The career site is a crucial step of the recruitment process, and it’s vital to creating a positive candidate experience. A well-designed website can make connecting with a company’s brand easier for job seekers. However, most applicants (92%) never complete their online application. All too often, this is due to a confusing application process that stifles engagement at the most crucial steps.
Proper career site design is crucial to increasing the flow of applications into the recruitment pipeline. Here are some of today’s best practices for designing (and maintaining) an effective career website.
Imagine being a job seeker. Where do they start? Most likely with a web search. If companies want applicants landing on the career site, hiring professionals need to optimize the content to get recognized by today’s most popular search engines.
This is the art and science of search engine optimization (SEO), which includes using keywords in the web content to connect with web users who search for those terms. For instance, recruiters might use terms like “engineering jobs” or “jobs in” the company’s city or state.
A common mistake is to use generic URLs for job postings. Many career sites include a requisition number as part of the URL, which is essentially meaningless to search engines. Instead, make sure the job postings include the job title and location as part of the URL (e.g., www.jobsite.com/jobs/marketing-director). Best-in-class career sites offer URLs that match how candidates search, including the job title and the location in the URL itself. That will increase the odds that the career site content will reach the top of search engine results pages.
When it comes to the job search, timing is everything. Candidates will appreciate the chance to receive customizable job alerts to stay informed about future job openings.
If a company currently offers this feature on the career site, think about the process of signing up. Some sites provide a button at the top or bottom of the home page. The problem is that these buttons don’t generate clicks from active job seekers.
Tip: Best-in-class sites embed a job alert sign-up form directly into every job advert page for job seekers to quickly find it. It is also good practice to ensure the job search results page also has it embedded. That way, candidates will still have direct access to the job alert form, even if they find no job results.
Job seekers hate to miss out on jobs that get snapped up quickly. Thus, it’s in their best interest to sign up for email notifications of the latest jobs.
Job alerts are one of the most powerful tools for drawing conversion from passive and active job seekers to applying for jobs. Do not underestimate their contribution to improving the conversion rate and building a talent pool.
The following terms are recommended as alternatives to "Job alerts:"
Tip: Choose a platform that affords the opportunity to customize when the job alerts are sent by time and the number of days later. Recruitment digital marketers will know emails sent at different times of the day get different conversion rates. Also important is how many days after the user visits the site to send a ‘follow-up’ communication. Busy people might ignore the instant communication but will click on the follow-up sent on Saturday morning.
The best career sites don’t just connect candidates to individual jobs. They also help companies build a talent network. Candidates become part of the talent network, which hiring professionals can later use to find the best talent for a newly-opened position.
The importance of fostering this talent network cannot be overstated – if done right, employers can rest assured that they’ve developed a source of quality candidates who are interested in their brand and align with the organization’s goals and vision. Building and fostering a talent network is also of utmost importance, since these candidates are interested in the company and brand and have vetted the company to ensure it aligns with them – which can lead to a quality hire when the right role for them comes along.
To start building a network, use a form on the website. This form should connect to the candidate relationship management (CRM) system to help companies organize the talent network.
Tip: Make this sign-up form a separate page with its own URL for best results. Hiring professionals can then share this page elsewhere on the career site or through social media. Recruiters can also add a link to their email signature to promote the site even further.
Every job posting should have its own unique URL. That doesn’t just help search engine visibility; it also enables companies to share each posting individually, and job seekers can bookmark individual job postings. Job ads without a unique URL can score low for SEO.
If hiring professionals can help it, make the URL of the main careers page short and memorable, such as Employer.com/Careers. Each individual job posting will need a URL, of course – but this way, if a candidate wants to browse the company’s openings but doesn’t have the link, they’ll be able to access the main page without any issue.
Tip: It’s recommended to have the career page as a separate URL from the corporate site as a sub-domain of that site – i.e., jobs.companyname.com as this provides some ranking value from the corporate site, but clearly delineates the content for careers vs. corporate.
Most career sites are already optimized to gather data on web visitors. Still, professionals can install multiple tracking pixels to gain information on specific demographic groups. Facebook, for example, allows recruiters to create as many as 100 pixels in a Business Manager account.
The goal, of course, is retargeting. Companies can track visitor data by installing multiple pixels and then display targeted ads to those same visitors as they browse the internet. The whole process is known as “remarketing,” it is a great way to refine how to connect with a specific type of website visitor.
Tip: If the career site can track the IP address of its visitors, do something useful with that data. For instance, present customized job opportunities based on the location of that IP address. Or learn the IP address of a company’s competitors. Then, when someone from the same region visits the site, serve them with content that showcases the unique employee value proposition (EVP) to lure them away from competitors.
This tip is a bit controversial, but most career sites can do away with a “featured jobs” section – especially on the home page. Why? These sorts of highlighted positions may bring in a high volume of applicants, but they do little to increase the quality of applications coming in. Additionally, a “featured job” is only going to be relevant to those who live in that area (or are willing to relocate).
Besides, the home page is prime real estate. The content should appeal to every type of visitor, regardless of occupational background or geographic location. Think about showcasing employee testimonials, branding, or other content that reflects company culture.
If there is a featured jobs section, make sure it can be customized for every visitor. For instance, a section that shows local jobs may be more valuable than a running list of all available job opportunities.
Tip: It’s recommended that companies focus on personalization or lack thereof, showing similar jobs on relevant job details pages based on location and/or job category to the job seeker. This allows them to find potential matches if the role they are currently viewing isn’t a match for them.
If visitors can’t find the correct information or tools, they may be more likely to exit from the site entirely. Think about where hiring professionals want the candidates to go when they visit the site. Is there a logical progression from the home page to, per se, a job posting page? For that matter, do main navigation buttons include a “home” button?
Making the home page instantly accessible will make it easier for visitors to get back to the beginning and start their journey all over again.
Some platforms will do the design work for recruiters. But many companies now have an employment brand or recruitment marketing specialist on staff. These professionals bring specialized design and marketing skills to build their own campaign landing pages.
Therefore, the best option is to choose a career site platform that allows users to customize the content to fit professionals’ unique needs. Feature-rich platforms like Recruitics’ Fusion can help companies drive, capture, nurture, and convert candidates to ensure hiring professionals hit hiring goals.
If a candidate arrives at the career site via a posting on a job board, the goal should be to keep them on the site rather than returning to the job board. Companies can do this by providing a section with a heading such as “Not a match for you?” or “Related jobs,” with a list of openings that connect with the candidate. That way, the candidate will spend more time searching on the career site rather than hitting the “back” button.
Recruiters should also ensure that the content is as interesting and engaging as possible – dull content, uninteresting design, and walls of text are surefire ways to get potential candidates to leave the site. Also, engaging content makes candidates want to stay and learn more. So consider videos, testimonials with eye-catching graphics, and helpful resources to keep people from bouncing away too quickly.
Analytics tools like Recruitics’ Vision can help companies visualize and analyze web traffic. These tools can identify what content is getting the most views – and what content is underperforming.
Hiring professionals can then use this data to optimize the content to drive traffic or find ways to highlight content that is otherwise being overlooked by the average visitor. Doing this regularly can help companies keep the site fresh and compelling.
Does the career site pass the two-clicks test? What this means is that no matter what page candidates are looking at, they should be no more than two clicks away from a job description and an apply button.
If the web content doesn’t pass this test, it’s time to redesign the web navigation. A simple solution is to always have a “job postings” tab in the navigational menu – then, this page can promote individual job postings.
Candidates first want to find a role that closely matches them, but once they have done that, they want to understand more about the company they’ll be working for. Having the proper content at the interest phase is crucial to help sway them to apply. This includes benefits, salary information, company reviews, employee testimonials (especially video testimonials with tools like Jamyr), mission & vision, DEIB initiatives, and philanthropy.
Companies can help the candidate understand the culture through various content. This content will help push candidates toward the finish line of applying.
Like the ancient city of Rome, an effective talent pool is not built in a day. But the more hiring professionals can optimize the career site to enhance the candidate journey, the more likely they will connect with quality leads. These tips can increase the volume of the applications and help professionals build the brand with their top prospects.
The Recruitics team utilizes real-time data to adapt, create, and work together to assist you in becoming more accurate, intuitive, and effective. Reach out to Recruitics today and let us help you convert more career site visitors to applicants.