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Career Website: When Style Meets Substance

Stacey Shaw January 26, 2021
Career Website: When Style Meets Substance

It’s a candidate-driven market, and job seekers can afford to be a little choosy when it comes to where they apply. That’s why you want to stand out for all the right reasons—not because you’re sporting a decade-old web design.

Let’s face it. Appearances matter. What you wear says a lot about who you are, and you can say the same thing for your company’s career site. If your site looks outdated or unpolished, you may not get a second chance to make a good impression. That’s why, in this post, we’re talking about some website essentials that you just can’t leave home (or should we say home page?) without, along with some major style faux pas that can completely ruin the browsing experience.

Your career site staples

Trends come and go, but some things will always be in style. Think bell-bottom jeans vs. a classic peacoat. The same goes for timeless principles of good web design. We’ve seen our fair share of trends come and go, but all good career sites always have a few things in common:

  • Easy-to-Use Search Functionality: First of all, every great career site makes it easy for candidates to find their dream job. Whether they’re searching by keyword, location, or job title, your site’s visitors should be able to find what they’re looking for quickly and efficiently. If you make them hunt for the job they want, they’re going to be off your site quicker than you can say “lost prospect.”

  • Simplicity and Organization: The best way to improve your site’s navigation and make browsing an enjoyable experience (rather than an exercise in patience) is through simple, effective organization. Take this article for example. We make it easy to skim through and absorb the information by using headings and bullet points. You can do the same by providing clearly labeled menus and eliminating unnecessary clutter. A simple, organized design makes for a cleaner page and easier viewing, which satisfies our inner Marie Kondo.

  • Clear Mission Statement: It sounds simple, but so many companies forget to tell their visitors, in plain terms, who they are and what they do. Before a candidate puts in their application, they need to know for sure what the organization does and whether or not their goals align with that business. Over half of job seekers are turning to the internet to research their potential employers before moving forward to the application stage. If they’re struggling to find even simple information about your company, chances are they won’t feel comfortable taking the next step.

  • Commonly Recruited Positions: Effective career sites dedicate a section of the site to commonly recruited positions. The openings for which you seem to constantly be recruiting (like sales, nurses, etc.) should not only be easy to find, they should also include a “why” statement. In other words, tell them why your company is a better employment option than the local competitors. Investing a little time into improving these pages now will make recruiting for these common positions much easier in the future.

Keeping up with the Joneses

Every candidate is looking for that “WOW” moment, that instant when everything clicks and they’re excited to learn more about your company. That’s where a few “statement pieces” can really make your site stand head and shoulders above the rest.

These stand-out items that can take any site from drab to fab:

  • Employer Branding: Your employer brand is like a dating profile. You want to attract the people who are going to be compatible with your lifestyle, values, and preferences, and you can only do so by being as upfront and honest as possible. Your brand should accurately show what it’s really like to work at your company and what makes your company stand out from your competitors. Just saying that you have great benefits isn’t enough. Whether it’s your innovative technology, your philanthropic endeavors, or your opportunities for professional development—you should dedicate a space to talk about the full employee experience.

  • Video: The use of video as a recruiting tool has been on the rise for years now. As any storyteller will say, you want to “show, don’t tell.” For example, instead of saying that your company provides ongoing professional development, you can actually show employees participating in training activities. Video is a great way to show off your company culture or give candidates a realistic preview of commonly recruited positions. Whether it’s animated or live-action, a gif or a commercial-length presentation, video can inject any career site with personality and fun.

  • Infographics: Infographics help us break down complex information and visualize the relationships between ideas. For a job seeker skimming through your website, it’s important that they’re able to easily find and absorb key pieces of information. We’ve seen companies use infographics to explain everything from their application process to organizational hierarchy. Not only does it make it easier to digest key information, it’s also a lot prettier to look at than a big block of text.

Here's what's cramping your style

There are some things that just scream “outdated” like seeing someone sporting a mullet in 2019. Trust us, it’s not a good look. Career sites, especially those that haven’t been updated recently, really show their age when it comes to a few tell-tale faux pas:

  • Data Dumping: When there’s no rhyme or reason to the construction or placement of information, that’s a clear sign it’s time for an update. No one is going to “Click Here to Apply” if you don’t take time to develop the rest of your website. When it looks like you don’t care about the candidate experience, people assume that lack of consideration extends to how you treat your employees. While that may not be true, that’s how some people will see it.

  • Clunky Navigation: The job search function should be evident on every career site. That is the reason people are here, right? By making it harder for someone to navigate your site, you’re not only negatively impacting the candidate experience, you’re also shooting yourself in the foot. You’ll likely miss out on a number of great candidates simply because they can’t find the information they need.

  • No Evidence of the WIIFM: This is the big one, folks. WIIFM stands for “What’s In It For Me?”. Your potential candidates need to know what makes you a better company to work for than your competitors, and a majority of that is summed up in a WIIFM statement. Use your site to make the sales pitch to potential candidates. Avoid filling the page with generic talking points on how great the company is and how much candidates should want to work for you. Instead, talk about the ways in which your company invests in the personal and professional talent of their employees and how that investment, in turn, benefits the organization.

  • Getting Stuck in the Past: Your job openings and calendar of events should be up-to-date. No excuses. If just one thing is outdated, it casts doubt on every post on the site. Put yourself in the candidate’s shoes. Are you going to waste time applying for something if you’re unsure if the position has already been filled? Of course not! So, make sure you take down job postings as soon as the position is filled, and if a listing has been up for an extended amount of time, it never hurts to add a short statement that reassures the candidate that you are indeed still hiring for that position.

Overhaul your look

A stylish career site is the key to inspiring candidates and getting them excited at the prospect of working for your organization. But remember, you can’t be all style and no substance. That’s why you need to combine trendy elements like video, infographics, and modern design with informative and effective content. Prospective candidates want to know what you can do for them. Will they receive training to further their skills? What about opportunities to give back to their local communities or to work on cool technology? Sell to the candidate, not the CEO. Your CEO knows what’s great about the company and what the big-picture vision is for the employee experience, but they’re not in the grind of day-to-day office happenings.

This may look like a big list of dos and don’ts, but it’s not as intimidating as it sounds, especially when you have our experts at your side to help iron out the details. Wicresoft offers full-service Talent Acquisition Services, including advisory, solutions, and operations, that partner with your business to improve all aspects of talent management practice—from branding and recruitment to employee development and retention. We’ll help you combine form with function and deliver a world-class career site that attracts the right fit for your organization. Book a chat to get started!