In talent acquisition strategy, the career site is the gateway to a career with your organization. It’s where talent encounters and interacts with your employer brand — maybe for the first time or to research your company during the recruiting process. Therefore, your priority with this site should be to excite quality talent visiting the site into becoming applicants and accepting your job offer.
But to do this, you need to be iterating and updating the site with new compelling information and content that influences candidates to continue taking the next step in their candidate journey with your company. The experience must be easy and smooth at every step, going beyond basic boilerplate information to providing an authentic backstage view of life at the company. Finally, you need the right tracking in place to know how people are interacting with the content and what’s leading them to take action so that you can continually improve the site for conversions and a stand out candidate experience.
This is the world of career site optimization!
Recently we held a webinar about the topic of career site optimization called, Candidate Experience Fixes that Get More Applications, featuring Michele Posehn, Senior Recruiting Manager – Diversity and Early Talent Initiatives at SiteOne Landscape Supply, and Katie Conti, VP of Talent Programs and Operations at iCIMS.
Based on the examples Michele and Katie shared, and their pro tips from undergoing a career site refresh, we’re showcasing the top 5 must-have features that you should have on your career site. These features will heighten the candidate experience and shine a spotlight on your employer brand, company culture and commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. But, more importantly, these features have been proven to bring in more quality applications, which of course is what all of us want from a great career site.
No matter how new or intricate your career site is at the moment, I encourage every practitioner to review these features. Some of them may seem obvious, but there could also be a key component you’re missing that could really make an impact on your visitors.
But before we discuss the features, let’s meet Michele and Katie.
About the Experts
Michele Posehn is the Senior Recruiting Manager at SiteOne Landscape Supply overseeing early talent and diversity initiatives. With a deep focus on nurturing the next generation of talent, Michele runs a Center of Excellence for early talent. She’s responsible for creating pipelines from various educational institutions, from universities to trade schools, ensuring a diverse and skilled talent pool for the company. Under her guidance, SiteOne’s internship program received recognition as a top 100 internship program in its first year. Michele is passionate about building strong partnerships that prioritize diversity and inclusion, especially focused on bringing more female and minority talent into SiteOne.
SiteOne holds a critical role in the landscaping industry. This $6 billion organization is rapidly growing with over 6,000 associates and 600 stores across the US and Canada. As a wholesale provider, SiteOne serves as the backbone for landscape contractors, supplying essential elements such as trees, plants, pavers and irrigation components. In a niche industry that demands laborious roles, including CDL drivers and yard associates, SiteOne shines by not only filling about 2,000 positions annually but also by sharing the unique narrative of their company culture and opportunities for growth in a visually appealing and engaging manner.
Katie Conti, VP of Talent Programs and Operations at iCIMS, is at the helm of talent programs and operations for the company. She leads a team dedicated to enhancing efficiency and scalability within the global talent organization. Their goal is to empower the company to attract, engage, hire and advance the right talent for a diverse and winning workforce.
iCIMS, a leader in talent cloud solutions, embodies the belief that aligning the right talent with the right team fuels organizational success. Their commitment to transformation has impacted a vast global community of over 6,000 customers, positioning them as a trusted partner, with 40% of the Fortune 100 relying on their expertise. As a talent cloud company, iCIMS, and Katie’s team, exemplifies their dedication by being “customer zero”, actively utilizing their own technology to enhance their career site and showcase their employer brand, delivering an exceptional candidate experience. iCIMS sponsored the webinar upon which this blog post is based, and has been a long-time sponsor and support of the Rally community.
Okay, let’s now get into the top features your career site should now have!
Feature 1: Video
When she began to think about building a new career site, Michele was very focused on the visual aspect of her site. She explained, “One of our big shortcomings of our previous career site was the imagery. We had images but we didn’t focus much on how they highlighted our employer brand. They also had a dark filter on them, and just didn’t make the site very inviting.”
In the refresh, they did improve the images, but to really convey why visitors should join the company, they went even further and used video!
Implementing Video Studio, an iCIMS product, Michele and her team have been able to showcase their employer brand with video testimonials featuring (and made by) employees. With these seamlessly integrated throughout her site, the candidate experience has now become dynamic and even more informative.
When considering video, think about your site from the perspective of someone earlier in their career. Michele reminded us, “Early career talent are all on platforms like TikTok, and ingesting video constantly. You need to reach them with the medium they’re interested in, and that’s not static text.”
Not only does SiteOne include these first-hand videos throughout the main pages of their site, they also include videos in job descriptions.
Michele said, “These videos bring the job description to life. I love this one video of an intern named Kevin. We call him the mayor because he knows everybody and knows how to work a room. He created this video that really shows what it’s like to be an intern at SiteOne.”
By using video, like the one created by Kevin, potential candidates are able to literally hear the employee’s excitement and understand what they’ve gotten from their experience with your company, in a way that just isn’t as effective in text. Michele continues, “There’s really no comparison to video in terms of conveying the emotion of a person’s experience.”
Katie added, “With Video Studio, you can really engage with candidates on a human level that’s compelling and authentic.”
At iCIMS, they’ve included employee testimonial videos throughout their site to give candidates a sneak peek of a day-in-the-life. Katie continues, “With these videos, your employees are the stars of the show and that helps candidates understand what it’s like to work for your organization.”
Michele finished by sharing, “My dashboard tells me exactly the type of candidate engagement
I’m getting from these videos, so I can see exactly what’s working. I’ve learned to expect a 3% to 5% engagement from these videos. Our engagement rate is around 4.83%, so I know that these videos are speaking to our candidates.”
Feature 2: Digital Assistant
Another way to enhance your career site is with a digital assistant. This is an automated, self-service assistant that candidates can talk with during their job search. While “chatbots” based on simple automation are already a regular feature on both career and corporate websites, newer versions are being powered by AI, making them much more interactive.
This is what Katie and her team implemented at iCIMS. She explained, “We relaunched the digital assistant on our career page with a personality we call Bertie. So Bertie is a helper and a navigator to provide assistance to candidates who might have a question.”
The team at iCIMS have found that Bertie helps automate communications and can speed up time-to-hire by providing answers to candidate’s questions in real time.
Katie continued, “We also focused on giving Bertie a personality to align with our employer brand. We wanted something silly and fun, so Bertie is (obviously) a bird. If Bertie doesn’t know the answer to a question, it will respond in a fun saying or pun, like “well that flew over my head.”
When implementing your own digital assistant, it’s little touches like this that give your site more of your company’s personality. This technology is making the process more efficient, but it’s also humanizing the experience.
Feature 3: Mobile Optimized
It’s best to be blunt: in today’s world, if your career site is not mobile optimized, you’re instantly impacting the candidate experience (negatively) for a large number of job seekers. And, this will have major implications on your ability to convert them into applicants.
As of 2021, according to the Pew Research Center, 97% of Americans own a cell phone of some type. 85% of Americans have a smartphone, which is more US adults than have broadband internet. If your career site (and application process) does not provide a good experience when viewing from a mobile device, you’re missing a lot of potential candidates and conveying that your company is “old fashioned” and not tech savvy.
This is especially true for certain job roles. Michele explained, “For us, a better mobile experience was really important for our career site. We’re hiring a lot of drivers and these candidates aren’t spending their time on laptops. We needed our site to be engaging no matter what device a person was viewing it from.” Other industries that see a lot of people applying with their mobile phones are food service, healthcare transportation and retail.
Feature 4: Interactive map
If you’re a company that’s hiring in multiple states, a great feature is having an interactive map on your career site that allows job seekers to see the roles and opportunities in their location.
Michele explained why it’s so great, “The map provides a quicker way for a candidate to find a position. It’s not only that it’s visual, but it also shows that a career at SiteOne is more than just your area or location. I often say to candidates that this is not just a job, this is a career of opportunity for you, where you can theoretically start in New Jersey and retire, 30 years later, living in California. The map visually tells that story to a candidate without them having to talk with me.”
Providing a great candidate experience on a career site includes ease of use, and this is a feature that makes searching for a job simple. And the easier it is for a job seeker to find what they’re looking for, the faster they’ll start (and finish) their application.
Feature 5: Talent Community
Last, but not least, on our list of must-have features for your career site is a way to join your talent community.
Katie explained, “When refreshing our career site, we wanted to make sure there was a clear call-to-action (CTA) for joining our talent community. Now, every single page of our career site now has a CTA to join, and we’ve seen huge results from this.”
By doing this, no matter what page a visitor enters the site from, they’ll see this CTA continuously pop up and encourage them to be a part of our community.
Katie and her team took this further offering personalization options, “We’re now able to sign up for a talent community specific to a department or role. This has definitely been a game changer as it ensures that we’re continuously driving talent to opportunities that are relevant for them.” The more you provide relevant content to candidates, the more they’ll stay interested in learning what you’re offering.
Caption: iCIMS now includes a CTA to join their talent community on every page of their career site. They also let job seekers select the department or type of role they want information on so they’re getting more relevant content.
To continue the employer brand themes visually, the page to sign up for the talent community also features Bertie, the site’s virtual assistant, representing both the spirit of the brand but also that the talent community will provide useful information.
And though having someone join a talent network isn’t resulting in an application right away, it’s keeping them in the loop of what your company is doing. Eventually, there’s a good chance that they’ll convert!
Now, as they say, “the proof is in the pudding” and these features are only worth it if they deliver results! So how have these feature updates impacted Michele and Katie’s career sites?
Michele shared, “We’re seeing more candidates and what that means is we’re getting better exposure with our employer brand. We’ve increased our applications by about 70,000 since we launched the new careers site, which was a 62% year-over-year growth!”
For the team at iCIMS, they launched their career site refresh with some specific goals, including increasing their visit to apply rate by 20%, increasing their total web applicants by 20% and achieving 5x in talent pipeline growth. Katie was thrilled to share that they exceeded all of these goals!
She explained, “We actually saw a 44% improvement on the visit to apply rate and we increased our total web applicants by 55%. With our goal for talent pipeline growth, we actually achieved 10x! So more candidates are joining our talent communities, which means they’re immediately entering the engagement campaigns to learn more about our company as they await future opportunities with us.”
Thank you to Michele and Katie for sharing their insights along with these fantastic examples! To learn more, watch our Webinar On Demand, Candidate Experience Fixes that Get More Applications.