Your Best Marketing Tool For Candidates ? Your Company Web site

Last Sunday, while traveling in New England, I read an article in the business section of the Providence Journal that exemplified my beliefs on the importance a company?s web site plays as a marketing/sales tool to attract potential candidates. Briefly, the story discusses a young woman who went to the web site of a major rental car company to research pricing for an auto rental she was considering. She saw that they had a career section on their site and ?passively? browsed over to it. What she found was an interactive section that was informative, engaging and had photos of people like herself. The end result, she is now an assistant manager at one of their facilities. By the way, at that particular time she did not end up renting a car. In this instance, the young woman was not actively seeking a job. The information on the web site encouraged her to explore careers with that company. Cost per hire ? as low as it gets. The article also pointed out instances where candidates that were considering submitting a resume to a company chose NOT to submit based on what they considered poorly done company web sites. The Internet has become such a primary resource for information that a company?s web site is now considered ?the primary window? to the company. A poorly designed site or one that does not have an adequate career section is now becoming a negative in the eyes of good candidates. Candidates seem to be most critical of web sites of companies in the technology, marketing or advertising industries. They feel that if these companies do not have a great web site they must not be a great place to work. Any size company can have a great career section on their web site. It doesn?t take a huge budget. Here are a few tips:

  • Must be easy to find: Prominently place a Careers button on your home page. If the button is clearly visible, site visitors will click on it (both active and non-active job seekers).
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  • Job listings are easy to navigate: Very large companies have hundreds of positions available. The easier it is to navigate the section to find the ?right? position, the better the candidate flow will be. Larger companies should have some type of search engine allowing keyword searches.

    Smaller companies without as many positions should have the positions listed in easy to follow links. It becomes very confusing when the position descriptions are all listed on one very long page.

    Companies that are not in a position to host and maintain a searchable directory of jobs, should consider outsourcing that portion of your career section to one of the larger job boards or to a site like joboo.com. All of the larger job boards offer this service and it is a great way to provide a top quality searchable database without developing the technology internally.

  • Keep position listings updated: Outdated positions or new positions that do not get posted in a timely manner ultimately creates more work for and projects a poor image of the company.
  • Thorough job descriptions: Job descriptions should be thorough; clearly communicating the role the person will play in the company or on their team, responsibilities of the position, and the required credentials. Job descriptions with simply one or two lines outlining required skills does not give the candidate enough information to decide if it is the type of position in which they would be interested.
  • Credentials submission is easy: Provide several alternatives for candidates to submit their credentials. Allow them to provide a text attachment, create a resume online, copy and paste a resume, or simply submit a paragraph about themselves.
  • Discuss your culture: Tell potential candidates what it is like to work at your company. Use ?a day in the life? format or interviews with employees. Let candidates know why they should want to work for your company. People have lots of career choices these days and you want to give them every reason on every occasion to choose your company.
  • Outline your benefits: Give a brief review of the types of benefits you offer. Include such things as medical, dental, tuition reimbursement, training opportunities, paid time off etc? These are commonly asked questions so you should have them posted on your site.
  • List recruiting events: If you are planning to have a booth at a career fair, having an open house or planning any campus events have these listed on your site.
  • Provide a diversity recruiting section: Most large companies have formal programs in place to attract a diverse population. Highlight these programs on your web site. List special diversity events that you have planned.

I?ve reviewed many company career sections and there are plenty of great ones from both small and large companies. Of the large companies two great sites are: PriceWaterhouseCoopers and Texas Instruments. Both of these companies provide extremely comprehensive career sections, prominently placed employment button on the homepage, easy submission process, information geared to the campus hire and much more? Candidates visiting these career sections can feel good about the detail and level of attention paid to providing a positive career search at their site. On the other extreme, there are several start-ups whose career sections I like. While these two companies do not have a searchable database of jobs, the layout of their positions is very easy to navigate. The first company is Nextengine.com. This is a start-up company that does not even have a product out the door yet. The mission of their web site in its current form is to attract people to work for them. This site does a great job of marketing the company as a place to work without even describing the products or services they plan to provide. The position descriptions are thorough and not only describe what the candidate will be doing but also describes the type of individual they believe will be most successful in each position. There are separate sections on culture, work/life balance, company benefits and FAQ?s. The site is simple with lots of impact and positioned to be attractive to a job seeker that wants to work for a start-up with a good mission. The second small company web site I like is that of Magenic Technologies. Not only do they have a careers button prominently placed on the home page, they also feature ?hot jobs? on the home page. They have a section titled ?What it?s really like? where they present quotes from employees representing the top 2 or 3 reasons why they like working at Magenic. The employee comments are highly motivating and depict a company that offers challenge, opportunity and a great environment. The best way to assess your web site in comparison to your competition is to ?be the job seeker? or to have someone you know and whose opinion you trust ?be the job seeker?. Compare your career section to your competitor?s. How easy is it for you to navigate the site? How much information do you have to help you make the decision to submit your credentials? Is the site engaging? Does it motivate you to want to learn more? Is the resume submission process easy? Does it help you understand what type of people work at the company? While there is much, much more I can discuss about marketing your company as an ?employer of choice? via your web site, I hope these few tips help you evaluate where you are now and where you need to be.

Karen Osofsky (karen.o@tiburongroup.com) is a co-founder of TiburonGroup.com, an e-recruiting consulting firm that provides outsourced recruiting solutions to rapidly growing companies and new ventures. The firm provides a broad range of recruiting consulting, sourcing, screening, and strategy development services to help companies manage the front-end recruiting process. Tiburon Group is a Certified AIRS Solutions Partner.

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