When researching your organization, candidates aren’t just looking for information on the role, they’re also interested in company culture and values. In fact, this year’s Jobvite Job Seeker Nation Report found that 86% of job seekers say company culture is important in their decision to apply for a job.
This reflects in the kinds of content that candidates are now interested in as well. For example, this year’s CareerArc Future of Recruitment Study reported that 3 of the top 5 types of content motivating job seekers to apply to a job include:
- Employee stories and spotlights
- Diversity, equity and inclusion messages
- Employee day-in-the-life videos
The better you can fill in these blanks for candidates, the more motivated they’ll be to hit that “apply” button, and one of the best ways to do that is through a dedicated careers blog. Social media may be where a growing number of candidates are going to learn about your company, but Jobvite found that careers sites are still where the majority of candidates go to ultimately apply (second only to job boards).
Here to tell you how to build a successful careers blog are the 1st and 2nd place winners of Best Careers Blog from the 2021 Rally Awards: Workhuman and Giant Eagle. Drawing from their award-winning formulas, below are 5 tips to help you build a thriving careers blog of your own to better answer candidates’ questions, address their concerns, build more employer brand awareness and drive more job applications.
Meet the winners
Workhuman is pioneering the Human Workplace through award-winning Social Recognition and Continuous Performance Management solutions. For the past 21 years, human resources and business leaders alike have used Workhuman Cloud to gain the proactive insights necessary to transform and lead a more connected, human-centered workplace that accelerates engagement and productivity.
As the winner of the Best Careers Blog at the Rally Awards, Workhuman built a new careers blog using competitor research, a new stream of owned media specifically for employer branding, concrete metric tracking and employee advocacy.
Their submission was just as much of a testament to the effectiveness of career blogs as it was employee advocacy, as Workhuman established that the total earned media value they received from employees sharing careers blog content was over $35,000!
Giant Eagle is an American supermarket chain with over 400 retail locations and over 34,000 employees.
Earning 2nd place in the Best Careers Blog category at this year’s Rally Awards, Giant Eagle expanded their careers blog to highlight more career journeys, IE&D initiatives and Team Member achievements and milestones — both in their Team Members’ professional and personal lives.
This expansion led to upwards of an 85% increase in LinkedIn followers in the 2 years following the launch of the careers blog, as well as nearly 30,000 individuals visiting and reading their blog.
Tip #1: Pull inspiration from the best careers blogs in your industry
Whether you’re building a new careers blog from the ground up or you’re improving upon what already exists, staying up to date on what your talent competitors are doing is key.
Before breaking ground with their new careers blog, Workhuman’s employer brand team first went to work to identify best-in-industry careers blogs, researching themes and website-to-blog structures of some of the most well-known organizations in the world.
They then brought these examples to their marketing team and identified how they could incorporate a new blog into their careers page. When narrowing down their options, they prioritized examples that would be easy to navigate for prospective candidates, seamless to plug into their existing website structure and simple for them to publish, distribute and measure the performance of content.
Finally, after a meeting of the minds with employer brand, marketing and external communication team members, they settled on the careers blog structure as it stands today: separate from their careers page, but connected through naturally placed CTAs within their content.
Tip #2: Create a space dedicated to stories your candidates care about
Workhuman decided to create a new environment for their careers blog because their existing company blog was meant for a different audience. It was reserved for case studies and customer-facing content. And on the candidate-facing side, their careers page was already filled with information focused on benefits, company history and company awards, but information about company culture was limited to what they could share through paid editorial partnerships.
While this information provided some of what candidates were looking for, it was lacking in the most important areas. Through candidate experience surveys, Workhuman discovered that the information their applicants found most valuable included that around their culture, values and why people chose to work and stay at the company.
To address these areas, upon launching their career blog, their initial stories included:
- a spotlight on one of their founding members of their LGBTQ+ Employee Resource Group
- a video embedded blog post of employees sharing what it’s like to experience their product as an employee (one of their key differentiators as an employer)
- an article from a new hire about starting a new role amid COVID-19 lockdown
- a day in the life Q&A with one of their data scientists (they were actively hiring for another data science team member at the time of launch)
Tip #3: Put metrics in place to track progress and demonstrate value
If you want your careers blog to have any real impact, you need to be able to track what’s working and what isn’t on a regular basis. Similarly, with tracking and metrics in place, you can attribute clear value to the content you’re publishing and sharing. Being able to go to leadership and say “we’re seeing ‘x’ results from ‘y’ piece of content or campaign” can go a long way in earning continuous buy-in, as well as getting support for future projects.
In Giant Eagle’s case, increase in LinkedIn followers was one of their measures of success. With a baseline established prior to the launch of their blog in 2018 — between 3,500 and 4,000 new followers each year — they saw this range climb to a new average of 5,000-6,500 new followers in the years after. With such a significant increase in individuals following their blog-related content, Giant Eagle can say with confidence that their careers blog has so far been a major success.
Tip #4: Go beyond showing career opportunities to how you spotlight and support employees
Candidates want to know exactly what it’s like to work in the role they’re applying for, which is why you should aim to show as many different kinds of career opportunities at your workplace as possible, especially those relating to high-priority candidate groups.
Coming out of a pandemic, candidates also want the assurance of long-term stability, which is why the career journeys you share should also vary in seniority. For example, while they do share career journeys of new hires, Giant Eagle also features Team Members who have gone through the company’s Team Member Development Programs, as well as those with significant tenure to show the potential career development and longevity possible with Giant Eagle.
Alongside stories of stability should be stories of support as well. Again, the pandemic has reshaped the way candidates choose who they want to work for; they want to work for supportive employers who won’t drop them at the first sign of turbulence. To foster this kind of familial setting, Giant Eagle recognizes both professional and personal achievements by their Team Members, as well as challenging times. Whether it’s the birth of a child, a wedding, graduation or illness, all of their stories have one thing in common: they speak to Giant Eagle’s support for their Team Members during the good times and the bad.
Finally, they use their blog as a platform for their business resource groups (BRGs) to highlight important diversity and inclusion initiatives taking place at the company, and how Giant Eagle supports these communities. These stories feature the work being done by such groups as Veteran Team Members, Differently-Abled Team Member & their advocates, LGBTQIA+ Team Members, Women in Business and others.
Tip #5: Encourage employees to share blog posts with their personal networks
Motivating employees to share careers blog content with their personal networks deserves to be one of your top priorities. Even for the smallest of workforces, successful employee advocacy means exposure to hundreds, if not thousands of more people, many of them potential candidates or future candidates — all at minimal-to-no extra cost to you.
When it comes to getting employees to share your content, again, it comes down to the kind of content you’re producing. For example, if your stories shed light on individuals or groups doing great work at your company — which could mean project wins, fostering inclusivity or anything else meaningful — then those individuals or groups are naturally more likely to reshare that content with their personal networks. Plus, when employees see their colleagues celebrated and embraced within their organization, they’re more likely to want to support them by sharing.
An example of Workhuman employee resharing content created on their careers blog. Getting employees in senior positions to share content first can also be a good way to set the tone for the rest of the company.
You can also encourage employees to share more by simplifying the sharing process, such as loading content from your careers blog into an employee advocacy platform for employees to easily pull from and share across their socials.
By comparing their total audience reach from employee shares and total number of engagements to their paid media efforts, Workhuman established that the total earned media value they received from employees sharing their careers blog content was over $35,000. Beyond helping them understand the growing reach and employee participation, they could also show this number to leadership to justify continuing, or even expanding the blog.
If there’s one thing to remember when building your careers blog strategy it’s that candidates want a deeper view into your company culture and employee experience
They want to know exactly what work looks like on a daily basis in the roles they’re interested in, how you help employees overcome challenges and recognize their achievements, what DEI initiatives exist at your workplace and anything else they can use to judge how your values line up with theirs.
By checking these boxes in your Recruitment Marketing content, you can be well on your way to building an award-winning, talent-driving careers blog of your own.
To learn more about building an effective careers blog, check out our Q&A with 2020 Best Careers Blog award winner, Carmen Collins from Cisco!