With scarcity of talent and the skill gap continuing to be a concern for employers everywhere, they need to ensure execution of their talent attraction strategy is flawless. And one of the most important components of that strategy is creating a compelling experience through the company career site, where many job seekers turn to when they are actively seeking career opportunities.

According to the 2019 Randstad Employer Brand Research Global Report, the company career site is the second-most used channel visited by job seekers (cited by 41% of working-age adults around the world; the No. 1 choice is job portals at 61%). Not only are they turning to career sites for job postings but it’s also where many are seeking more information about an employer, its business and culture and the people who work there. 

Our data also found that 54% turn to a company’s web site to check an organization’s reputation. Without question, a well-designed site and career portal can help elevate a company to become an employer of choice. The Talent Board, which conducts annual research and holds the CandE candidate experience award, found that in 2018 60% of job seekers turned to career sites when conducting research. 

While it may seem easy to design a career portal – create a strong employee value proposition and messaging, post job openings and collect applications – it’s easy to overlook critical considerations that help a career site stand out. The tactical functions are easy to execute, but creating a holistic and pleasing experience for visitors is much more involved and demands greater investments in resources and budgets. Instead of viewing a career portal as an asset for their company, many human capital leaders come to see it as a cost center. But it doesn’t have to be.

When developing your career site, remember to address the critical components that will impart an outstanding applicant journey: process, messaging and technology. They are interconnected and provide a holistic view of your organization and demonstrate how candidates can wisely advance their careers by joining you. 

perfecting the process 

Perhaps the most important element of a good career portal, you’ll need an efficient and hassle-free process to ensure job seekers come away with a positive outlook about your business. That’s because today’s candidates, much like today’s consumers, want a clear and transparent process when shopping for jobs. This means a seamless process for submitting their CV through any number of platforms and devices –  whether that’s their LinkedIn profile, a microsoft document, from their phones or their desktop computer. 

The process on your site should begin with uncluttered navigation. When applicants arrive at your home page, they should encounter clear messaging about your business and a link to your career portal within the main navigation menu. It’s critical that your site offers a clean look and just a few calls to actions on a page to minimize confusion and quickly facilitate their journey forward. Are they seeking job postings? The link to search functions should be well marked. Do they want to learn more about life at your company? This should be part of the EVP presentation. What are the corporate social responsibility programs at your company? They should be directed to that section within your overall messaging. Make sure you componentize the site into clear and well-documented sections that candidates can easily find and reach.

Another important element is enabling sharing across the portal. According to the Talent Board, 78% of applicants share their positive experience with their network. You may want to provide sharing buttons on every job posting or pages featuring employees at your company. By facilitating referrals, you can help attract a larger audience to your site.

Equally important to navigation and ease of submission is the post-application journey. A common complaint of job applicants is lack of transparency and communication once a candidate has applied. Keeping talent engaged should be a priority because if they don’t feel their time and effort are valued, applicants may simply choose another opportunity or simply never consider your company for future roles.

To ensure you remain connected to applicants, provide regular follow-up alerts about the status of their application, and use these communications to also promote content they may be interested in and share with their network. When a decision is made, make sure to alert all candidates and thank the passed-over ones for their interest. They may not be the first choice for the current role, but they might be ideal for another one or even a temporary job.

clear and compelling messaging

The content that appears on your career site should be well considered and crafted. This includes general information about your business, the people who work there and the benefits of joining your organization. Every job seeker wants to quickly understand why they should spend time to learn about your business and apply for an opportunity so your messaging needs to be concise and to the point. 

Just as importantly, it needs to be relevant. For instance, you might be a leader in your industry, but how does that translate into worker benefits? Can they expect more career advancement possibilities because of sustained growth over the years? Will there be more opportunities for international assignments because of global growth? Consider how your employee value proposition will resonate with the target audience.

Every company site offers a view into its corporate value and mission, but how to employees support and advance these initiatives? Your career portal should explain the applicant’s role in creating a better organization. This will help them to not only understand their contribution before hiring but also manage expectations after they join the business. 

One important aspect of content creation companies fail to devote enough resources to is the actual job posting. A common reason for premature termination or voluntary leave is jobs don’t align with the expectations of new hires. It’s critical for you to ensure postings accurately reflect the actual work a hire will perform.

the technology requirement

In today’s digital world, technology is essential to creating a better candidate experience. This includes tools to collect applications (an applicant tracking system, for instance), to engage applicants (a candidate recruitment marketing platform), to communicate with candidates (a content management system or job alert chatbots) and others. While not all of these are required for optimal outcome, they can help you save time and manual intervention.

There are more tools than ever for employers to enhance their career portal, so you’ll find many choices. Invest in time and knowledge to help you choose the right platform. Integration is key as this can be significantly more involved than initially realized. 

Keep in mind, however, any technology should always facilitate the candidate’s research and application efforts rather than detract from it. This means being able to apply from mobile devices – you might have to optimize your career portal if you haven’t already. Connectivity to popular channels such as LinkedIn should also be built in to help save time during the application. 

Building an effective and compelling career site doesn’t have to be overly complicated as long as you focus on the three critical areas of development. Just remember that each element should work jointly with each other to create a holistic and effective candidate experience.