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How to Create an Effective Career Website

Ian Cameron Jul 6, 2015 7:30:00 AM

Imagine a career website that draws in candidates, captivates those who fit your ideal profile with engaging content and discourages those who don’t, and then hooks them with pithy job postings and simple application processes. Are you smiling yet? Now, do you believe it’s possible?

According the 2015 McQuaig Global Talent Recruitment Survey, 74 percent of companies have a career website, but only 10 percent say they’re getting quality candidates from it. Not surprisingly then, 26 percent said they plan to invest in creating or improving their site this year. But where do you spend your money?

The Significance of an Employee Persona

To quote Stephen Covey, you have to begin with the end in mind. In this case, who are trying to talk to and what do you want them to take away from your site? You can determine this by creating an employee persona. A persona is a term used in marketing to describe a person who would be the best customer. This concept can be applied to the target of many business activities but in this case it can be used to describe the ideal employee, which should equate to who you want to attract and engage with your site. When creating a persona there are several factors that you can consider:

  • Ideal past roles
  • The current manager’s opinion of the ideal employee
  • Their career goals
  • Likes and dislikes about their current job
  • Cultural fit with your organization
  • Frustrations they may have about their current employer or management
  • Personality traits needed for success in your company
  • Their social networks of choice
  • The type of person you don’t want working for you

Once you’ve outlined the ideal employee through this process you’re ready to design or redesign your company career page. Keep these best practices in mind as you do so.

Captivating Copy

Well-written content has the potential to communicate exactly what makes your workplace unique as well as what kind of values/culture it has. Descriptive wording can help attract the right candidates and deter the less suitable ones.

Create and Communicate a Purpose: One organization that never fails to communicate a sense of purpose is Apple. Their clean looking website states, “The people here at Apple don’t just create products – they create the kind of wonder that’s revolutionized entire industries.” A good career web page should make an applicant want to work towards the same goal as your current employees.

Promote your Culture: Using words that truly capture what your company values will attract candidates who are more likely to be a cultural fit. Facebook’s career web page states “We don’t have rules. We have values.” It then emphasizes boldness, impact, speed and building social value as things of importance.  Applicants who appreciate these values will be drawn to apply.

Interactivity

When it comes to the interactivity, the possibilities are only limited by what you can imagine. Organizations are constantly coming out with new and innovative ways to showcase themselves. Interactivity can attract tech-savvy and creative applicants.

Real photos of real people: Just as expressed in our last blog, strong visuals are your best story tellers. Actual photos of current or past employees appear more authentic than a generic stock photo.

Infographics: Keeping with the theme of simplicity, infographics can make a large amount of information easily digestible and visually appealing. If you have something impressive to boast about, such as respectable clients or a strong history, infographics can really grab the attention of job seekers.

Video: Don’t settle for still images and copy if you want to really engage your audience; 88% of visitors stay longer on a site with prominent video displayed, according to MistMedia. Other research has found that more than 90 percent of communication is nonverbal. Fifty-five percent is body language while 38 percent is tone of voice. In a video, both of these forms of communication can shine through. A great example of this is Home Depot. On several pages of the career portion of their website, videos of employees are the first thing you see.  This is great, because candidates get to hear from real, live employees.

User Experience

You can be the Shakespeare of copywriting and create imaginative interactive content, but if your website is difficult to navigate or requires too much click-through, your users won’t stay on it long enough to apply. User-friendly experience is important for all websites, but especially for career sites looking to convert visitors into applicants. User-friendliness means that your career page should be easy to find and have clear calls-to-action to direct users where to go next. Two very important user experience components are described in depth below.

Mobile-friendly applications: According to Pew Research, 64 percent of US adults own a smartphone, and 43 percent of those have used it to look up information about a job in the past year. That’s roughly 58 million people looking at job postings and career websites on their smartphones. If this isn’t convincing, imagine your high quality applicant on their way to their current job but looking into working at your company on a mobile device. What’s that experience like? If your web page isn’t mobile friendly your brand is suffering.

Keep It Simple and Keep It Short: Research has shown that job seekers get frustrated with a lengthy application process. It’s been said that applying to jobs is a full time job in itself. Unfortunately not all job seekers can afford to spend time deciphering your career page so it’s better to keep it short and sweet.

What career web pages have caught your attention?

Image courtesy of Flickr CC and Got Credit

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Topics: Recruitment, Job Search

Ian Cameron

Written by Ian Cameron

Ian Cameron is the Managing Director of The McQuaig Institute®. He has more than 20 years of Human Resource and Organizational Development consulting experience. Throughout his career Ian’s focus has been on helping organizations realize their goals through their people and helping people live their passion through their work.