Optimizing the career page for a growth company [podcast #22]

#22 Building a Modern Employer Brand podcast - Optimizing the career page for a growth company by Susanna Rantanen

A career page is the same to recruiting as business websites tend to be for sales. The more hiring oriented the business is the more important the career page becomes.

Your career page is also your most important piece of media property. It is the only landscape you have 100% control over. That is why every growth company should maximize the potential of their career site and put it into work.

What makes a career page good?

Obviously “good” is a subjective view, but there are a few elements every growth company should pay attention to when developing and maintaining their career sites.

  • Your audience is actually able to find your career pages.
  • Your career site is mobile friendly and SEO optimized.
  • The content on the site is optimized for both active and passive job seekers.
  • You give your audience several reasons to return to your career site.

Donald Miller from StoryBrand points out the importance of grunt testing your website. The same goes for your career site. After taking only a few seconds glance on the website, the site visitor needs to be able to answer the following questions:

  1. What does this business offer?
  2. How will it [the offer] make my life better?
  3. What do I need to do to buy it or get started?

When converting these into a career page setting, your career site visitor must be able to get answers to these following questions just after a quick glance:

  1. What types of work do the employees of this business do?
  2. Can I vision myself working in this company?
  3. Is this employer able to add value or solve to my career and personal life related needs?
  4. What do I need to do if I wanted to learn more or send my resume?

The Candidate Journey offers a great framework for driving conversions from your career page

I designed the Candidate Journey of the Information Era©️ to help all talent marketeers to understand the types of questions and information needs our talent audiences are likely to have.

If we only inform, we are not asking for a conversion or offering an opportunity for a conversion.

Unless we build affinity on the career site, they won’t return.

Unless we optimize for conversions, we are likely to lose the opportunity of gaining recruitment leads. What’s the entire point of a career page then?

All talent marketing should take into account the journey our talent audiences take. The more you can optimize your talent marketing to match with it, the better success. The Magnetic Employer Branding Method©️ I developed invites your ideal talent audiences to a candidate journey with your company.

Most people browse and scroll career sites on their mobile phones

Websites and career sites are built on the desktop. Websites and career sites are browsed and scrolled mostly on smart devices. This is the birthing ground for a conflict.

Websites look very different from a desktop view and from a mobile view. A great career site designer is on the top of this.

Order of content becomes critical

The order of information becomes critical. Site visitor will not scroll endlessly to figure out if you have something interesting and relevant for them on your website.

Active job seekers look for different information and content than passive job seekers. You must make sure your career site works the best for those talents you want to influence and convince.

Sometimes it pays out to separate a career site and a recruitment site. Both must be found easily on Google and on your website link’s list.

Make browsing and scrolling an informational experience

Another challenge comes from how we consume content and behave on the internet these days. We browse and scroll. Pretty much only.

Most career sites are full of words. Literally just chucks of words that are not read. If your career site visitor just scrolls through without reading anything, how are you going to get your message across? It’s easy to test this. Go to a few company websites you’ve never been to. Find their career pages and take notes on how you behave.

Most career sites are full of words. Literally just chucks of words that are not read. If your career site visitor just scrolls through without reading anything, how are you going to get your message across?

We should never assume people on the outside are one bit interested in reading anything we write. In fact, I believe you are not reading any of this unless I manage to push my key messages on this blog post on your face. If I get your attention and manage to get you curious, you will scroll a bit more. But if this is totally irrelevant to you, you never even got this far on this post. That would be my bad, not yours.

QuickSprout: “The complete guide to a mobile friendly website” (with technical tips as well)

Hubspot: “How to search engine optimize (SEO) your blog content”

How to use content to answer the key questions in a career site visitor’s mind?

Often times when websites are designed, the actual design gets more attention than the actual content of the site. Great design is wonderful to look at, but it does little to answer questions and convince a site visitor to do something meaningful for your business. Great design does little to sell.

Content is more important than design

I would even go as far as argue: 30% of your career site budget should go into the design and 70% into the content. The same goes for your entire website. The most important aspect of the design is the responsiveness. The second most important aspect of the design are the available elements, the content blocks you use to present and organize the content of the web and the career site.

Let’s look at the questions a career site visitor will have on their mind when they enter your career site.

“What types of work do the employees of this business do?”

There a a few really great ways to answer to this question:

  • Use images showing your people at work.
    • Are they working at the office or outside the office?
    • Are they working alone or in interaction with other people?
    • Are they working with specific equipment? How are they using the equipment?
    • Do they wear specific clothes for the work?
  • Use titles as headings and subheadings.
    • “Software developers”
    • “Project managers”
    • “B2B Sales managers”
    • “Teachers”
    • “Shop assistants”
  • Use separate landing pages for the roles you hire the most for or that are the key roles in delivering your customer promise.
    • When a site visitor sees “Our nurses” as a stand alone page, it’s obvious what type of career opportunities you offer.

“Can I vision myself working in this company?”

We all want to belong, to be part of a group. Your site visitors are not part of your group yet. If you want them to be, show them how your group looks like.

Images are the best way to help vision if I can picture myself in this company.

  • Use images that are of your people, in your premises in the actual everyday setting.
  • Make sure people in the images wear the clothes they normally would. It makes a big difference in visioning oneself as part of your group. Why dress up for the photo if that is not the reality?
  • Use images and even videos that show how the actual working environment looks like. Often times visitors get to see the formal areas such as the reception and meeting rooms. But your future employees would really appreciate seeing what the actual work stations and working spaces look like.

When I say your career site needs to work for you, not be a static window frame to your business, your career site needs to answer to this question: “Is this employer able to add value or solve to my career and personal life related needs?”

There is always a reason why a talent starts to evaluate organizations as potential places of work. A person does not apply for a job unless they have a specific reason to.

  • An active job seeker is looking to start in a new job in a very near future.
  • A passive job seeker is on the verge of activating.

Both of your audience types have questions on their mind you need your career site answer to. If you hire a lot, you will have an idea what specifically made your typical candidates to send their application to your business. Make sure your career site emphasizes solutions to those reasons.

Typical drivers for choosing the next place of work

  • Better learning opportunities in general.
  • Better opportunities to advance my career (stages).
  • More social workplace.
  • Better leadership.
  • Similar values than mine.
  • More flexibility for work.
  • Less travel.
  • More meaning to work.
  • More versatility in my daily tasks.
  • Less pressure to deliver.
  • More time to focus on quality.
  • More ambition in general.
  • More workplace dynamics.
  • Faster decision making.
  • Better prospects for the organization.
  • More appealing customers / product / services to work with.
  • Better reputation.
  • Ability to make more decisions about my own work.
  • Better likelihood to make new friends (people who work to a new city).
  • More appealing business strategy.
  • Opportunity to become a partner.
  • Better opportunities to balance work and personal life.
  • Lesser working hours.

And so on. Even talents desperately in a need of a new job are unlikely to take just any job. And when they find themselves in that situation – where they are forced to take the first job that comes across, they won’t commit.

You need to figure out what are the drivers of the talents who you want to hire, figure out how you can match those, then provide “evidence” in the form of content on your career site.

“What do I need to do if I wanted to learn more or send my resume?”

So many companies make it really hard for talents to convert into recruiting leads. If you have a vacancy, you accept applications to that specific hiring need.

But what if your ideal talent spent time on your career site, liked what they experienced and learned and wanted to proceed? Unless you happen to have a suitable opening popping right up, you will lose your lead.

  • A good career site offers clear steps what to do if your are interested in a job opportunity with us.
    • 3 steps how to proceed with a current opening.
    • Max 3 steps how to proceed with a career related query.
  • Names, faces and contact details of people who a prospective talent can speak to.
  • FAQ to answer the most common questions they are likely to have.

If your business is a growth business, turning away prospective customers and talents would be really stupid, would it not?

Want to learn more about this topic? Why not listen to the episode 22 of Building a Modern Employer Brand -podcast. Links below.

#22 Building a Modern Employer Brand podcast - Optimizing the career page for a growth company by Susanna Rantanen

In this episode of Building a Modern Employer Brand -podcast, we talk about how to turn your career site from a static window into a marketing tool that supports your employer branding and works relentlessly to deliver you recruitment leads.

The episode content:

  • What makes a good career page (from this perspective)?
  • Why is it so important to a growth company to invest in a career page that converts?

This episode on Soundcloud >>

Find the podcast and all the episodes on Spotify >>

Episode-length: 23:34 min

About Building a Modern Employer Brand -podcast

Building a Modern Employer Brand-podcast is a weekly podcast bringing you a modern breath of air into HR marketing and employer branding. 

This podcast is dedicated to all modern growth companies and modern employer branding practitioners who want to really influence their talent audiences and add measurable value to growing and scaling modern businesses with HR marketing and employer branding.

The Building a Modern Employer Brand -podcast is sponsored by Employee Experience Agency Emine and scripted & hosted by Susanna Rantanen.

Find this podcast currently on Soundcloud and Spotify.

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