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We deemed our most recent webinar speakers “The Recruitment Marketing Dream Team,” and they proved it. Kathryn Minshew, CEO of The Muse, Will Staney, Founder of Proactive Talent Strategies, and Tracey Parsons, Director of Recruitment Marketing at SmashFly, discussed the art and science behind creating a career site masterpiece last week. The trio shared great examples of career site branding and messaging, as well as how to prove your career site is successful. Here are the top questions asked and career site tips they DIDN’T get to during “The Art & Science of Creating Career Site Masterpieces.”


Do you have any recommendations on a cost-effective source for creating videos?

Kathryn: We know firsthand how video production can get costly and feel overwhelming—we’ve managed hundreds of shoots for our clients. But there are plenty of options for creating videos on a budget. For getting a project done under $1,500, try working with local college students majoring in media production. For doing something under $500, you can do a surprising amount with your phone, especially for short videos. The book Video Nation gives some great tips on production with an iPhone and lamps you can pick up from a hardware store.

Will: The most cost-effective source is always to try to build out these capabilities internally or use internal video production if you can. For example, with one of my clients, I’m working with their marketing department who has video production resources for a culture video project. When I led employer branding at VMware, given the high demand for video, I started by first hiring a video editing intern for my team, and it proved to be so effective that we hired someone on full-time to focus on recruiting and culture videos. By bringing video skills in-house, we saved hundreds of thousands of dollars that were previously being spent on outsourcing to large agencies. If neither are an option, I would suggest working with an employer branding consultant that has video production capabilities at a reasonable cost, like my consulting company, Proactive Talent Strategies.

Tracey: Love the tips here from Will and Kathryn. We actually just published a quick guide, How to Make a Better Recruiting Video, which offers some best practices and great examples.


Do you have any idea of the success of offline recruitment efforts vs. online marketing?

Will: It can vary on the type of role, but in my experience, for highly skilled and in demand roles like engineers, it takes a great combination of both offline and online marketing. For example, if you have a Recruitment Marketing Platform and you are recruiting at a career fair, recruiting event or meetup, have attendees interested in your company sign up via the talent network on their phone or via an iPad you have at the event where they can opt in to learn more about your company. This allows you to track them all the way to hire that they came from that specific event and you could also have a video for them to watch on that landing page or send a follow up email with links to your social recruiting channels or Glassdoor.


How would you recommend generating more traffic to your career social media sites? The content is there, but the traffic is not.

Tracey: Generating traffic is a challenge for all content marketers. One of the best tactics you can employ is to perform a content audit, not only on your own content, but your peers’ as well. Which content pieces have resulted in the largest number of shares, comments, new followers? Track, monitor, analyze and replicate that tactics that seem to be working the best. More importantly before you begin developing content for these sites ask yourself whether you would be interested in clicking on the article, image, quote if you were to see it pop up on your social media feed? Would your relatives, friends, neighbors be interested and engaged by it? We are all inundated with social media content each and every day, and we’ve all become very good at tuning out content that doesn’t engage with us – the challenge for all content marketers is to develop content and managing social media sites/accounts that are able to cut through the volume and engage.

Also, much of social has become pay to play which is why most brands are seeing a decline in traffic. To overcome this, I recommend activating your internal talent to share your content or at least like or comment on it, that way, you’re extending who is seeing your content in an effort to drive not only traffic but engagement as well.

Will: One way is first engaging your employees there with good content they are wanting to share with their networks. Another is by highlighting your career social channels on your main corporate channels. Your customers are sometimes your candidates and can be big advocates who may have referrals. Also, you’d be surprised that customers actually really like learning about your employees behind the product or service you sell. It humanizes your brand. In addition to that, social media has become a pay to play channel just like all advertising, investing just a little in some targeted ads on Facebook, Linkedin and even Twitter can really help attract the right audience to your communities. Social has better content targeting capabilities than any other advertising medium.

Kathryn: If you have strong content, you’re already ahead of the game, so next we’d recommend encouraging your employees to share posts out. Did you know you can quickly use UTM parameters—those little code snippets at the end of URLs—to track how much traffic an individual employee sends to a given page? Creating a custom UTM code for every employee and turning the process into a contest around who can drive the most visits in a month makes it so much more rewarding and tangible.


Should I apply to my competitors’ positions to understand their applications process?

Tracey: Yes, but not until you’ve done your own first. There is no harm in secret shopping your competitors, but unless you’ve secret shopped yourself, it’s going to be hard to compare and contrast the experience.

Will: Absolutely. Also, don’t forget to apply to your own. Knowing what the candidate experience is like at your competitors and on your own career site can help you find out how to make it that much better or continue to differentiate yourself.


What are your recommendations for going beyond a job ad to attract passive talent?

Kathryn: Making a strong case for passive talent requires telling a fully fleshed out story of your employer brand, so think about adding photos and videos to your career site and to any articles you create about your company. Besides that, find ways to relate to a passive job seeker in the form of content they might find helpful. If you’re a footwear company, can you write a definitive post on “The 5 Things I Wish I Knew Before Joining the Apparel Industry” (or find a partner, like The Muse, to write it)? If you’re recruiting engineers, consider creating a guide on technical interviewing, like Asana did.

Once you’ve got content like this, post it to your social feeds and boost the best performing posts with a small Facebook/Twitter advertising campaign, aimed at your ideal candidate (you might find that a sponsored post aimed at friends of people who already like your page is a good place to start). If the content is compelling, you’ll be able to try this out with your best posts to get them a strong boost.

Will: Empower your hiring managers to help attract great talent by helping them build their personal brands and be more active externally (blogging, speaking, attending conferences, etc). I wrote a blog about this very topic recently here.


What are your thoughts on using images that are non-traditional, i.e., not working or at their desk?

Kathryn: Yes, please! The standard “working at a desk” stock photos that so many careers pages use rarely reveal anything specific about your company. But people crave authenticity and want a real behind-the-scenes look at what goes on day to day, so don’t be afraid to highlight the unique moments and traditions that define who you are. We’ve seen companies on The Muse include photos of their office dogs, reveal pranks they’ve done (like having someone dressed in a Yeti costume), and show off their weirdest poses (check out our team page and move your cursor over the faces).

Will: I think they’re great! Surely, your employee’s experiences at work are not exclusive to being behind a desk all day. Show great images of employees hanging out at company events, hosted meetups, or company parties. Run an instagram campaign asking employees to take photos of their favorite part of working at your company. I doubt it will be a picture of their desk and your career site isn’t the only place you want images of working at your company.


What is a good time average time for an application process? What is a good conversion rate from application start to application completion?

Tracey: I don’t have any information on average time to apply. I would say that this is a great question to ask your candidates or current employees. They will tell you their thoughts. But here’s a rule of thumb, if you think it’s too long, it probably is. As for conversion rates from app start to app finish. If the average drop off rate is 74%, then anything less than 74% is good, which is why it is so critical to get that Talent Network form in front of the application so that you can at least capture the candidate information before they drop off. Even if you’re getting a 50% drop off rate, a talent network form will capture ½ of the applicants you’re missing.

Will: Given capabilities that exist today like mobile apply, even with compliance survey questions, it shouldn’t take more than 5-10 minutes to apply for a job. I’ve build application processes for career sites at companies I’ve worked at or consulted to that took less than 3 minutes for a mobile device or desktop. You should make it as easy as possible to apply to your job. Do you see e-commerce sites like Amazon making the ability to purchase something on their website take more than 10mins? Candidates are used to transactions online like this being convenience, mobile and fast. Average drop off rates I’ve seen hover between 60-70% but most companies aren’t tracking this. You definitely want to strive for at least a 50% avg conversion rate or better or perhaps you need to either slim down the apply process or target your jobs better.


When bounce rate increases, what implications does that have for my career site?

Tracey: Bounce rate references how many individuals are arriving at your website and then leaving your website without visiting any other pages. It’s an important metric to track and monitor as it can alert you to issues with user engagement, however bounce rate in and of itself does not carry significant implications on a website’s health or rankings. If you are noticing an increase in your bounce rate, it’s important to look into why the increase is happening. In some cases it may be that individuals are arriving on their desired job posting, clicking the apply now button which redirects them to a different website that hosts the ATS/application process – in this case the increase in bounce rate is actually a good thing, as individuals are accomplishing their goal in a single page during a single visit. However if individuals are arriving on your website due to an organic search, and then quickly hit the back button as the content on the page does not align with their expectations, the search engines may see this as a poor user experience and the page may not rank as highly for results on that specific search in the future. While bounce rate is important to track and monitor, focus your efforts on ensuring the user experience on each webpage is a positive one that aligns with your goals for the page.


How do you get HR, Marketing and Content teams to collaborate? What’s a good workflow?

Tracey: Communication is key. Here at SmashFly, we try to engage the whole company on our message because it is who we are. Our employer brand is a little different than our consumer brand and that’s ok, but at its essence, it is aligned. When it comes to working with our marketing team, we share with each other our plans in an open and honest way and work with one another to help each other out.

Will: In my experience, Marketing and Content teams want to help but they need guidance. HR needs to have clear goals and initiatives they want help on and properly communicate with marketing on what you need their help on and the impact it could have. Just saying you need help with a career site design and expecting marketing to run with it isn’t a good way to go.

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