Why It’s Time We Rethink The Importance of Career Sites

Why It’s Time We Rethink The Importance of Career Sites

Mike Roberts

This scenario happens all too often. A company decides it’s time to redesign its website, so the marketing team hires a creative agency to do it, and the recruiting team has virtually no say in what happens to the career site.

If the recruiting team is lucky, maybe they’ll be asked what they want the career site to look like, but more likely they’ll be told to deliver content that will have to fit within some confined template.

And then sometimes, because of existing applicant tracking system features that are embedded into the site, the career site stays the same while the rest of the corporate website gets a makeover (seen any career sites that look like they’re from the early 2000s lately?).

Let’s discuss why this is unacceptable in 2016.

Changing Expectations, Options, and Job Search Dynamics

Expectations: Millennials now comprise the largest proportion of the workforce. These people grew up experiencing rapid advancements in technology. They know what good web experiences are and aren’t, because they’ve been using the internet from the rudimentary AOL days through to today.

Options: At the same time, growth in the job market and a rising demand for skilled professionals has shifted power into the hands of job seekers. Candidates, especially talented ones, aren’t just going to work anywhere. They can afford to be a bit more discerning.

Job Search Dynamics: The internet has fundamentally changed the way we discover and learn about new products, movies, restaurants, and—among many other things—jobs. Today’s job seekers prefer to find new opportunities themselves, to the extent that 76% of candidates conducted their own research and due diligence in their job search in 2015.

Let’s recap those three points. Candidates have higher expectations for technology than ever. They have more power and options in the job search. And they’re conducting their own job research. And where’s that research process taking place?

How People Are Job Searching and Where They’re Ending Up

The Talent Board’s 2015 Candidate Experience Research revealed that, above all other resources, 64% of candidates found career sites to be the most valuable while researching new opportunities (that’s more than LinkedIn, job boards, etc.). Whether you like it or not, candidates are visiting your career site to learn about your company.

top job search research channels 2016
It’s not just career sites that are meeting candidates’ research expectations, of course. The internet has a wealth of information, and new ways for learning about job opportunities and employer brands continue to pop up every year.

A separate study by CareerBuilder—their annual Candidate Behavior Report—showed that on average job seekers use a total of 16 resources in their job search. Although that may seem like a lot of resources, as we’ve mentioned in the past people can easily stack up several hundred digital interactions in a relatively simple consumer purchasing journey, so why would the candidate journey (where a significant life decision is being made) be any different?

career search resources
The thing is, nearly all of those 16 resources point candidates to one place: the career site. Outside of some third-party job boards where job seekers can submit their application, most will have to go through the career site and then to the apply flow to actually complete the application process.

So, whether it’s their first or last stop on the journey, candidates are coming to your career site.

(Note: On top of the career site, you should definitely be working to optimize all other relevant channels as part of your inbound recruiting strategy, but that’s a completely different conversation. We’ve discussed that in depth here.)

Where Most Hires Are Coming From

Bersin by Deloitte’s 2015 Talent Acquisition Facebook reported that company websites, or career sites, drove more hires than any other source. This was not the case in 2011. Back then, both referrals and job boards reigned supreme as top sources of hire. But candidate behaviors and their search preferences have changed.

If you’ve already taken the efforts to modernize your career site, then you’re likely benefiting from this trend. If not, then imagine the hit your career site visitor to applicant ratio has been taking over the years. Perhaps you know, if you’re using Google Analytics to track conversions, or some other recruiting analytics solution.

Where in the past the career site was simply a place candidates could go to find your openings, today it’s a portal into your employer brand. It’s a value proposition, and if you’re not looking at it that way then you’re headed for troubled waters in the near future.

We say this because far too many companies still have a horribly inconsistent experience when comparing their corporate website to their career site. Just look at your own career site, versus every other page on your company’s website. Product marketing may have optimized your content and messaging for customer acquisition on your site’s homepage and product pages, but who optimized the messaging and content for candidate acquisition on your career site?

Take a look at your career site. Do you think it’s good enough, from a content, UX, and UI perspective, to convert a tech-savvy candidate who can afford to look somewhere else?

Let us give you a complimentary career site assessment. One of our specialists will meticulously look through your career site candidate experience, provide a letter grade (A-F), and then share a list of areas for improvement. Click here or follow the button below:

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