How Do You Get Your Careers Website to a Happy Place?
Slow page loads, poor candidate UX, identical off-the shelf design, lack of mobile optimisation, rubbish support, not to mention all those troubles with your back end. Is anyone truly satisfied with their careers website right now?
When you must make hard choices that might trade candidate experience for admin experience or speed and performance for SEO optimisation, then you are not getting the most out of your tech investment. It’s a rubbish situation with few good options.
If it is driving you up the wall, imagine the effect it is having on your potential candidates. Rather than improving your employer brand, if your website is built on code so old it was written by Alan Turing, it’s probably doing more harm than you realise.
If you have spent valuable time and money on the creation of an employer brand that is a true and accurate reflection of your company culture and built a compelling employee value proposition around it, then it follows that your careers website must be able to convey those truths in an attractive and informative way.
When you have added complexity and sophistication to how your company culture is portrayed, then simply putting together a job description on a job board won’t cut the mustard. A good careers site is one of the most vital components of your employer brand. It is your shop window. Your employer brand superstore, in fact, that turns window shoppers into job candidates and, ultimately key employees.
Just as your employer brand should be built around the truth and a compelling brand story, a good careers website is built with several foundational pillars:
Objectives. What do you want to achieve
Brand. How strong is your EVP?
Personas. What does your ideal candidate look like?
The fourth pillar is Technology. Adopting and adapting the right technology is crucial and must be done seamlessly and in a way that future-proofs your site from requiring avoidable and expensive rebuilds just a year or so later. Making the right choices at the outset will save time and money in the long run. This means investment in a comprehensive suite of applications that will enable your site to tell your story, convincing the right candidates to apply while also incorporating all the requisite search engine optimization (SEO) elements.
What makes a good careers site?
We all hate slow websites. Even a delay of a few seconds can be extremely frustrating when we are accustomed to near instantaneous accessibility. Sluggish load times can be extremely detrimental to the applicant experience and page ranking. It could even cause them to abandon the process and look elsewhere. You don’t want to lose talent by scoring such an avoidable own goal.
As a rule of thumb content should load and render in no more than 3.8 seconds. After that, bounce rates rise significantly. Anything slower than that will cause the Google page rank to fall, affecting the visibility of your careers site to potential applicants.
According to Statcounter, global web traffic on mobile phones has surged over the past decade. As of February 2022, 57.38 per cent of all web traffic came through mobile phones. So, it is crucial that your site is optimised for mobile phone usage.
That means design, layout, and content that adapts to the size of the user’s screen. In fact, such is the dominance of the smart phone that most development is now mobile-first. Gone are the days when mobile was a secondary consideration or even an optional extra. Small screens are the here and now.
From a development aspect, it’s also easier to expand a page or site to fit larger screen sizes as opposed to the reverse.
With so many viruses and scams of various type out there, your site needs to be trusted, so it needs an online security certificate. Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) is the gold standard in site security. It creates an encrypted link between the user and the page, protecting the applicant’s personal information and keeping the transfer of information private and secure. You don’t want a site that causes a data breach. In addition, non-secured sites fare poorly in search rankings as well. So, it’s another must-have.
Schema markup is basically the language of search engines embedded in your site’s construction to look at the contents of the page. It tells search engines what they need to know about the page, breaking down all the elements such as job description, title, location, and so on, which can help it rank on Google for Jobs.
If you're not on page one of Google you're nowhere. Page one of Google accounts for over 75 per cent of all the clicks made through to websites. Second-page results are far from a close second however with less than 10 per cent of all clicks through to websites happening when users stumble across page 2 of Google's search results. Having a well-optimised website with great structure and content will assist you in showing where it really matters when it comes to search. On Page One.
To optimise your site’s performance, you need to know how it is performing. Look at the metrics, understand where you are ranking and then work out what you need to do to improve upon it. Unless you're already in the top positions on page one of Google, but even then competition is fierce for the top spots so there are always marginal gains to be had to keep improving.
Six Pages You Must Include
As you plan your career site (or evaluate the site you currently have), list the following pages as “must-haves”:
Culture page. Time to showcase your employer brand and tell candidates what your company is all about.
Team page. Showing potential applicants existing staff members and their roles is a really good way to help them decide whether they are a good fit.
Office locations. Showcases culture and local environment.
Brand pillar pages. Communicate your values and brand pillars.
Persona pages. These pages can be incredibly valuable in showcasing specific roles, which can give candidates an idea of whether they are right for them.
Evergreen job role pages. These don’t have to be tied to a specific job posting but can give insight into specific roles in a broader sense.
Building Better Job Description Pages
It’s also important to be strategic about job description pages. Be sure to include these:
Job ad copy. Include the copy you used for the job posting on the description pages. Ensure that it tells a smart and engaging story.
Salary range. They’re here (mostly) for the money so tell candidates what the pay range is.
Video previews. Who better to offer job advice for the incoming candidate than the people already doing it? Let them talk about their role.
Reviews and testimonials. Current or former employees can supply the best testimonials for a company. So let them hear what they have to say about working for you.
Benefits. Don’t focus on the pension plan but do showcase why people join your company in the first place and why they stay.
FAQs. This should address any other queries that might come up.
And after they apply create a ‘thank you’ page and let them know what will come next in the application process and when. Managing expectations is key. Also consider offering content to help candidates through the process, like interview preparation materials, videos from hiring managers, and links to socials and blogs.
Your careers site should be easy to navigate, offer a great user experience, taking them seamlessly through an exhaustive and engaging application process and leave even those that choose not to apply walking away from the experience with a positive and enthusiastic attitude towards your company and your employer brand.
And then we would all be a lot happier, right?