Company Career Site Is Most Important to Job Seekers

When U.S. college students and recent grads go looking for a job, they want quick answers, trustworthy insights, and evidence the employers know how to use the various social media channels to add value to their search.

So says PotentialPark, a Swedish recruitment market research firm. Its annual survey (U.S. results were not posted as of this writing) of 3,552 U.S. college students and recent grads found young job seekers are comfortable with social media and expect that you will be too. While 86 percent of them make use of company career sites, more than half (56 percent) expect to find a company on Facebook, and 69 percent expect you to be on LinkedIn.

What PotentialPark found when it audited the corporate career sites of almost 500 U.S. firms was that only 57 percent link to their Facebook page; 79 percent connect to LinkedIn or some other professional network. The career site itself, says PotentialPark, “rarely offers any interaction.”

That’s a mistake, considering 61 percent of the young job seekers say their reason for interacting with employers online is to get in touch with recruiters. (Other reasons that ranked almost as high were: finding interesting jobs (60 percent); building their professional network (55 percent); and, getting realistic insights and interesting background information (51 percent).

“No matter which channels they use,” says PotentialPark, “jobseekers want to find relevant information quickly and easily with no time wasted searching. Customized, target job offers (opportunities), email job alerts, and a way to track the status of their applications are high on their wish list.”

Says Julian Ziesing, head of research at PotentialPark, “Jobseekers in the U.S. have gone multi-channel. The question is, ‘Can employers keep up?'”

The answer is that some can. According to PotentialPark’s detailed analysis of 117 top employers, Accenture ranks at the top in online recruitment communication. It not only has the best career site, Accenture has the best mobile presence, and ranked 10th for its Facebook efforts. It’s on Twitter, has a career blog, and its LinkedIn presence includes employee testimonials, a video, and career path information for its global operations.

Accenture and several of the other companies that made PotentialPark’s top 30 list also appear on lists of companies rated for Europe, the U.K., France, and Germany. What they all have in common, says the market research firm, is that they learned from experience. “They have gone through a learning process that typically involves trial and error,” says PotentialPark.

Article Continues Below

They design their efforts from a job seeker’s point of view, leveraging the attributes of each channel for maximum value.

Much of what PotentialPark’s young job seekers said was important to them is echoed in a report on the candidate experience, issued last month by the Talent Board. The non-profit group of prominent recruiting industry leaders, manages the Candidate Experience Awards, which recognizes employers practicing “exceptional and exemplary recruiting, and hiring methods.”

Some of the companies on PotentialPark’s top 30 also earned recognition for their candidate experience. These include addidas, PepsiCo, Deloitte, and General Mills.

After reviewing some 11,700 candidate surveys, submitted by some two dozen employers, the Talent Board found the company career site was the only channel used by a majority of candidates. Direct contact, either via phone calls or email, was a primary communication channel for job seekers. LinkedIn was the most commonly used social media platform. Job seekers went their primarily for research, not for specific positions.

The whitepaper from the Talent Board goes into much more detail about the entire job seeker experience, including what happened when they submitted an application. (Some 40 percent reported hearing nothing.)

John Zappe is the editor of and a contributing editor of John was a newspaper reporter and editor until his geek gene lead him to launch his first website in 1994. He developed and managed online newspaper employment sites and sold advertising services to recruiters and employers. Before joining ERE Media in 2006, John was a senior consultant and analyst with Advanced Interactive Media and previously was Vice President of Digital Media for the Los Angeles Newspaper Group.

Besides writing for ERE, John consults with staffing firms and employment agencies, providing content and managing their social media programs. He also works with organizations and businesses to assist with audience development and marketing. In his spare time  he can be found hiking in the California mountains or competing in canine agility and obedience competitions.

You can contact him here.


9 Comments on “Company Career Site Is Most Important to Job Seekers

  1. John – great article! One of things I’ve seen as a major challenges to organizations who are trying to create a rich candidate experience is the Applicant Tracking provider. We (COMPAS Technology) did a similar study and found that the candidates that arrive at a disjointed careers site and or if application process is too cumbersome, the bounce rate (the number of candidates that do NOT finish the process) spikes. More about this can be found here:

    At COMPAS we’ve re-engineered our career site integration to be the most flexible in the market. Our client can integrate their COMPAS’s content management capability to display positions strategically throughout their site. Additionally, we’ve made the application process as seamless as possible. Our integration creates an excellent candidate experience and streamlines the application process. Additionally, throughout social integration our clients can share job openings socially and link that social message back to their website directly to the position. This allows our customers to receive reports on what social networks and job board yields the best results, allowing them to make informed decisions on what advertising channels work the best.

    Thank you again for the great article !


    Jack Smith | Creative Guy @ COMPAS Technology |

  2. I don’t mean to sound harsh or uneducated about the fact that the very best students will be highly recruited, but the ball is definitely in the employers court as it applies to campus recruiting these days. If there was a rush on students, then I think you may see some employer websites trying to do more to attract them. The reality is, however, the importance should be placed on the candidate going the extra mile in this situation as opposed to the employer. That said, the employer should stay up and react with recruiting/interaction trends.

  3. The career site itself, says PotentialPark, “rarely offers any interaction.”
    Interaction can take on many shapes and forms.

    Staffing for real-time interaction is a resource commitment few companies are willing to make. CareerXroads and the TalentBoard research shows most companies do not post recrutier contact information. When you look at LinkedIn profiles, recruiters often use non-company email.
    So, that leaves Chat, the infamous black-hole, or… a candidate experience that delivers interaction, testimonials, workplace values and culture insights. The application itself can be interactive, informative and evaluative.

    Being present on multiple platfoms makes access easy. But access and value are not the same.

    Candidates are decision makers too. Your online experience and application process should provide candidates with the information they need to make a sound career decision. Questions you might consider asking the candidate about how they interact with your career page include:
    Did you experience any problems with our on-line process? (Ease of use)
    Are you in a better position to decide if this job is right for you? (Educational)
    Based upon this experience will you refer others to opportunities here? (Exceptional)
    Please provide any comments on your application experience. (Evaluative)
    We wrote about our job seeker survey and contributed data and insights that went into the candidate experience monograph and provided some of the perspectives that fueled the candidate experience award.. Hold up the mirror to your candidate experience – apply.
    Read more job seeker perspectives from our survey. here.

  4. Interesting article and to be honest nothing there surprises me. The conversations may start on social media and elsewhere, but invariably the potential candidate will arrive at the career website to find out more.

    Researching your own employees is a good place to find out what is the most important factor of a career website and is something we do when designing and building career and recruitment sites. It hasn’t changed much in 12 years, but the following is what we have found to the top 5

    1) Jobs and in an easy to use job search – NO FORMS, let me browse (I don’t fill in forms to shop online!)
    2) Information on what it’s like to work for you
    3) Employee profiles & career case studies – Tell me the stories
    4) The recruitment process – what should I expect
    5) Keep in touch – Help me keep in touch, Jobs by EMail, Follow on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn etc

    There’s no reason why a career website can’t be interactive, but the first step is to give someone the Amazon experience and dynamically deliver relevant content – If they’ve searched for customer service jobs, let them see customer service employee videos and similar jobs in customer services. Let them read a customer service blog, don’t show them HR employees or the latest jobs in Procurement, its not relevant. If they search Google for Customer Service Jobs at Company X make sure your SEO has been though through so they land on the Customer Service Page, not on the home page where they then have to navigate or hunt for what they want.

    As @Jack Smith says – the problem is that the traditional career site is a brochure and an ATS car crashed together. Make sure the career website and ATS work in harmony, each doing what they do best. An ATS isn’t a career website and a Career website isn’t an ATS, they should complement each other.

    After running a lab on this at TruLondon we published the results.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *