Most visitors to your careers site aren’t there to apply for a job.
Changing your job can be a life-changing decision, and not an easy one. People are looking at your site and seeing whether they can envision themselves belonging there at some point. So how do you make a lasting impression so that when they are ready to apply for a job, your organization is top of mind? How can your careers site act as a window into the everyday culture of what it’s like to work there?
James Ellis and Belinda Cawthorne chatted through these questions in a webinar with Rally’s Lori Sylvia, sharing their insights, experiences and great practical advice for how you can upgrade your careers site today.
Meet the experts
James is the author of Talent Chooses You: Hire Better with Employer Branding and The Employer Brand Handbook Vol 1 and 2. He is also the host of The Talent Cast, a podcast dedicated to employer branding.
Belinda is Head of Enablement – Recruitment Marketing at Clinch. Clinch offers talent teams a full suite of easy to use tools that help bring your Recruitment Marketing strategy to life with seamless integration with your ATS.
Elements for a great careers site
If the best job in the world is at a company I would never work for, that’s not a position I’d even consider. It all starts with the brand. Can I see myself at this organization? Can I see myself doing this job here? These are the questions that candidates are asking about your employer brand before they even consider your jobs, according to James.
In fact, 9 out of 10 visitors to your careers site are not there to apply for a job, which isn’t as bad as it sounds. As James reinforced, you don’t want everyone applying — you only want people who really want to work for you. And the way to attract these people is making sure that your careers site tells a compelling story about your employer brand, employee experience and what employees can generally expect from working for you.
So how exactly do you make sure that people leave your careers site with a lasting, accurate impression of your employer brand? James and Belinda offered 3 essential boxes you need to check: content, images and CTAs.
1. Content that connects
“When a friend says I really like my job, that’s authentic,” said James. “Those stories exist, and every single person has a story to tell. It’s your job to pull it out in a scalable way, collect them and use them on the website and in your Recruitment Marketing material in many different ways.”
It doesn’t have to be fancy! For example, James shared how he has recorded videos over zoom with an employee and extracted a 1 minute clip, making it a great story to share on his careers site, social media and internally. By sharing and celebrating employees internally too, it created a snowball effect and others wanted to be involved. James said he then had managers coming to him asking how they can get their best employees featured as a way to recognize them. What often limits people however is if guidelines aren’t crystal clear and people feel scared they’ll say something wrong, so overcoming roadblocks from reluctant storytellers is an important aspect.
Job seekers are 3 times more likely to trust content from employees. Belinda agreed employee engagement is an important piece of this as well, and that’s how you can create a culture where people are coming to you and want to be involved. Given that people are motivated by very different things, you need to know your audience and create content personalized for your teams. Each department is a micro culture;by creating content specific to them you can reflect that on your careers site.
2. Images that tell a story
Use real pictures of your employees where you can, and pick images that connect to your corporate brand for a consistent experience. Belinda sees your careers site as a window into your brand and culture, so your visuals need to reflect that. Also think about your job description page. Often, it’s just a lot of text which isn’t sticky or memorable and is an underused place to incorporate visuals.
Show connections through images to the everyday work. James said it’s great when you see images of the annual kickoff event or party, but people want to see what the everyday will also look like. People want to be able to picture themselves in your normal environment. Connect your imagery to your values, whether that’s showing your volunteering efforts, diversity and inclusion work or what the everyday working environment actually looks like.
3. CTAs that drive towards hiring
“It’s important to remember finding a job is life changing”, said James. You don’t buy a house by clicking a button. You do a lot of research and ask people for advice before making this big decision. Similarly, recruiters don’t want people skimming the website and just applying. You want the best person who does their research, so getting people’s interest is the goal, not getting the highest number of people to click apply.
One way to pull people into your talent pipeline is by using an exit CTA that pops up before they leave your careers site. Belinda said they’ve proven to be effective for Clinch customers and a great way to collect leads. There’s high conversion and then those people are getting nurtured behind the scenes so when they’re ready to apply for a job, your company is top of mind.
Rally note: Learn more about best practices for converting visitors to your website into members of your talent network and watch our webinar: How To Build a Talent Pipeline from your Careers Site.
Quick wins for your careers site
Make sure you have the essentials: content, images and CTAs. Then ship the minimum viable product. Don’t get caught up in having everything ready first. James emphasized that careers sites are not a one and done project — they’re a living breathing thing we should always be iterating and adding on.
Enhanced job listings also go a long way, and Belinda said at Clinch, they encourage their customers to embed content like personalized employee stories from the team they’re hiring for, images, or videos directly into job postings to engage candidates. You can also add a CTA like “refer a friend” or “sign up for job alerts.” Simply adding one of these elements to your job listings can be very effective for engaging talent long-term.
Although updating your careers site often means working with many internal stakeholders and it can feel like a big project, it doesn’t need to be extensive or slow. As James and Belinda spoke about, it’s a living page. It’s best to start somewhere with small enhancements, iterations you can measure and then learn and adapt along the way.
Watch the full webinar on demand here!