8 Steps to Fixing Your Awful Recruiting Website

PrintI need you to do a little homework on my company’s website before we talk about yours. The purpose of this exercise is for you to gain some perspective on the transition we’ve made from a product-focused site to a people-focused site.

Clicking on this link will take you back to my company’s website circa 2006 before we revamped it to focus on attracting new employees rather than solely promoting our products. Now go to Jameson Publishing and check out its people-focused design.

Designed for prospective customers, our old site was all about our products. Our new and improved site still serves customers, but its main purpose is to inform and entice prospective candidates.

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Implement these eight techniques to ensure that your website attracts candidates:

  1. The home page should loudly promote your people and your company’s achievements. In 2009, Publishing Executive magazine listed Jameson Publishing among the “Best Magazine Publishing Companies to Work For” in the United States. To ensure that every candidate who visits our site knows we’re a top employer, that honor had held real estate on our home page for almost four years. That placement works. One candidate mentioned to his buddies during a poker game that he was interviewing with us. His friend looked up our site the next day, called the candidate, and asked, “Did you realize you’re interviewing with one of the best companies in America? Don’t blow it!”
  2. Don’t make candidates jump through hoops to contact someone. From any page on our site, visitors can click Contact Us to obtain our phone number and office address. The Contact Us section also has a prominent Submit Your Resume link. There is zero ambiguity regarding how a candidate can communicate with us.
  3. On nearly every page, include photos of smiling employees. What does a proud parent do when you meet them? They show you pictures of their kids. If you’re proud of your employees, show ’em off. Hire a professional to take posed photos — it’s worth the couple hundred bucks — plus grab your digital camera to snap casual photos of employees at company events. Not only will the photos make your company appear more personable to candidates, current team members will be happy to be featured on your website.
  4. Be clear. Eliminate jargon and industry-specific acronyms that could confuse a potential candidate. Ask friends who know little about your organization to identify terms, phrases, and concepts that aren’t 100% clear.
  5. Don’t be shy about selling site visitors on why they should work for your company. We created a page titled Reasons You Should Work Here. It afforded us the chance to talk about our world-class employees, friendly work environment, company stability, superior compensation, premium benefits, professional growth, and comprehensive training programs. Some of our sales reps earn more than $100,000 a year. Why should we keep that a secret?
  6. Spend a little money to ensure that your site is professional. If you know how to turn on a computer, you can launch a website. But just because you can doesn’t mean you should. Don’t cheap out and save a few hundred bucks by anointing yourself company webmaster. Find a competent partner to help you launch a professional-looking site. Choose a Web platform that gives you the ability to change the site as necessary so you don’t have to outsource updates to a third party.
  7. Keep your website up to date. In my company, an employee reviews specific pages on the site each month to ensure that the data is accurate. The area I’ve seen most neglected on company websites is the list of current job openings. Open jobs aren’t listed; filled jobs are still being promoted.
  8. Proofread your site. If a co-worker doesn’t have this skill, find a low-cost, highly skilled proofreader online. Nothing screams second-rate company more loudly than “Qulaity Is Are #1 Goal!”

The goal of these recommendations is to ensure that visitors to your site not only are aware you have job openings, but believe you are a desirable employer. Within 60 seconds of landing on your site, every visitor should feel genuinely excited about becoming part of your team and your unique culture.

Jim Roddy is the president of Jameson Publishing and author of the book “Hire Like You Just Beat Cancer,” which features hiring lessons, interview best practices, and recruiting strategies for managers through the perspective of a cancer-surviving executive. For more information on the book, go to http://www.HireLikeYouJustBeatCancer.com.


14 Comments on “8 Steps to Fixing Your Awful Recruiting Website

  1. I think you forgot to mention a huge oversight and gap in career sites, mobile optimization. The vast majority of computing will happen on smart phones or tablets in the near future and if you haven’t optimized that experience, you are going to turn off a lot of people.

  2. Chris – you beat me to the punch!

    Right now something like 30% of all job seeker traffic starts on a mobile phone. Certain industries see as much as 50% of job seekers viewing jobs on a mobile phone. Without a good mobile solution allowing the job seeker to apply, mobile job seekers hit a BRICK WALL!

    Chris and Jim – Are you investigating or implementing any mobile solutions at this time?

  3. This is a great list and I absolutely agree that mobile is the next frontier for recruiting. It may take recruiters beyond optimizing sites and on to creating (or buying) apps as well.

    I think it’s very important that there’s a big, clear “Submit your resume” link. I’ve heard from candidates who hate it when they’re sent to a third-party site where they have to register, fill out lots of fields and checkboxes, upload their resume…and then ALSO copy and paste their resume. Those third-party sites aren’t branded to your company, so the candidate can feel very alienated by the experience. I understand why companies use them, but I wonder if driving candidates crazy is worth the convenience.

  4. Thanks, Jim. An additional goal should be that for any prospective applicant on any platform:
    No more than 90 seconds to find posted jobs, and no more than 90 seconds more to apply to them.


  5. Thanks, Jim. An additional goal should be that for any prospective applicant on any platform:
    No more than 90 seconds to find posted jobs, and no more than 90 seconds more to apply to them. Immediate acknowledgement of application


  6. Jim,

    Nice post. Great to see employers taking the candidate experience seriously. Since a vast majority 75%, of candidates never hear back, how about a promise to respond in a given time frame?

  7. As Jay suggests there’s a 9th step = Make sure your ATS is not a “black hole” where resumes go to die.

  8. This provides a great start to helping companies improve their corporate career site. I would add, among other things, that companies should never post jobs on their site in PDF format unless they want to be completely invisible on the web.

  9. @ Jay:”how about a promise to respond in a given time frame?”
    That would presume that most employers care, which they don’t- they don’t have to…


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