future, Today”.  This White Paper will cover all the hot button topics facing organizations as they evolve their thinking in how the Career Site fits in their recruitment strategy.  Issues like SEO, Employer Branding, Mobile, Candidate Experience as well as key metrics that you need to be tracking.

And most importantly, we’ve tried to provide some real action items for each issue we tackled.

Career Site Optimization White Paper

Download it Here

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