Like the front page of any good book, it should tell candidates the story of “why” they should come and work for your company. You can’t just put up a list of jobs and hope that people apply, your employer brand needs to shine through your page.
At Beamery, we believe that every great careers page relies on 5 key principles.
1. It’s not just about your jobs…
“What is the “why”? Why do people want to work here? Why do people stay? Why would someone want to join?” – Ben Gledhill, Employer Brand Manager at Manchester Metropolitan University
A good careers page is about so much more than a sign saying “come work for us”, or even well-written job descriptions.
It should be a place where candidates can learn a little more about your company, your culture, relevant openings, and ultimately apply.
Most people don’t arrive “ready-to-apply”. They need to be convinced or, as Ben Gledhill neatly puts it, they’re looking for “the why”. Why should someone consider your company? Why is it a good fit for them? Why would they want to work with you?
“The why” goes by many names, EVP the most popular, and is the tricky part of the employer branding process that is often left to consultants. Whether you develop the messaging yourself (it’s not that hard, there are some great tips here) or outsource it, you need to make sure it’s clear at every level of your careers page.
If you’re looking for inspiration, here are 3 examples we like:
i) Space X
Ok, so these guys make rockets. That’s pretty hard to compete with.
The one critical thing to pay attention to though, is how Space X make sure that their “why”, their company mission is front and center for everyone to see.
This is a company for people who are driven to make life on Mars a realistic possibility.
There are two “whys” that are immediately apparent at Chipotle.
Personal growth and making better food available to everyone. Both things that will resonate with many great candidates.
Huge is an advertising agency, so they get paid for being avant-garde and attention-grabbing.
Their careers page is all about “the why” though and, at a time when most people are trying to find more meaning in their work, their headline is a genius stroke.
Probably not something that every company can borrow though!
2. Create relevant, personalized experiences
Whether it’s ads on Indeed or sponsored jobs on LinkedIn, recruiting teams commit a ton of resources to bringing candidates to their careers page.
The problem is that most of this traffic ends up leaving your website without doing anything.
Candidates either land on job pages and decide not to apply, or they come to your main careers site and don’t see content that is relevant to their job search and leave.
You’re literally bringing candidates to the door, only to turn them away.
First impressions count. You have a very short window to get candidates excited in your company and convince them to apply. You can’t waste that with generic content that doesn’t strike a chord.
Instead, recruiting teams need to make sure that the website pages that candidates land on are personalized to their interests. It sounds simple, but it makes a huge difference when it comes to conversion.
Technical candidates should see information around engineering culture at your company, quantitive surveyors should be directed to content around their role – linking up your advertising channels with this kind of personalized content can be transformative.
Heck, this is one of the big reasons that we launched Beamery Pages – as an easy way for recruiters to personalize every experience candidates have with their brand online.
Oh and in a world where most people walk around with an iPhone strapped to their hand, it almost goes without saying that your careers page needs to be mobile optimized. 94% of smartphone job seekers have browsed or researched jobs on smartphones – you need to be ready for them.
3. Authenticity trumps everything
“Make sure your tone of voice is consistent with who you are as an organization and any information you share is in-line with that your candidates and applicants want to see/read/hear.” – Ben Gledhill, Employer Brand Manager at Manchester Metropolitan University
Who are you? Who are you trying to be?
Does the “packaging” reflect the “contents”? Is what you say about your company and working culture actually true? The content on your careers page should reflect your internal culture, not just words that you think sound good.
The best way for brands to stay authentic and cut through the corporate careers speak is to leverage their own people.
As James Ellis, Employer Brand Manager at Groupon puts it: “real employees telling their real stories in their real voices is really powerful when it comes to generating the real results real recruiters need.”
PwC are a company that clearly take this to heart. The “Why PwC” section of their careers site features a ton of different employee interviews and profiles, like Alena below:
Not only do these sections give the company a human face that candidates can identify with, but they also show prospective employees exactly what their career growth could look like. Not with generic buzzwords, but with specific examples:
4. Engage early and often
Asking people who aren’t ready to apply to spend upwards of 30 minutes wading through a complex form is a non-starter. Research suggests that as many as 60% of candidates that start an application abandon it due to length or complexity.
If this is the only option that you’re giving people on your careers page, you’re going to lose a load of passive candidates that aren’t willing to formally throw their hat into the ring.
Every careers site should have a way for these people to start a relationship with your company or sign up for relevant updates. Whether this is a formal talent network or just a monthly newsletter that you send to keep everyone in the loop, some kind of lead capture for passive talent is essential.
You don’t need to ask for an enormous amount of information at this point. You just need enough to be able to segment candidates effectively and know what kind of communication they’d be interested in receiving. (For Beamery customers, this is where Pages and Forms become invaluable).
5. Optimize your jobs
If your careers page does its job, the final step is the application process. It needs to be quick and easy for candidates to find the job that they’re looking for and apply.
Here are 3 areas where your careers page needs to excel:
i) Job search
Jobs need to be easy to find. Plain and simple.
Your job search should be front and center (like Pizza Hut below) and should be accessible no matter what section of your careers page candidates are on.
The search should also work! There’s nothing more frustrating for candidates than having to find the right set of keywords that give them the results they’re looking for.
ii) Job descriptions
It takes a lot to get someone to this page, you don’t want to lose them.
We’re going to use this example from Glassdoor to illustrate some of the components of an effective job description:
- The description starts with a reminder of “the why” (the reason why people would want to work at Glassdoor)
- Requirements, perks, and benefits are all clearly laid out. The words used are “plain English” (no buzzwords)
- There’s an apply later option for candidates that might not be able to dive straight into the process
- If people decide that they’d like to see a different job, search is easily accessible.
- Candidates can watch Glassdoor’s corporate video if they need a reminder on why they want to apply
- There’s an option for passive candidates to join the talent network and register for relevant job alerts
iii) Application process
There’s a severe disconnect over the application experience – the average candidate spends 3-4 hours submitting a single application, while 70% companies think it takes them less than an hour.
High drop-off rates lead to loss of top talent, brand damage from candidates frustrated with the process and the higher costs associated with abandonment in cost-per-click recruiting models.
Around 50% of employers believe that the length of application processes is a positive because it “weeds out” applicants. Good talent should be dedicated enough to fill out complex forms, while the lengthy process should screen out apathetic applicants.
In reality, the opposite is true – the best candidates have plenty of opportunities in today’s job market. They aren’t as willing to jump through hoops, and will happily go where the grass looks greener.
The people that apply to your company are well on their way to becoming brand advocates. An overly lengthy or complex process can change that, leads to frustration and ultimately brand damage.
A simple way to test your application is to anonymously apply to one of your own roles. It should be pretty easy to see what changes need to be made.
The final word: who “owns” the careers page?
Whenever we get into conversations with customers around making changes to their careers page, the question of ownership always comes up.
Some recruiting departments leave it to an agency to manage and make updates to their careers page, some rely on their marketing department, some have direct control. (If you work closely with marketing, this is a pretty solid guide to getting the things you need on a consistent basis.)
If the careers page does fall under your jurisdiction though, prioritizing these 5 areas is sure to lead to better quality applicants and an improved candidate experience. If you’re working with other stakeholders, make sure you bring these points up the next time you meet.
Recruitment marketing: the free course
For anyone looking to take the next step as a recruitment marketer, we’ve created a free 10-day email course. It’s stuffed full of tactics, tools, and advice to turn you and your team into marketing experts.
You can get your hands on our new email course here. Space is limited, but you can save your spot (and find out more) by clicking the shiny green button below: