Originally published in March 2009.
One thing that’s always bugged me is the so-so usability on the employment section for websites for major companies (I won’t say which ones ). I think it’s fair to say that changes/optimization for some career sites have taken a back seat to revenue-generating initiatives such as optimizing e-commerce check-out pages. And, of course, this is a good thing to focus the time on what is really making you money. However, your career site is still really important to your long-term strategy for several reasons, including: (1) ensuring a consistent flow of applications/resumes from job seekers, (2) it can be a first-step job seekers see in the employer brand experience. Below are 6 things (in no particular order) that your company can be doing to better optimize your career site from a job seekers’ perspective .
#1.Outsource your talent site to someone else
Partner with a credible and responsive vendor that specializes in talent management solutions such as Taleo. Companies like Taleo focus specifically on career portals , allowing you to focus your time on what you do best, growing your business. Also, credible vendors have invested time in usability studies and site analytics to know what works well for visitors and what doesn’t. Going this route ensures you are not reinventing the wheel, assuming it is a cost-effective measure. Check out Taleo’s webcast from August 2008 on ensuring your careers-section is web 2.0.
#2. Track your talent site using your own analytics tool
#3. Measure task completion rates for your visitors
Understand the user-tasks involved with your website and setup your analytics tools to measure accordingly. Some user-tasks or goals for your career site might be:
- Visitor # 1 coming from a job-search site such as Monster and wants to apply to a specific job on your site. The visitor has already read your job description and already has good reasons why he or she wants to work for you.
- Visitor #2 is researching your company for an upcoming job interview. According to research cited from Taleo, the careers section is often the first point of interaction for job seekers doing company research.
- Visitor #3 is interested in learning about open positions at your company and applying to them. He or she may want to spend a lot of time at your site trying to find a good fit.
Okay, I admit #1 and #3 here sound very similar but their end goals are probably a lot different. Visitor #1 already knows what job he wants and just wants to apply and move on (remember, he’s already read your job description on Monster.com) while visitor #3 wants to see what’s there.
So, let’s measure those processes. For visitor #1, setup a marketing funnel to track the job application process. On some career search sites, you might be supply specific campaign tags from your analytics vendor or even a page tag for the hosted job posting.
#4.Analyze click-stream data to discover when visitors are not completing tasks
For all site visitors who look like visitor #1, find out if there are specific pages that visitors are dropping off. Does your application process require 7 full-pages worth of forms to fill out? Is there a front-end form validation that requires a phone-number to contain special characters to move forward? Determine where visitors are falling off and make these tasks as simple as possible to complete.
# 5. Determine the value of your employer-brand pages
Wikipedia, citing Minchington, defines employer branding as
“the image of your organization as a ‘great place to work’ in the mind of current employees and key stakeholders in the external market (active and passive candidates, clients, customers and other key stakeholders).”
This sounds really good to me as it’s important to communicate the reasons why other folks are wanting to work for you. Some employers are using a variety of pages specifically designated to illustrate the employer brand value proposition. Pages for this can include: benefits pages, employee testimonials, and mentions on popular press on being a good place to work.
But, what are the values of these pages? You can use web analytics tools to determine some of this. One thought might be to use survey tools such as to determine the values of these pages. Do visitors think these help them in completing their goals. I might be reaching, but I also think the metric average time spent on page for some user tasks can be an indicator of the value of a page. For visitors with the goal of #2 above, which is researching your company for an interview; one would think viewing these pages would be very important.
#6.Measure the satisfaction with visitors coming to your career site.
Okay, there seems to be a consistent flow of visitors to your site and visitors are completing the steps in the task, but are they satisfied with the overall experience? Why not just ask them with surveys. One approach might be to use the 4q/iperceptions method to ensure visitors are satisfied. Other options that come to mind include Opinionlab or a home-grown solution.