In Part 1 of this series, we looked at the importance of the corporate careers website as the centerpiece of a corporate sourcing and recruitment branding strategy. It was noted that many organizations do not have a sense of how effective their careers sections are at meeting their recruiting goals. We examined some offline methods for getting feedback, namely through web statistics and focus groups. Here, we’ll look at some of the more dynamic online feedback techniques that can help you capture important data from real visitors to your site. Feedback Forms Feedback forms are easy to implement. They can range from a “catch-all” email to a form with highly focused questions. A feedback form is intended to be a permanent, ongoing fixture on your website and voluntarily selected by the visitor. The simplest form is an email link that can be accessed from the main career page (and other pages) with something like, “Give Us Feedback,” “Tell Us How You Liked The Site,” or “Comments Welcome.” This email can go to a central email address that is administered by someone in your web, recruiting, or communication teams. The disadvantage to using this type of “suggestion box” approach is that the results are hard to categorize or summarize and will take a long time to compile. An open email could invite everything from a technical comment on a broken link to a question on the salary for a particular job opening. If your goal is to just give the visitors an open forum to express any idea or issue, then the open email will meet that goal. However, managing answers to ad hoc questions could be an administrative nightmare and become a full-time job. On the other hand, if your goal is to gain more objective data on certain details of the career site or application experience, then a “structured form” should be used. It’s best to have questions with pre-defined answers, keeping open-ended questions to a minimum. Results of these forms can be summarized and output from a database to give the recruiting department and web designer specific details about the site. Examples of some general feedback web form questions are:
- How would you rate your experience with finding the information you need? (scale question)
- How would you rate the content of the information you needed? (scale question)
- Was there anything missing from the site that you needed to know? If so, what? (open-ended)
- What information is most important to you? (choices of various sections or links)
- Would you visit the site again and/or recommend to a friend? (Yes/No)
Pop-Up Surveys Unlike a web form or email, pop-up surveys are used primarily for a set duration for capturing information during a feedback campaign on the site. Similar to marketing research techniques, a pop-up survey can be used to gain data just for a few months or only pop-up when a particular action is taken on the site. Pop-up surveys are displayed on a non-voluntary basis to the visitor. Once presented, the visitor still has the option to close the pop-up window and not complete the survey. Examples of triggers that cause the survey to pop up could be when the visitor leaves the site, clicks a certain link, or completes an action like applying for a job. An excellent one for the job application is to pop up a survey (sometimes called a “Drop-off Survey”) when the applicant decides not to complete the process to the final page. Pop-up surveys will help meet the goal of gaining structured feedback in a short period of time or focusing feedback just on one action or feature on a website. There are many vendors, such as Zoomerang and Insight Express, who supply services to add pop-up surveys to websites and compile results. Many consumer product companies and advertising companies have their own versions of these types of survey tools as well. Embedded Job Questions If your job application process already includes job-related questions or you have a convenient place to insert a page of questions in your apply-online process, then embedding some feedback questions can help you gain insight into the application process itself. This audience of “job applicants” reflects a specific subset of the overall visitors to your careers site and therefore can provide valuable feedback on this important activity. If you already have job-related questions presented to the job seeker, then keep feedback questions limited to one or two. Also, these questions should be presented at the end of the application process so the job seeker can respond from his or her overall experience. A few samples of questions that could be embedded into the job application process are:
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- How would you rate your overall experience in applying for a job with us? (scale question)
- Did the time to apply on this job take longer or shorter than you expected? (Shorter/About the Same/Longer)
- How easy was it to leave relevant job information like a resume or answer questions? (scale question)
- Thank you for taking the time to fill out our on-line job form, please give us any comments to improve the experience. (open-ended)
Once your organization makes an effort to collect and analyze feedback through both online and offline techniques, then you will be in a better position to make decisions on your overall careers section. Feedback can be used to execute a “makeover” project for your careers section that could include one or more of the following improvements:
- Adding information such as “How to Apply” or “Where is the company located?”
- Changing the apply-online process to be quicker, to include more details, to be easier to leave a resume, to remove redundant steps, etc.
- Providing better searching abilities for job lists.
- Improving instructions, buttons, or text cues on the site that help the user navigate better as well as adjust the tone to be friendly and inviting.
Did you ever visit a company website that looks like it was put up in 1999 and never changed? Unfortunately, after gathering and analyzing feedback, and doing a careers section makeover, the next step is to repeat the process all over again. Several small adjustments may be possible to make within a year, while major overhauls may take over a year to plan and execute. In either case, changes with the economy, job seeker behavior, web and other technologies require that reviewing and making adjustments to your corporate careers section be a perpetual need into the future.