RIP – Announcing the Death of the Corporate Careers Website

Five years ago someone asked if the adoption of social networks would lead to the demise of job boards. It was a great question, one that forced a number of people to ask: “Why would they? What value were they not delivering? How should they evolve?”

Today there are more job boards than there were five years ago, some of which are attempting to be more social, just as the social networks themselves are looking at how best to serve the employment space. While the job boards have demonstrated a steady pace of evolution, corporate career sites have not. Yes, the graphics are getting better and widgets here and there are displaying live feeds from social media sites, but in the end they serve up the same loathed experience they did five years ago.

Corporate career sites have never been compelling enough to capture an audience. Despite huge advances in content management, content aggregation/curation, and content sharing, most sites remain little more than a thin veil for the ATS-delivered online application. The always informative Doug Berg of Jobs2Web once shared in conversation that all research indicates someone desperately seeking new employment will ignore all content and go direct to whatever link is labeled with a variant of “apply now.” Knowing this, is it still worth it to build out pricy, glossy career sites no one is paying attention to when other avenues to apply are emerging?

I say emerging, because studies now show that about 20% of candidates find their opportunities via social networking, nearly 30% via employee referral, 25% via job boards, and another 10% via direct sourcing. On average, that equates to 85% of the external candidate pool arriving at the application from an origin point other than the corporate career site. Add to that university programs, event-based efforts, and occasional agency usage, and it’s clear the corporate career site is a questionable spend at best.

I’m arguing they don’t need to survive, and I don’t think those in the employment advertising world would be sad to see career sites disappear even though they are a huge source of revenue. The traditional career site costs a lot and is wrought with problems and shortcomings. Most career site development initiatives start out with unclear goals and an even more vague evaluation. If you’re interested at all in the future of recruiting, looking at the factors that are leading to the demise of corporate career sites might help you spot other “dinosaur” practices in recruiting and save your organization millions.

Reasons Why Corporate Career Websites Are Becoming Irrelevant

Article Continues Below

Just like job boards, some variant of corporate career sites will exist for years to come, but here are 20 reasons their value will continue to dwindle.

  1. There are superior ways to gather information — with the growth of social media, it is now much easier to find out what you want to know about a firm and its jobs. You can learn almost anything you want, including things an organization knows are true, but would never admit. Sites like glassdoor.com and jobvent.com provide an insiders view, and Glassdoor even provides you with a preview of the interview questions, interview answers, helpful tips, and what to expect during the interview process. Only a handful of corporate websites provide any description of what to expect during the interview. It’s even possible to find side-by-side comparisons with competing firms on external sites, something you’ll never find on a corporate site.
  2. Out of date with corporate HR budgets slashed, the design of corporate websites frequently remains unchanged for three to five years, during which there is virtually no content curation. The information on websites is painfully old, especially compared to the current information that is available on the Internet and through social media.
  3. There is nothing there for the non-job seeker — it’s no secret that 100% of the features and information found on most corporate career sites are designed for the “active” job seeker. Most career sites provide no value (i.e. learning best practices, becoming a better professional) for a working professional not searching for an immediate opportunity to visit.
  4. Authenticity — applicants want authentic and believable answers to their questions, and let’s face it, every word on a corporate career website is pure propaganda.
  5. The black hole — with a high rate of unemployment, the volume of resumes that a firm receives stresses the available resources. Because so many individuals apply for jobs they are obviously not qualified for, most recruiters are unwilling to spend much time searching the database of those that directly apply.
  6. They are referral killers the highest quality hire and volume of hires almost always come from employee referrals, a recruiting channel that is aided significantly by advances in social media. Research with early adopters of social media revealed a significant fact: when social efforts point contacts back to the career site your chance of conversion to an applicant are less than 1:10.
  7. They aren’t mobile friendly — a surprisingly large number of corporate websites cannot be accessed from a mobile device (the most powerful recruiting communications tool on the planet). Recruiting leaders that ignore mobile should be waterboarded. It’s unfathomable that creative agencies continue to leverage flash based navigation (invisible to most mobile devices) when HTML5 works.
  8. Honesty — potential candidates want to know about both positive and negative factors, but no one in legal or PR would let a single negative bit of information survive on a corporate-controlled site.
  9. Painful to lurk on — the abandonment rate (the percentage of visitors that leave a site prior to completing a profile/application) on corporate websites is 92%. Yes, you read that right. While most of the abandonment can be attributed to lack of compelling content and features, some of it can also be attributed to the huge gap in experience between career sites and other service-oriented commercial websites. The pictures are staged, the videos lame, and the news obviously written by an idiot. Absent are believable stories and compelling reasons why your organization is “different.” Zappos has learned how to tell stories on their site; you should check it out.
  10. Painful to apply for a job — often the process of filling out the application or posting a resume is painfully slow. (If I can custom order a new luxury car with hundreds of configuration options in minutes, why can’t I apply for a job in the same amount of time?)
  11. You can apply other ways — even if you decide to apply, you can easily apply for most jobs without ever visiting the site, because the same jobs are listed on numerous job boards.
  12. Many don’t have the features that candidates want — a significant percentage of corporate career sites lack blogs, videos, podcasts, and the live chat features that can often be found outside of the site.
  13. You can’t ask questions — career sites are designed for one-way communications. Corporations tell you what they want you to know. The best that most sites can do is to offer “canned” questions and answers, yet you can ask a variety of questions “live” and get answers on Facebook, Twitter, and Internet forums.
  14. Not global — in a world now dominated by global recruiting, most career sites are still primarily focused on the country and the language where the company is headquartered. Although jobs might be listed by country, the available information about the company’s facilities and jobs is likely to be painfully insufficient.
  15. Diversity is a joke although every corporate career site mentions diversity and has the obligatory diversity picture, most never provide targeted information relative to the specific interests and needs of diverse groups.
  16. Access to employees is not allowed — many corporate sites provide no employee profiles. However, those that do limit access and provide only one-way communications. None have the courage to provide the whole name of the employee being profiled and a means of contacting them.
  17. The job descriptions are vague — they are brief, incredibly dull, and they provide little information about the projects you will be working on and the team you will be working with. Most websites of course provide no avenue for getting more details about the job, the projects, or the team. If you don’t know the correct corporate job title for the job you are seeking, it may also take you an eternity to find the right job for you.
  18. No Amazon-like features — on a commercial site like Amazon, the visitor gets “prompts” informing you that others who have bought item A also bought item B. The “others like” feature if it was available could alert you about similar jobs that you haven’t considered and other information that you might not have viewed.
  19. Direct sourcing makes a website less necessary — as a higher percentage of corporate hires come from direct sourcing approaches (where recruiters proactively identify and target individuals), there will be less need for unsolicited applications.
  20. Uniformity and consistency drive away innovators — it is a common recruiting goal to attract the innovative and creative. Unfortunately, the level of consistency and uniformity is so pronounced on corporate career sites that anyone with an ounce of innovation or creativity in them will realize right away that this organization doesn’t tolerate variations and diversity. The words on the page might actually say innovation, but the monotonous page design and site layout sends a clearer message of massive corporate restrictions.

Final Thoughts

There are many defenders of corporate career websites, most of whom have a financial interest in their survival, but even they cannot ignore the overwhelming evidence that suggests the money spent on them might be better spent on other channels of communication/engagement. If you continue to buy into their value, you should be prepared to evaluate and prove their effectiveness at getting the people you need to apply to actually do so, because the vast majority of commonly used website metrics tell the opposite story.

Whether you acknowledge it or not, the glory days of the corporate career site are over.

Dr. John Sullivan, professor, author, corporate speaker, and advisor, is an internationally known HR thought-leader from the Silicon Valley who specializes in providing bold and high-business-impact talent management solutions.

He’s a prolific author with over 900 articles and 10 books covering all areas of talent management. He has written over a dozen white papers, conducted over 50 webinars, dozens of workshops, and he has been featured in over 35 videos. He is an engaging corporate speaker who has excited audiences at over 300 corporations/ organizations in 30 countries on all six continents. His ideas have appeared in every major business source including the Wall Street Journal, Fortune, BusinessWeek, Fast Company, CFO, Inc., NY Times, SmartMoney, USA Today, HBR, and the Financial Times. In addition, he writes for the WSJ Experts column. He has been interviewed on CNN and the CBS and ABC nightly news, NPR, as well many local TV and radio outlets. Fast Company called him the "Michael Jordan of Hiring," Staffing.org called him “the father of HR metrics,” and SHRM called him “One of the industry's most respected strategists." He was selected among HR’s “Top 10 Leading Thinkers” and he was ranked No. 8 among the top 25 online influencers in talent management. He served as the Chief Talent Officer of Agilent Technologies, the HP spinoff with 43,000 employees, and he was the CEO of the Business Development Center, a minority business consulting firm in Bakersfield, California. He is currently a Professor of Management at San Francisco State (1982 – present). His articles can be found all over the Internet and on his popular website www.drjohnsullivan.com and on staging.ere.net. He lives in Pacifica, California.

 

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62 Comments on “RIP – Announcing the Death of the Corporate Careers Website

  1. Whilst I agree with many of the points in the article I disagree that this means that the corporate career site should die. In fact I think it’s a depressing response to ‘why something usually doesn’t work’ to suggest we should give up.

    I have no personal interest in this recommendation. I am not, and never have worked for a recruitment advertising agency. My firm specializes in employee experience and applying marketing analyics into HR so we do work on the user-research part. I have, however, managed several global careers sites (both experienced and university level), built them from scratch, in multiple languages (including Japanese and Chinese). As part of this, and current work, I’ve done experience labs, usability testing, eye tracking and materials tests in the Americas, Europe and Asia. I’ve spent hundreds of hours with job seekers systematically studying how they really behave and why. I therefore reckon to have a pretty global view (and can say the US is a very specific market). The last few sites that I had responsibility had limited agency involvement, built in-house on the corporate CMS and using specialist skills where necessary. (They were also both the most successful and well-rated).

    First point is that the careers site has an important role to play in the overall system of recruitment and needs to be considered in terms of its role in the system. The key issue that most HR departments, and the recruitment ad agencies make is that the true use of a careers site is not to try to make people apply (they want to go straight to the search and therefore eye-tracking to refine placement is important) but to help people prepare for interview. Understand this and the careers site starts to look very different to the current ones.

    My research suggests that people give x minutes to researching the company pre-interview. They will try the web site and careers site. If you give them the relevant information there they tend not to go to sites outside your control. I remember doing a usability test with a head of finance from a competitor. He described that our careers site had better information on our approach to a certain type of hedge fund than his corporate one! That’s the information he needed and we had edited the site to make it easy for people like him to find it.

    Secondly you need to segment your audience. There are two really important ways: (1) Geography (2) Purpose. Geography is important because images need to be market-specific and different cultures have different interests. Show a Japanese employee to the Chinese (or vice versa) and they react negatively. More importantly though you need to produce a site to meet the needs of the users. The article talks in terms of referrals, social networking and direct sourcing. If these routes are important then you probably need to have edited versions of the site for each segment that meets their needs. Most CMSs will allow you to create various designs pulling in content frames. It’s not creating different sites but editing for the user, much like Amazon gives each of us a different home page based on what we’ve done in the past.

    For campus recruitment which has a predefined lifecycle the landing page really should reflect the actions users will want to do during the current period. When it’s roadshow time talk about roadshows, at intern application time content needs to be about interns.

    Finally, the ATS parts are usually the most problematic. I have yet to work with one which is anywhere near decent in its vanilla set-up. Again usability testing is needed and we recommend testing in advance of selection so rectification of ‘faults’ can be agreed as part of the contract. When things like the search function doesn’t work though you are going to struggle.

    To summarize:
    a) Research, research and research. Work with real users and use information to dictate your approach not pre-conceived expectations of (worse still) what your business competitors are doing. If you can’t (or won’t) afford custom research that meets your users at least look at good off-the-shelf reports like PotentialPark’s
    b) Understand the site as part of the overall ecosystem (and spot areas where you could tackle user issues).

    I can honestly say that each of these 20 points could be overcome / reduced with some focus on user needs and behaviours. Not having a careers site would be a clear ‘we don’t want to hire’ message. So if you need one it would be best to get it right.

  2. @John:It seems your view on (modern) career sites is hopefully outdated, since a good career site is the only centralised place to find information about the company, it’s people, environment and results (not just the vacancy). A career site will aggregate the relevant content from other platforms, so a candidate won’t need to go looking for it in the vast (online) world. The goal of a good career site is not conversion to applications: it’s goal is to give proper insight (context) and facilitate the right people to apply (and let the others decide for themselves this company is not right for them).

    @Andrew: I fully agree with you!! Audience segmentation is key (so your career site dynamically adjusts its content to the visitor), as well as the ATS usually being the biggest pain in the ass.

  3. John

    Lots of good points to consider in your list.

    The line between corporate site and career site has never been drawn straight.
    Your point of many ways to learn/gather data is so valid. The role of the career site owner might be to strategically manage what is found by resourceful seekers.

    Black hole, one way information exchange, and your clustered list of desired features are just evidence of the fast-paced nature of the web’s evolution. Keeping up with just evaluating the emerging options and holding back from fad chasing is resource consuming.

    Social Media is Not New
    I would venture to say that 30 years ago (pre-web), 85% of candidates were attracted by social media as well. While it may seen alarming, candidate attraction has not really changed. Social media was newspapers and employee referral. It is easy to assume less than 15% of candidates showed up due to a drive by relationship with the company. If I had my old candidate flow logs from the early 1980s I would have the stats.

    Social media has made it easier to find information, easier to apply and as such created the resume spam that clogs so many companies candidate pipeline.

    Oversourcing
    92% abandonment rate is a nice-to-know metrics now that it can be measured. What percent of people who looked at and considered a job ad actually applied?
    Applicant to hire ratios of 500:1 were unheard of in the 80s. Today they are more common. And the number of applicants suggest the barriers to apply you mention are not that daunting to the candidate and with ratios of that magnitude.

    If 92% leave and there are still massive candidate pools, it may suggest over sourcing, attracting far too many individuals

    Candidate Expectations
    We did a small survey of job seekers. They do not have unrealistic expectations and certainly want a few common courtesies that seem to have been overlooked in the blinding confusion of web based career hype versus candidate-focused help. Read what they had to say here.

    http://www.shakercg.com/blog/2011/03/candidate-experience-%e2%80%93-voice-of-the-job-seeker/

  4. Corporate career websites suffer from poor purpose and execution. The vanilla-box solutions have proven difficult to customize, and many companies simply don’t want to spend the resources to develop a strong career site.

    While all 20 points are areas of opportunity, the true fix is developing a strategy and plan of execution for a corporate website. If the purpose is to lead to hires, it has to be set up that way.

    Far too commonly, corporate career websites are used as sourcing tools and job notification/posting vehicles, but then they’re measuring for applicant hiring effectiveness without being set up to efficiently and effectively pull people through the hiring process.

    Ironically, I think the usefulness and credibility of the sites will jump dramatically the day corporations start using them in the recruiting process.

    It’s not so hard to add private session videocalling for candidates to reduce the burden of travel and commuting, especially for companies that tend to ask candidates to come for several interviews.

    It’s lack of imagination and bold thinking that has hampered corporate career sites, not the nature of the sites themselves.

  5. The King is dead. Long live the King.

    I agree that corporate career websites should evolve substantially to become more relevant to candidates but I believe they remain essential.
    Technology has and will continue to fundamentally change how companies can and should engage with and recruit the right candidates for them (including their career websites).

    The evolution came from the corporate career brochure to the corporate career website and the future is towards private and targeted corporate spaces — not the mass communication, one-size-fits-all, but rather the targeted and personalized environment for the key candidate pools the company is looking for (which is what we do for clients).

    The question I see is how many employers are proactive vs. passive in managing their candidate pipelines.

    Bilal Ojjeh
    Careernomics Group

  6. John

    It seems like you more argued the fact that most career sites suck and need a significant redo/facelift rather than explaining why you think they are dying. You said 85% of candidates “find” jobs through social media, job boards, referrals and sourcing, but good career sites certainly weigh into the overall influence, especially for hard-to-fills. We’ve recorded vast amounts of first hand data that a good career site has tremendous influence within the candidate apply funnel.

    Everything on this list can be addressed – easy implementation for some, some heavy lifting for others. Where do you think those “lame” videos are going to go if there is no career site? It’s going on the company Facebook page – so in this case it’s not the site that sucks, it’s the asset. Sometimes it has nothing to do with technology and more to do with a Recruiting Manager with little budget, vision or time to orchestrate a website project. User experience from the candidate side is the most important factor to consider in developing anything really, however in my experience it is commonly ignored because of internal politics, workload and short timelines. There is also the scary aspect of change. Like you said, most sites live in an unattractive, stagnant environment – so doing the same thing is easy, and safe. No one is going to lose their job over building something safe (and cheap). I can’t tell you how many times we’ve had incredible, innovative user experience build-outs shut down because “The CEO and I would prefer something else instead.” What is something else? – it’s what everyone else is doing, has done, etc.

    The career site sets the stage to do everything else well – social media, media buys, tracking, measuring, communicating, educating, helping, inspiring, explaining, SEO, etc….unless your career site sucks, just like you said.

  7. I don’t fully agree but I respect a strong opinion with a rationale as is laid out in this article. I think that if we lived in an environment where the majority of career sites were built to their full potential and continuously evolved to meet ever changing target audience requirements, this article might not be as pointed. But, there are not enough of those corporate career sites in existence. With many career websites serving as the creative wrapper and perfunctory content around the ATS, I can see the author’s point. I think that employers can actually view this article as a call to action and an opportunity to stand out by integrating many of these other engaging/two-way components the author speaks of into the career website. Integration is important and adds value to each separate online touchpoint. Also, the statement “The always informative Doug Berg of Jobs2Web once shared in conversation that all research indicates someone desperately seeking new employment will ignore all content and go direct to whatever link is labeled with a variant of “apply now” — I very much agree with. Unfortunately not many employers are able to meet their hiring needs with only people “desperately seeking new employment.”
    To author states that “there are many defenders of corporate career websites, most of whom have a financial interest in their survival” – full disclosure, my firm guides customers on the many ways of activating their employer brand and often times that includes social, mobile and career website solutions. Further disclosure, digital and especially career website development are my personal passion. But, our solutions are driven by employer needs, job seeker requirements and the market, and when career websites really don’t matter anymore, we’ll be ahead of that curve on behalf of our customers. My thoughts in light of Dr. Sullivan’s well written thoughts.

  8. John, great article as always.

    I didn’t know career sites ever had glory day. They’ve always been nothing but an online brochure or a branded content page which leads to the ATS.

    Regarding the future of career sites, I have to agree with you, there are a lot of different platforms and channels to spread job postings, but then again, how would employers address the needs of those more sensitive to the employer’s brand attributes (culture, green initiatives, workforce, workplace, training, diversity, etc…).

    The question becomes whether employers will keep chasing the unemployed or will revamp their career site to appeal to a higher quality candidate through a more engaging, more personalized, more integrated, more insightful, and more measurable communication strategy within the confines of their career site?

  9. I don’t subscribe to the author’s viewpoint at all. In this day and age I would expect most employers to have some kind of corporate careers presence online. Indeed, were I a job seeker, probably one of the first things I would do would be to make a list of target companies and see what they had to say about themselves and whether they had any live vacancies. And, given the fact that many job seekers aren’t overly caught up with analysing technological bells and whistles (granted we all make like for like judgments about websites, but at the end of the day to someone looking for a job it’s whether there are any suitable vacancies being advertised that matters first and foremost, an aesthetically pleasing,easy to navigate site is a bonus) but just want a job, i cannot see a day when companies decide not to bother having an online careers presence, ever.

  10. Corporate career sites should be the hub of the organization’s recruitment communication strategy.

    Granted, few organizations are really maximizing this potential, but an effective career site addresses different target markets with compelling and appropriate content, engages the user, develops and builds a talent community, includes job listings that have been search engine optimized, short compelling videos from real employees that sound sincere, information about the application process and the interviewing process, hiring and recruitment manager blogs and more. And subsets of this content, including the job postings themselves, should be syndicated or distributed to job boards, social media, search engines, campus websites, diversity group, and anywhere else that will help the organization communicate effectively with their target audience, while tracking the results. Social media should be leveraged for the things it does best, just as you do for any other outlet. For example, your company’s Facebook page can be an effective place to include your job listings, and for your recruiters to speak directly to potential job seekers, sharing the results to benefit others. Content on the corporate website can be auto-tweeted to feed Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. Job listings can be automatically distributed. And certainly, you can add a mobile app, to alert interested candidates to new content including jobs–in an app branded for your company.

    So, if you had no corporate career site, you’d have to develop content for each site independently, and track results independently. You’d miss the opportunity to both build a significant corporate asset and to understand the overall effectiveness of each channel, in favor of helping to build a job board or social media asset for someone else. And that’s why I don’t think they’re going away.

    I showcase some best career site practices on my blog at http://netadvertisingsolutions.com/blog/

  11. Thank you, Dr. Sullivan. According to Gerry Crispin (https://staging.ere.net/2011/03/17/referrals-lead-social-media-thrives-job-boards-survive-as-hiring-source/) 18.8% of hires of the survey companies came from career sites as opposed to only 5% from direct sourcing.

    A modest proposal: instead of proprosing to scrap career sites, perhaps it might be better to improve them by carefully studying and implementing the views of the people who actually use them: the applicants and the recruiters.

    As an applicant: I want to see the job, send in my resume knowing it won’t go into a black hole, and go away.
    As a recruiter: I want everybody to see my jobs, answer no more than 30 seconds-1 minute worth of qualification questions, and (ONLY) if they qualify to be able to quickly send in their resume where I can easily find it.
    As either applicant or recruiter: I don’t need “bells and whistles” a compelling story, videos, etc. I need things to be quick, easy, and efficient. Is this too much to ask?

    Cheers,

    Keith

  12. Amen, Amen, Amen! In guess you didn’t figure it out already, I couldn’t agree more.

    Many of the responses have not been in favor of killing the career site all together, but I think it begs the question of “what exactly is (or will be) a career site?” The current variety described in the post is clearly not the direction things will go. It requires a total rethink.

    The reality is that most companies need a simple interface to get the candidate into a rapid and easy application process … that is it. I believe that the career site of the future will more resemble a “culture site” not highlighting (or worse … listing) jobs, but rather provide a portal for candidates who have been referred or sourced to go for information on the company, hiring process, its people, research and interview prep, etc. Really, a place to get educated on life at XYZ Company. In essence, the “application site” and “career site” will be disassociated with the application site being fully stripped down, fast and easy to use/navigate; the career site being the marketing and education community builder for your potential talent. The first step is to stop orienting around the application.

    Greg Moran, CEO
    Chequed.com

  13. @Keith you really want things to be Quick and easy? Do you wake up in the morning thinking ‘hey, today ill get myself a new job at company x!’ Offcourse not. Applying for à job is an intense process, involving many decision making steps and usually quite some time. So Quick and easy is a bonus: nothing more. A bad application process is mostly irrelevant (since once you’ve determined you dealt want to apply here, you’ll settle with quite a bit, even upto multiple page forms or having to wait a couple of days. The application process will only be a dealbreaker of you Really screw up.)
    It’s far more important to make someone feel welcome, or handled seriously if turned down.

  14. We are going through a sea change of evolution that will effect all activity in HR and Recruiting. The very term Human Resources dictates this when compared with the humanistic “social” in Social Technology. With the huge shift that has taken place in the economy, the workforce and consumer relations due to the Social Web, these changes will continue effecting HR for years. The Career section of a corporate website is merely one of them. You only have to review the Sodexo, PepsiCo, Zappos, OPower (and others) career sites to learn the changes that John mentions.

    As we evolve, I would bet that the company story tellers and engagement team will gravitate to a separate website area from the application career section as companies begin to realize that they have been missing 2/3 of the workforce with their focus on active job seekers for the last 60 years.

    John is right to say that change is not coming – its here, and Social Web engagement that is an every day occurance in all other industry sectors – is a giant wave that is just beginning to wash over Human Resources (ie – Social Relations.

  15. @ Patrick: Actually as a contract recruiter, I do something pretty close to this. As to making me feel welcome: quick and easy does that just fine- it says to me that if they make it user friendly to apply, it will also probably be user friendly to recruit. Conversely, a company that makes it hard to apply, has a convoluted, slow, and bloated hiring process for me, says that my job will likely be rather frustrating. Recruiting should not be frustrating to either the people being recruited or the peope doing the recruiting work.

    @ KC: As far as storytellers and engagement team-members are concerned: better not make them the same ones who fill immediate positions -we don’t have time to long-term develop relationships. Also, I find very few companies have the bandwidth (aka, “willing to spend the money and hire the people to do the work”) to have the long view.
    I’d LOVE to develop a pipeline- anyone want to hire me for a year to do it? Meanwhile: IBG, YBG- LHT! (I’ll be gone, you’ll be gone, let’s hire them!)

    Cheers,

    Keith

  16. Hi Keith! I agree that many of the thousands of companies that will want to be competitive will need to have a separate “team” to tell the story and engage. The 4-5,000 companies with the resources to do so (Pepsico, etc.) will increase their HR/Recruitment and Social Relations staffs to accomplish this and they are already doing so.

    For the few hundred thousand other companies out there with 500 emps or more (and the big companies that want to outsource it), there are HR Tech vendors lining up to offer services to assist in this effort. The successful ones will be firms that provide a vehicle for collecting and telling the “stories” and will find the right balance of teeing up the “engagements” with the amount of time a company mgmt can provide. Incidentally, this engagement “time” will be a success only if it replaces the current time already spent on hiring – mostly the inefficient time that doesn’t move the recruitment needle forward…let’s see, anyone want to nominate phone screens as the first activity to replace? Is there a bigger time waster out there…

  17. We all need to remember that at the end of the day recruiting is an economic process designed to facilitate economic business goals, nothing more. So the question is always purely one of inputs vs. outputs, both short and long term. In order to facilitate those goals we need to decrease the inputs and maximize the outputs (that doesn’t always mean catering to applicants (as mentioned above 4 recruiters talking to 12 000 candidates doesn’t make any practical sense, in an ideal world they talk to only the ones they are going to hire as the others have been screened out by some automated process, thereby freeing up company resources to focus on other priorities).

    There are a lot of things to consider here:

    1. Not all jobs are equal, the difference between hiring for a senior engineering position in a specialized field and hiring for an entry level call center rep or fast food cashier are radically different, you can’t apply the same values to those alternatives, in the case of the former they’ll probably never need to come looking for a job from you because they’ll be in high demand and have a steady stream of job offers, in the case of the later they’re probably begging for work and applying for anything they can get, in neither case does a fancy career site make sense, but in the later case having some kind of site where the applicants can apply is important, fortunately, implementing such a system is both inexpensive and easy and will allow the processing of information in a way that will make it easier to process down the road thereby decreasing the corporate inputs

    2. Aside from having a place where applicants can apply and a method of processing those applications as efficiently as possible it is important to state that you are in fact hiring and what positions you are hiring for since this will act as both an attractor and a qualifier, again, this is relatively easy to do and can help with the screening process as you can allow applicants to apply for specific jobs, which makes comparing their credentials to the requirements a lot easier

    3. If you’re relying on your website to be your employment brand then you’re already in trouble, a website simply won’t be an employment brand, it can be an advertisement, a nice list of propaganda, but then again typically retention can be traced to alignment between candidate expectations and reality anyway so including a bunch of propaganda doesn’t make much sense, what you can do to build a slight employment brand is to reject the candidates kindly by using an auto-responder to at least communicate a “thank you for applying”, etc. so they might get minorly engaged, not feel ignored, and again, it’s inexpensive and easy (ideally, part of this process will ask them for referrals and engage them with the company in some other way)

    What else might be included to both decrease the inputs and increase the outputs?

    4. Assessment tools – not only are they engaging and fun (And under used on corporate pages) they can help give a good idea in advance whether a candidate will fit with a particular or with the company in general, and of course again the auto-responder can be designed to give positive suggestions “we don’t think there’s a great fit for this position, but based on your assessment it seems as though you’d fit very well in *insert direction here* and would suggest you might look into those types of opportunities”, heck, you can even include self-assessment tools where they disqualify themselves “are you MCSE certified? no? unfortunately we can only hire people with this certification, if you’re interested in working here this might be a schooling direction you’d consider, if you do persue it please let us know as we’d love the chance to work with you if there was a good fit” (this gives the candidates the added feedback of knowing why they were rejected and how to do something about it and saves the recruiters some time, and fish for referrals “if you know anyone who is MCSE certified they might be a great fit for our company and we’d appreciate you suggesting us to them, please click here…”)

    Fancy features and nice but do they drive economic business goals? Does the company have a problem with too few applicants? If so are those positions that need filling the types where the applicants would realistically be generated through the website or does it pay to be more focused? With unemployment running at over 10% in the US the majority of low level positions are going to be easy to find applicants for, it’s the high end ones where candidates are highly experienced and skilled that pose the problem and is the career site really the make it or break it factor in those cases?

  18. I agree wholeheartedly as I recently experienced a self-serving corporate job board, and the most accurate comment I could make was that it was just simply rude.

  19. @ Michael: Well said.
    @ Rusty: Aren’t most of them that way?
    @ Everybody: Please send me sites that you think are good for either canddates, recruiters, or ideally both.
    Let’s see what the reality is……

    Cheers,
    Keith
    Keithsrj@sbcglobal.net

  20. Keith – Here is a recent review of 21 Career Sites that perform well (mostly small tech and social media companies by the way…) published by JobVite – you need to give your contact info to get it…but who doesn’t have that by now anyway… 🙂

  21. I agree with Joseph Murphy in that social media is not new. And I also agree with Kim Peters regarding how corporate career sites should be the hub of the organization’s recruitment communication strategy.

    As the use of media by prospective candidates goes through various adjustments, one constant appears to be true; the use of today’s mass media as well as niche career media will be changed and possibly surpassed by new media habits in the future.

    But no matter how media use changes, the need for a tool to convert qualified candidates into aspiring applicants to be committed to working for a specific entity is mandatory. For recruitment, currently with the prevalence of internet access through desktop/laptop computers the tool for converting applicants to employees is the corporate website. As mobile and tablets becomes more prevalent a corporate app replicating the features of a corporate career website will be just as valuable.

    But the bottom line is that employers should rely on all types of media including social media to generate applicant flow and to reinforce their employer brand through a form of implied endorsement from the media brand, but the conversion from a interested inquiry into a invested loyalist for an employer brand should be maintained and enhanced by comprehensive content available on a company’s own employment job board.

    Today’s use of social media is similar to the use of USENET discussion groups in the mid-90’s but on a larger (mass consumption) scale, just as utilization of other legacy and new media has grown and fluctuated through other periods of new media introductions and adoption by the general public.

    For example the growth of broadcast television in the 1950’s and 60’s followed by the small entry of cable television in the 1980’s followed slowly, but constantly by increasing market penetration by cable television networks, which therefore contributed to decreasing market share but still relevant market share by the broadcast networks is similar to how media usage is changing today. But the changes will not stop today. Today’s social media will become legacy media at some point with all of the attributes of media with invested with an aging brand and infrastructure. Five years from now we might be placing a new media, such as (for lack of a better name) “Virtual Interface” as the media platform overshadowing the potential and performance of social media.

    But when any advertiser, for product, services or employment, want to convert and close a prospect into a customer, client or employee, no matter which type of media generates the candidate, advertisers will always benefit from the advantage of having their own conversion tool. In the case of recruitment that will remain for the foreseeable future to be the equivalent of the corporate career website. The tool may go through adjustments and enhancements, but no company should allow their own brand from being diluted and overshadowed by not having their own unique marketing tool.

  22. This is a great discussion. I enjoyed your article John and the responses to it. I’d like to build on Alasdair’s comments and also mention a 2010 study by Jobs2web, quoted in the WSJ. See: http://tiny.cc/e2k1r – “For Job Seekers, Company Sites Beat Online Job Boards, Social Media”.

    The advantage in going directly to the corporate website is that it’s not so crowded with other job seekers. My understanding (and some stats that Employon shared with me a few years back) suggested then that many employers don’t post jobs beyond their websites to avoid getting overloaded with applicants. The Jobs2Web study seems to support this too.

    So, if I’m a job seeker, I might care more about identifying jobs on sites less trafficked, than being able to get answers to all my questions which I can research in other ways (LinkedIn, Glassdoor etc.) The advantage of the corporate website to job seekers is the opportunity to target companies of interest and to research them, including reviewing their career sites to identify their hiring needs alongside their news and shared business objectives.

    Pam Grosicki
    @pamgrosicki

  23. @ Mike: Thank you for your comment. You clearly have done a great deal of work/research on this particular topic.
    Unfortunately, as I am of limited intelligence, I do not understand the point you are making. Please re-state it more simply.

    Cheers,

    Keith

  24. Bottom line, quite simply, social media or most any other media platforms will not replace the need for a corporate career website. Media will enhance an employer’s overall connection to prospective candidates as well as current and alumni employees, but to rely completely on media without your own collateral component (be it traditional printed brochures or a corporate careers website)is short-sighted.

    I highly recommend that each corporate entity sustain their own brand management and manage the conversion of inquiries. Mass media and niche media companies can generate interest and curiosity in your company and reinforce your reputation with their own level of public trust, but then you want to generate your own rapport with the prospect, not rely on the media maintaining the relationship.

    In the past recruitment conversion was limited to phone calls, traditional (snail) mail or in person meetings. Then in the 90’s response to and from candidates became more expedient with email. Then the evolution of corporate websites began starting primarily as simple electronic brochures(replicating the content and format of printed brochures) to then becoming comprehensive with interactive tools enhancing the ability for recruiters to create their own rapport with candidates within their own online environment.

    I believe corporate websites or other corporate branded components (i.e. apps and whatever might become practical and relevant in the future) should not be considered dead, unnecessary or unproductive.

    To have social media, or any other form of media become responsible for maintaining brand equity and providing a sole response mechanism can be counter-productive; in fact could be very risky.

    Social Media along with other newly-emerging media as well as legacy media can contribute to brand reputation and recognition as well as create candidate generation, but cannot provide an environment which can purely reflect a company’s own message, image and demeanor in an uncluttered manner.

    Communication theorist and educator Marshall McLuhan in the 1960’s predicted there would eventually be an electronic global village. His prediction has become realized. He also observed “The Medium Is The Message”. Therefore with today’s media technology, publishers, broadcasters and internet conglomerates have a large share of the public’s attention, but communication companies no longer have a monopoly on the public’s attention.

    Therefore if you agree with McLuhan and others that “The Medium Is The Message”, why would you walk away from the opportunity to maintain your own medium in whatever is a practical scale for your company and therefore your own message?

  25. Mike – you are clearly passionate about this…I would direct you to think about two things. One: 66% of the workforce never or rarely go to a career site. Two: about 95% of all Career site visitors do nothing at the site.

    Based on these two metrics, you may want to consider that mostly people who go to career sites are active job seekers who need an easy to use place to apply for a job. Sure the branding helps to get them there, but what about the other 66% of the workforce that has a whole lot of people that can grow your company’s business? They are not going to go to career site – so you need another place to capture their interest. Regardless of the medium – it needs to be some place other than the career page (obviously Social Network sites are ideal for this, like Facebook).

    I’m aware that this is a bit radical for some to accept…but market research bears this out – and anyway, everyone knows that HR is loathe to make any changes so only the most progressive will – until it becomes a stampede and then they will all do it. Dr. John has been nipping at their heels for a decade and more to nudge just this type of change among others. With the huge cultural shift through the acceptance of Social Technology norms, I have a feeling that the stampede is about to begin!

  26. I agree that many career websites are not creating compelling environments to attract applicants who will aspire to work for specific companies during some point in their careers.

    I agree with Keith when he said earlier in the discussion that…”instead of proprosing to scrap career sites, perhaps it might be better to improve them by carefully studying and implementing the views of the people who actually use them: the applicants and the recruiters.”

    Career websites need to be treated more seriously by companies of all sizes in attempts to attract impulsive, passive, prospects as well as active job seekers.

    Media, including social media, other newly emerging media and legacy media can reinforce employer brand reputation and recognition as well as create candidate generation. But after media creates interest, the career website must properly represent the sole employer and contribute to the conversion of the individual from a curious inquirer to a qualified prospect and possibly at some point in the short or long-term into a new employee.

  27. @ Mike: So, you’re saying that career sites shouldn’t be junked. That sense.
    At the same time, companies can’t completely control their brands anymore.

    ISTM that anyone who says that a particular method will completely replace other methods is being very foolish and short-sighted. As an example: when client server technology came along, there were predictions that it would totally replace mainframe technology, and when web technology came along it would replace both mainframe and client/server. Well, those earlier technologies still exist, perhaps not in a dominant position anymore, but still strong. Another example: we still need analog electrical engineers, not just digital ones, and the good analog people do very well indeed.
    My suggestion: ask your recruiters what resources they need to get good candidates quickly and cost-effectively, and proceed accordingly- one size does not fit all.

    Cheers,

    Keith

  28. Companies cannot control or manage their reputations, but they can use tools to contribute to the dialogue and influence how they are perceived. And they should use tools that are the most demonstrative and tangible.

    The use of video is pertinent in regard to that issue with the biggest online growth currently documented by comScore as that of video. The only site which grew in traffic last month according to comScore was YouTube. Not even Facebook grew last month. Over 43 percent of the total US population now view online video ads.

    But online video acceptance and usage is only one of the issues we are watching while helping our clients maximize the return they receive from their recruitment advertising budgets.

    You are completely right in that media is not the foremost issue, but media (from newspapers to social media to corporate career websites) must be utilized in a manner to meet the objectives of recruiters, talent acquisition directors, business unit managers and corporate executives.

    The priorities which are foremost should be to create capacity and productivity by maintaining a functional workforce.

    One option for achieving cost-efficencies and expediency is to pre-educate prospects so that when the recruiter first has contact with a prospect the recruiter does not have to start at square one and introduce the values and culture of the company.

    A good prospect is a qualified, pre-sold (even if only partially pre-sold) prospect.

    A good recuiter is a great sales person taking the opportunity to close the candidate. There is no harder sales proposition than that performed by a recruiter.

  29. This article articulates many valid points about the demise of corporate career sites. I especially agree with the point that diversity is more of a sound bite than a true commitment for most companies. Job seekers should try looking at the many job sites available with job listings tailored for minorities: http://www.wesleyan.edu/crc/students/career_exploration/library/diversity.html
    Additionally, it’s true that there are so many superior ways to gather information online. It seems a little pointless to engage in the corporate agitprop when the entire internet is available. Besides Glassdoor and Jobvent, the site http://www.CareerBliss.com also features company reviews with interviewing tips from former employees.

    It’s very true that job boards and recruitment sites have leap-frogged their corporate career site counterparts in terms of technology. Regardless, I agree with the comment that corporate sites definitely need to include a career section because otherwise they’re sending the message that they aren’t hiring.

  30. A really interesting article with lots of passionate comments – I personally would rather see the title as How does the Corporate Career Site need to evolve to stay relevant! (prob quite a long title…;o))

    As a software vendor of Talent Community platforms that sit behind a career site I am in total agreement with John regarding the faceless, non emotive environ that is the current model and businesses should now be reflecting how they are communicating with their customers in exactly the same way as communicating with their jobseekers (afterall with transparency these days – every jobseeker is a potential customer – unless clearly if you build nuclear missiles…)

    At Tribepad our thoughts are about using the career site in the same way as we would use a Facebook page/ Linked in company page, Twitter account – a driver to explore more / apply for jobs / consume content – all this happens within the jobseeker community NOT on the career site.

    We are also great advocates of the “amazon” experience and actually use similar technology to “show” a candidate things like 56% of the people who have applied for this job also applied for this one – jobs can be rated /shared /commented on. The ability to ask questions in an open environment through forums and also more privately through direct messaging also gives the jobseeker the ability to engage with a brand in a way they haven’t done previously.

    The yellow brick road of the passive candidate is also taken care of with the ability to sign up to the community and given skill/geography/current job title you can be grouped into Talent Clusters enabling your profile to be seen by a hiring manager (maybe for a job in 6 months time) – in the meantime there are plenty of resources to a) help you understand the brand and b) understand the opportunitites within your chosen skill set.

    Candidate experience is a huge thing and companies should not be blasé to this fact – corporate career sites should evolve into Talent Community career sites – our elixir is that someone who doesn’t get a job with the brand still goes away having had a positive experience and has positive perception of the business – if not the businesses hiring strategy will ultimately fail (a death by a thousand cuts)

    Lisa Scales
    CEO
    Tribepad

  31. @KC Donavan: where do get the figures “I would direct you to think about two things. One: 66% of the workforce never or rarely go to a career site. Two: about 95% of all Career site visitors do nothing at the site.” Could you give me a source, since I really don’t recognize these figures.
    Maybe the Dutch Recruitment market is different (I’d almost say more mature); in NL it’s safe to say that ALL applicants visit the corporate website at one point ore another, either to apply (most applications go via the own career site nowadays, fewer via jobboards), but more importantly to gather information about the company.

  32. John you are the master of the head fake. Great conversation on the plight and mixed value of Career Sites by posing that some dire outcome is imminent.

    I think we eventually (10-20 years from now) will look at the rise of career sites during the 90’as one of the first attempts to morph from a cartoonish/print brochure view of life in a corporate environment to the [still elusive] goal of full transparency (not the corporate goal but certainly the job seekers goal).

    In the last decade employers added visual components to their career pages in order to bolster the fatally flawed text-heavy job descriptions. These video diaries and virtual job shadowing sketches as well as a few seriously researched simulations with entertainment as well as selection values should be acknowledged…where they are truthful as a significant change in kind.

    Employers also appended to their corporate career sites in the last few years any number of social media/interactive capabilities ranging from recruiter blogs and real-time FAQs to info webinars featuring hiring managers and talent community options to ‘stay in touch and talk’….all attempts to open a dialogue with prospects, develop longer pipelines and engage a broader audience of both passive and active job seekers. All with modest return.

    The future will see an escalation of what is happening now- the re-distribution of career site content and interaction (both good and bad) to segmented audiences vis-avis multiple channels…career sites being one but not nearly as central as it was.

    The reason for this ‘channel approach’ is that the people who employers seek are shifting their methods of receiving info…Facebook and mobile being two obvious changes. Simple as that. (When a company looks at delivering content via mobile they can’t use the same framework as their career site.)

    The continuing problem of course is that most of the content still misses the mark since it has nothing to do with career sites and everything to do with a growing interest among job prospects who are learning they can make better decision for themselves if they can:

    – map the compensation growth of people who take a position the employer is trying to entice them to apply for.
    – see the profiles of the manager whose job is open, her team and the recruiter responsible for the position before they apply
    – talk to a person in the company who they really have a legitimate affinity with before they apply
    – study the profiles (sans names) of the last two applicants who succeeded in competing for a similar position.
    And so on and so on.

    None of which is willingly provided by employers today. And all of which is available and waiting for someone to develop as an ‘App’

    It’s not the career site. Nor is it Social media. It’s the quality of the conversation. You can do it well or poorly in any medium…Career site or not.

  33. Yet all data is saying that college students are developing a list of target companies and going straight to their corp career site (a practice I think is great if you are google but terrible if you are a cool but less known company).

    I have been a candidate myself recently and I can tell you that it has humbled this Director of Talent Acquisition. While all these niche boards, aggregators, etc. may seem really fabulous to us on the corporate T.A. team, I can tell you , we have created a nightmare for candidates who just want to know what jobs are open and where. Used to be all the ads were in your Sunday paper. If you wanted a job in another state, you went to a store that sold out of state papers. Then came Monster and Careerbuilder and it was still pretty easy. Today, I have to maintain a presence on dozens of job boards, aggregators, linkedin groups, yahoo groups, corporate websites, social media and referral networks. I get a hundred emails a day ( many redundant to the point of pain) not to mention 25% of the postings are actually filled when you click on them. And let’s not forget you have to be a boolean guru to build the strings to get you the appropriate results.

    I am a fairly sophisticated Talent Acquisition professional and I can barely keep up. So I ask my peers this: WHAT WOULD SOMEONE NOT IN THE TRADE DO IF THEY HAD NOT LOOKED FOR A JOB IN THE LAST 3 YEARS?”

    Think about it. Mush of the job-seeking population hasn’t the first clue of how to decode this universe and we as the professionals are only developing more ways to make it ever more complex.

    How many candidates are we missing out on because they just don’t know about or have the time to wander this labrynth?

  34. The point I was making was that people who are NOT actively in need of a new job – the far majority of workers – do not visit corp. career sites, let alone other third party career sites. The largest job board on the planet, Linked In, averages only three minutes a visit per week for their users (IPO data), a very telling number indeed… Unless the door is easily opened and welcoming to passive career consumers, they will continue to tactically approach their careers and avoid dealing with us like the plague unless they absolutely have to. Should we be surprised? For the past 90 years our industry has conditioned the talent marketplace to do just that with our focus on applicants and active job seekers. Someone who is merely looking around usually gets their head bitten off or worse – so they stay away.

    The several points Gerry Crispin made sound great if any companies were actually using them. The number of companies that actually employ any of the advanced tactics he makes seem so commonplace (inter FAQs, blogs, Talent Comm., etc.) is less than ½ % – as the majority of the 375-400K firms with 500+ employees don’t support an ATS or other Talent Mgmt technology let alone get involved with Social Technology. Mr. Crispin’s point about introducing a new app providing a wider view of an actual opening is a fine idea, but still is only helpful to the active job seeker. The majority of people are not happy in their current jobs (JobVite says 74% are open to a new opportunity), yet they stay instead of having to deal with the mess of an experience as Gina Cleo Bloome points out in her post preceding this one … For our industry to come out of the dark ages, we need to embrace the conversation Mr. Crispin mentions and not just engage – but start these conversations and keep starting them so the social change that is sweeping America will not pass us by once again…

    Patrick – you might be confusing all Applicants with all Workers… Study after study consistently points out that 2/3 to 3/4 of the US marketplace are passive career consumers (Google the topic and pick your source). In other words, they don’t look for jobs, don’t visit job boards and don’t visit corp. career sites. The other metric about the low number of people that take action when they do visit a career site comes from a few sources, most recently Jobs2Web client data.

  35. I have to agree with some of your views but I wonder if you might change your opinion (in part or full) if more businesses adopt a similar strategy to what has been implemented at G4S – http://careers.g4s.com – register as a candidate and spend some time exploring the logged in environment to see and understand the total experience.

  36. @KC: Point of clarification-
    “Study after study consistently points out that 2/3 to 3/4 of the US marketplace are passive career consumers (Google the topic and pick your source).”
    Does this mean that this percentage of the workforce isn’t actively looking at any given time? What does “actively looking” mean?

    Does anyone have more detailed information as to how this breaks down across occupations? (Some occupations may be more “active” than others.) If we had this more detailed information, it could help us determine how best to approach particular types candidates- you might use a career site for one type, SM for another, big in-person events for a third, and so on. (We already have info as to how/where big companies hire from, thanks to Gerry C. and Marc M.)

    Cheers,

    Keith

  37. Hey Keith – the point is that as an industry we are not attracting the entire workforce for employment consideration. There is a leap of faith that if we put out an interesting job ad that all workers will consider it…this is obviously false. The far majority of the talent mgmt. industry (excluding the small TPR recruiting arena which is anywhere from 6-10% of the market) has been consistent in only working to attract those actively seeking employment mostly through advertising. In average years, this makes up about a third of the workforce.

    My point is that 100MM workers (US workforce is about 150MM is size) are typically left out of our placements. If career investment efforts can be made to be less like a trip to the dentist (no offense) and more like the exciting, rewarding and exhilarating activity it should be, more of the workforce would participate. That’s it…

    To answer your question – the active and non-active job seeking part of the workforce changes constantly based on professional frustrations, terminations/RIFs/layoffs and relocations – among others. The percentages of the workforce effected remain constant for the most part.

  38. @ K.C.ISTM though, that much effort (at least here on ERE) is concerned with the top 10% of people in any area that we fawn and drool over and hope that our humble job offerings and may deign to smile on us and our companies. Here is a recent comment which reflects this:

    “The best (top 10%) people in their fields/niche laugh at these reports… Become the best you can be, and create your own economy…”

    The remaining 90% seem to be considered little more than parasites of the productive and rightful elite, who should at best be ignored and at worst crushed underfoot.

    Right now, there are 4.6 applicants for every open position. Until millions of decent-paying jobs are created, recruiting will be pretty much a zero-sum game: “robbing Peter to place Paul”. In other words,
    we shouldn’t try to get everybody involved with a job search until we have a hell of a lot more decent jobs for them to work in.

    -kh

  39. “Much of the job-seeking population hasn’t the first clue of how to decode this universe and we as the professionals are only developing more ways to make it ever more complex.”

    Never a truer word were spoken! Job boards, recruiter sites, corporate careers sites,online versions of trade and national press, Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin etc. etc., with varying theories flying about on a daily basis about the merits or otherwise of each – the poor jobseeker must be tearing their hair out a lot of the time.

    As far as corporate career sites are concerned though, it is a nonsense to suggest they will die out. It’s like going into a motor dealership and asking for a brochure only to be told “oh we post the specifications on social media sites now”.OK, maybe that’s a rubbish analogy, but it;s not far out. Every organisation should have a dedicated careers site or section of their site. Indeed, whenever I write anything recruitment oriented for an organisation, the first thing i tend to do is visit their corporate careers site to get a feel for the style and tone they use and glean some of the information about them that I can perhaps use in the copy I am writing for them. I certainly don;t fish around on social networks looking for information about them. That would belike looking for a needle in a haystack. Why go third party when you can go direct? It’s just common sense, but as the person in the quote above said, we seem to be developing more ways to make recruitment ever more complex when in fact it could and should be quite simple.

  40. A voice noticeably absent from this post article conversation is Dr. Sullivan. I wonder if his intent was to get this conversation going. Well played sir.

    At the end of the day, it’s all about your recruitment target audiences’ motivating factors, requirements and preferences. Whether that’s a social media-based connection, a targeted relationship marketing campaign, a hiring event, an enhanced career site, mobile, push/pull programs, less passive outreach, more active outreach, no outreach, combination of all or some, etc. … that’s what employers need to do to assimilate to their specific target audiences (and don’t forget your employees!). Let’s identify how your specific target wants to be communicated with then let’s do a great, measurable job of it. And continue to evolve it as dictated by your audience.

    JZ

  41. This post has generated some great comments, and I’m happy to see that on the whole there’s a strong feeling against the perceived death of the career site. Many of the points put forward by Dr Sullivan seem to equate to a wish list for a more dynamic and functional career site – well as has already been pointed out on here by others, this is most definitely achievable now!

    Even the point about the rise of direct sourcing is not something I find valid, as one of the first places a large number of directly sources candidates (and certainly those sourced in an online fashion, e.g. via LinkedIn) will turn to is the career site to see what it’s like to work at this prospective employer.

    A modern career site powered by a robust, flexible and dynamic content management system can not only answer a lot of the problems identified above, but should be the central support to all content driven social media campaigns, including blogs, video, staff and job role overviews, as well as providing great visibility and extra traffic through SEO optimisation.

    We felt so strongly against this post in fact that we wrote up a response which outlines just how good a modern career site can be – I hope you’ll take a quick look!

    http://www.4mat.com/blog/the-career-website-reborn-blog-11611015294

  42. Thank you, Gareth, You have thoroughly and thoughtfully articulated a useful perspective. ISTM that a “good career site” from a job-seeker’s perspective need only have accurate, easy-to-find-, easy-to-appply job descriptions of open, real positions- ALL the open real, positions. Much of the other information:
    1) Isn’t necessary until they get an interview- THEN they can research the company.
    2) Shouldn’t be trusted unless objectively and independently verifiable- it’s marketing hype/corporate propaganda.
    3) Probably doesn’t include some of the most important aspects of the job/company there- pay range, complete benefits, true perspectives on the company from folks who aren’t carefully selected to give an “honest” viewpoint.

    Cheers,
    Keith

  43. This argument is flawed in the US as it applies to compliance issues like OFCCP and Affirmative Action. While I agree that the corporate job board is not the main place where candidates “find” jobs, it’s still a vital part of the employment, recruiting and corporate branding effort.

  44. I think that a careers site offers one place to have all this information in place. Having different pieces of information which are of relevance to the applicants scattered across the net in fact makes it harder for applicants.
    True, some of the features mentioned are idealistic. In reality and careers site needs to be managed while still having time for other recruitment activities.
    The unfortunate truth is that very minimal effort is being put into sites which do provide little value.
    Corporate Careers sites do play a very important role, even more so that ever but a bad site is still a bad site.

  45. Interesting response Keith and one which I think takes a bit of a cynical view of the content on corporate career websites and to be honest one which I don’t expect to be shared by the majority of traditional job seekers.

    Place yourself in the shoes of your typical job seeker, not the Holy Grail passive candidate, but one of the millions of people who are highly motivated to find a new job; a Customer Services Exec for instance. As with most important life decisions and in line with the modern world we live in, they will often turn to Google as one of the first sources of information (they probably haven’t heard of Glassdoor, or are unlikely to use Linkedin – at least not in the first instance – They are probably on Facebook though).

    As with most of their online activity they will put in search phrases which will deliver relevant results. Over 75% of all job seekers will start their journey in this manner. Invariably this will be a search phrase which includes their job title or job type and location. The same approach most people take when they are going on holiday or looking for a house.

    Unfortunately the majority of corporate career sites won’t appear and the vacancies are even less likely to be found, as their vacancies are effectively hidden in the ATS, never to be indexed by Google (or if they are not for a phrase that would be searched). Recruitment agencies and job boards with good SEO appear high in the results, so the active job seeker applies for ‘Corporate Jobs’ via job boards and recruitment agencies.

    Taking your view that the candidate just wants to find vacancies quickly, the following steps can be taken. Step 1
    is essential, step two the ideal

    Step 1 – Provide candidates with easy to find vacancies and well written adverts (not the same as a job description). In order to do this the adverts need to be on a website designed with the user experience in mind, with strong dynamic SEO, which automatically creates the search engine friendly url, Titles, Meta and H1 tags. In reality this means an effective search which allows a visitor to quickly find a suitable vacancy, one which typically replicates the modern online retail experience of browsing. The ‘old school’ form based search used in most ATS integrations is very outdated and has been shown in usability studies to frustrate candidates.

    Step 2 – Provide supporting information. You may not, personally, believe the corporate ‘hype’ that is displayed, but I think you need to credit the visitor a level of intelligence, which allows them to read between the lines, in the same manner as they do when buying a car or the latest LED TV.

    If the Corporate Career site has been developed so that content can be linked, these pages can be dynamically managed, with supporting information automatically displayed, which is both relevant to the user and changes based on their activity. Think Amazon rather than traditional static brochure website. As Gareth says this could be videos, blogs, news and other similar vacancies. All elements which help not only enhance the employer brand, but also help a candidate decide whether to apply for a job.

    A corporate career website which acts as a content engine (I include vacancies as content) attracts candidates through search engine optimisation, because of the links between vacancies and supporting content. The corporate career website should be at the heart of your social media, integrated using standard ‘Share This/Add This’ on all pages, including vacancies, as well as ‘two way’ feed functionality to update ‘relevant’ social media sites. This will support the pro-active work carried out by the Resourcing Team.

    Interested candidates then arrive on a ‘landing page’ which is relevant and provides clear navigation to other relevant areas, increasing engagement and the quality of candidates converting into motivated applicants. Look how many links lead straight to the ATS web portal, often without any navigation to the main career site (sometime even the company name or logo).

    Whilst Social Media is an excellent medium, it requires considerable effort – not to mention talent to manage – and a well optimised, dynamic and engaging career website will deliver ROI in the same manner that a good recruitment agency websites deliver significant revenue streams. Revenue streams which are generated from…..you’ve guessed corporate organisations.

    In summary the corporate career site is evolving, focussed on the user and blends marketing and design with technology.

    Have a read of the my blog, I would be interested to hear your thoughts.

    http://www.4mat.com/blog/the-career-website-reborn-blog-11611015294

    DJ

  46. Fantastic Article – could not agree more with your comments especially about the ATS systems. There are blogs about how horrible these ATS systems are yet companies continue to use them – they dont work well so why? I dont know – great blogs from the talent you are trying to recruit here. What ever happened to people to people human contact?

    http://aplombpronto.wordpress.com/2009/01/06/taleo-tool-of-darkeness/

    Executive Summary: If you are applying for a job, and you get to a site that says “Powered By Taleo” close the site and forget about applying for this company.

    I believe the only hope is to work for smaller companies which do not use these systems. Do you really want people with at least 2 advanced degrees doing data entry work and getting frustrated on your complex store bought buggy web system and then figuring – “hey this company must be a buracratic mess no human will see it anyway – I dont think I will fool with it” and simply exit out? Corporate recruiting sites especially in most of the larger companies are terrable.

  47. David, I read your blog and I think to move the corporate websites to 2.0 or 3.0 or even 4.0..we should go boldly FORWARD into HISTORY when it actually made some freeking sense – how about “here are our openings” – list them, then “send your resume to xyz@company.com” then an actual human would recieve it maybe (god forbid) even the hiring manager?!?!? Then they would look at the resumes and pick the ones they wanted to…and this is a big one.. call on the phone and talk to. Then the ones they like they can(get ready) – call them in for an in person intervew and then amazing standby… -hire the one you believe is the most qualified. Its a brand new concept – it worked well in the 60’s 70’s and 80’s and most of the 90’s before the web. now we have completly lost our minds so we should go back to what worked so well for I donno a hundred years or so and maybe more when we listed openings in the newspaper and knew what the hell we were doing – somewhere along the line we all lost our minds (lawyers?) and the process makes no sense anymore. but the candidates all pray our bedtime prayers at night – lord please let it make some sense – please.

  48. Kevin, Lovely blog and made me chuckle. It doesn’t have to be that way either. Taleo already has a job posting feed to Equest so easy to post to a website direct or via Equest, rather than use Taleo’s vacancy search, with zero usability and no search engine optimisation. Its what we’ve been doing for years with recruitment systems and thankfully employers are beginning to realise this.

    I do agree that one of the issues is the personal touch, which is where I started in the early nineties. A job add, phone and post. The problem is that technology now makes it easy for spam applications, so you need something to manage the applications. Doesn’t mean that people should forget ‘good process’ and best practice.

    DJ

  49. @David:
    Perhaps I’m projecting my own disillusionment and cynicism of the altruism and benevolence of major American corporations onto a majority of the 18.2% of the U.S workforce that is underemployed (http://www.gallup.com/poll/125639/gallup-daily-workforce.aspx), but it may not be too unreasonable if I do. I also think it not unreasonable that a majority of jobseekers want to be able to quickly and easily find real jobs with accurate descriptions that are quick and easy to apply to and which they have a reasonable chance of actually being hired for. They probably don’t really care about developing a relationship with a company or hearing about it on a video, Facebook wall, or tweet of perky, attractive 20-somethings mouthing on how great it is to work there. They want a fair shot at a decent job, and unfortunately there aren’t all that many around for those who could really use them, as opposed to the “Fantastic 5%” that are always being drooled and fought over here.

    Cheers,

    Keith

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