Wowing Them On The Web Getting Passive Job Seekers To Visit A Firms Job Web Page

The best workers to recruit are probably also the best workers at the company they already work for! Unfortunately this means that they are probably well treated and are not actively looking for a job. As a result, they probably would not visit anyone’s job web page. Other content, employed performers look at “having to visit a job site” as an admission that they are not well connected and that they have slipped into mediocrity. Putting it simply… they require an excuse to visit a job page (other than the fact that it contains job opportunities). Much like the old adage of men that say, “I read Playboy magazine for the articles!” we need to give non-jobseekers a convincing reason to visit the “forbidden” job page. Savvy firms have learned to use subtle techniques to get employed non-joblookers to visit their page on a regular basis. It takes time to build a relationship with the non-jobseeker, so techniques that encourage them to visit a site are essential to start this relationship building process. A list of possible features can be found in the next section. Finding Out What Will Attract and Keep Them at Your Site: Many web developers “wing it” when it comes to finding out what triggers a non-jobseeker to visit a job-related site. The best use a combination of market research techniques and continual data collection. Start with a profile of your target candidate. What skills do they need to have; what experiences; where do they work, and what are their identifying characteristics? You need these so that when you connect with them, your page can treat them “special.” Next, through focus groups with current employees and selected passive job seekers, you can usually begin to identify the factors that trigger their initial visit. By offering small incentives to every “1000th Visitor” that fills out a detailed profile you can get more information about why people visit, why they stay, and why they abandon a site. For example research shows that one tried and true technique is to do something on the page that “WOW’s the targeted person’s friends.” As their friends spread the word that this is a “must see site” non-seekers will visit just to see the WOW’s. Famous examples include “the dancing baby,” Cisco’s friends, the “boss button,” SGI’s Microsoft interview questions AND answers, and Microsoft’s self-assessment feature. Company Specific Web Features:

  1. A virtual tour of the facilities
  2. Videos of speeches by top officers
  3. Profiles of the exciting projects, equipment, challenging environment, learning and growth opportunities applicants may have (with video clips) as an addition to traditional job descriptions
  4. Meet the managers and their style of management videos and information pieces
  5. Videos illustrating our culture and values
  6. Profiles of key team members with video clips
  7. A “people like me already work here” feature that will allow you to search to see if people with similar backgrounds, interests, and education work at the firm
  8. A chance to see how many people “like me” (with a similar background, college, country, etc.) work there
  9. A WOW list of great things about the company (ex. – on site gym, a woman CTO, product awards, etc.) and a virtual tours to see them
  10. Profiles of the key products and key customers
  11. Lists of the firms’ alumni that have gone on to fame in government or have become CEO’s
  12. An e-mail/phone tool to “make a friend”/relationship with “an employee like me”
  13. Recent patents and technology advances
  14. Recent press releases
  15. Articles that mention the firm or our key employees
  16. Video clips from TV shows featuring the firm and it’s employees
  17. Graphics showing stock/market share/profit growth of the firm
  18. Video comments from college hires (from their college/or recent hires) on why it’s a great place to work
  19. Affinity groups, sports leagues, and other quality of work life features (video and list of events)
  20. Copies of professional presentations given by key employees
  21. A list of the competencies the firm/industry sees as essential for future success
  22. A opportunity to join the friends/partners of our firm which allows people to begin a long term relationship with the firm (someday you will work for us)

Web Technology Features:

  1. Quick abandon/Bail button to keep the boss from seeing you looking at a job page
  2. Sending automatic “push” information (about the firm, its products, and open jobs)
  3. Allowing the candidate to create an anonymous e-mail address in order to receive “push” job positions
  4. On line pre-qualifying for positions. By pre-qualifying applicants (sometimes without their knowledge) so that you can treat them “special” and speed up their hiring cycle
  5. Personalization/customization. By immediately showing that a web site “morphs” (as a result of a easy to fill out visitor profile) to fit the visitors individual needs and interests piques their interest and shows them that individuals matter at the firm. It also gives the person “something to talk about” to their friends.
  6. Instant/personalized feedback to my questions that encourage visitors to stay connected
  7. On-line simulations/video games to assess your technical skills
  8. WOW graphics
  9. Free software
  10. It’s fun and gives me a WOW within 1 minute and gives me a new WOW every 5 minutes
  11. Q & A format rather than requiring a resume
  12. It builds up my trust by not pushing job openings so that it doesn’t scare non-job seekers and allows them to build a continuing relationship with the firm
  13. Interactive features that ask me what I want (my interests) and it responds in real time

Learning and Information Features for Web Pages:

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  1. “Push” information to them on happenings in our industry
  2. Speeches made by industry leaders on the future of the industry
  3. On-line interest assessment (and suggested jobs and career paths)
  4. Technical chat rooms for idea exchange (a listserver is also an option)
  5. Articles by leading practitioners on “hot topics”
  6. Surveys of the hot issues in the industry
  7. Glossary of key industry terms and buzz words
  8. Best places to work lists and industry “rankings” lists
  9. Lists of company sponsored seminars that are open to the public
  10. Lists of upcoming industry events
  11. Web links to the leading industry on-line publications
  12. Table of contents of the leading industry journals
  13. Miscellaneous business, humor, and sports news (or links)
  14. Projections for careers and salary possibilities for different industry career tracks
  15. Online mini-courses
  16. Product discounts
  17. Forecasts of industry trends
  18. Profiles (who’s who) of industry leaders and guru’s
  19. Tools that help me do my current job better/improve myself

Other Functions of Web Sites: Most web sites are no more than job posting bulletin boards that have been automated and put on the web. Only a few visionary firms (Cisco, Microsoft, SGI and World.hire are leaders) have begun to go beyond the job listings and resume capturing features. Some emerging tools and strategies include:

  • Keeping top applicants informed about their progress in the selection/ interview process through a password protected web site
  • Capturing applicant tracking and EEO information for legal purposes
  • Attaching on line applicants to the relevant requisition number and headcount category
  • Capturing “names” of visitors that can be added to our relationship recruiting list for future communication
  • Well done corporate recruiting sites also can help sell our products and build customer relationships so they should be coordinated with and linked with product sites

Possible Problems: Some firms are reluctant to let outsiders know who their star employees are and what things a firm offers an applicant for fear of being raided or copied. Although such things do happen, firms that are confident that they are offering a great “deal” and that are continually improving realize that their best people and benefits already get a great deal of press and exposure. By continually re-recruiting their web featured employees firms can minimize their risk of losing them. The WOW’s of your effort will be more than rewarded with a better firm “brand image” and an increased quality of their recruits!

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," 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 and on He lives in Pacifica, California.



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