Making your Careers site the centre of your recruiting activity

This post follows on from last months post on “Building your attractiveness as an employer”. Here we discuss where a good careers site fits in with the likes of using jobboards, agencies and social media sites. We build Careers sites so we clearly have an interest, but that does not mean that we don’t see their advantages and how they can really improve your recruiting performance.

Your Careers Site and Social Networking
We are seeing more and more employers building and developing company pages on the likes of Linkedin, facebook and other ‘social networking’ sites. This is a good thing. We are particular fans of Linkedin. However, once a candidate is on the your social networking company page - what then? You have got their attention - now you need to do something with it. Given we are talking recruitment, the most obvious thing to do is take them to your website - and this is where a Careers site comes in. Your corporate website is primarily there to communicate with your customers and may take; orders, manage queries and so forth. It's all very interesting to a potential candidate, but they will very likely want more. If you were thinking of joining another organisation you would likely want to get a feel for what it might be like to work there and explore if it’s a good fit for your skills, experience and aspirations.

A good careers site does all of this - and more. As well as showing your current vacancies it should also include a talent pool provision where interested candidates can register their details so you can contact them if and when a suitable vacancy comes up. Talent Pools are one of the most effective recruiting tools for an employer and they should be at the centre of your Careers Site. Employers with effective Talent Pools can, when a role comes in, review those who have registered an interest and invite those suitable to apply - all within minutes of the vacancy being announced.

Once you have used social networks to gain attention, unless you capture that attention and interest you will not be getting the benefits that a social network presence can provide. Channeling social network interest back to your Careers Site, allows you to further inform potential candidates and encourage them to either apply directly online on your site, or register they might be interested so you have a (talent) pool of candidates ready to choose from when the next vacancy comes up.

Your Careers Site and Jobboards
Jobboards are great for capturing those candidates who are very actively looking at this particular moment in time. However, there is one important factor to be aware of when using a jobboard - and that is that other companies will have their jobs listed alongside yours... This is an obvious statement. But what it means, is you are directly competing side by side with other companies for any advert on a job board. Given the Jobboard will typically list like organisations these companies will also likely be competitors - or at least competitors for the same types of candidates. The Jobboard is no doubt trying to be fair to all. But it does not have your interest particularly at heart. As an example, they often have functions like “Other jobs people like you have looked at” or something similar. Their systems are designed to allow candidates to flit quickly between vacancies. This means that you need to be very aware you are competing for talent and typically need to make short succinct adverts that can quickly attract attention.

The trick with using a jobboard effectively is what happens when the candidate presses the “Apply” button. Without a Careers Site or online recruitment system you will need to use the standard online form within the Jobboard. These have got better over the years but they don’t have all the facilities you can get with your own system. They are also keeping the candidate on the Jobboard and thus the candidate is not really getting any further information about your company and what your employer proposition is all about. With a Careers Site and supporting online recruitment system you can get the Jobboard to send the candidate - when they press “Apply” - direct to your Careers Site. There, you can give them more details about the vacancy and also give them details about what you are like as an organisation and what it would be like to work there. As we outlined in our last blog post “Building your attractiveness as an employer”, your careers site is a great vehicle for positioning your organisation as one where your existing staff are encouraged to loyally stay with you and give a positive impression to candidates. In this respect you should think of Jobboards as complementing your own Careers Site. They are most effectively used where you use the Jobboard to attract interest and then use your Careers Site to capture that interest through applications and registrations. It also has to be said, that once you have captured a registration on your own Careers Site you are no longer beholden to the Jobboard - when vacancies come up you can contact those registered on your Talent Pool without having to advertise again - saving time and money.

Your Careers Site and Agencies
Many employers we come across use agencies for ‘Search’ at least some of the time. No doubt your agencies get well briefed on your new vacancies. However, even if you do take the time to give a good brief to your agency (you do this of course, don't you...?) you are relying on them passing this on to candidates. When I was a candidate and was approached by an agency the first thing I did when I knew whom their client was, was to look up their website. If you have a Careers Site you can be assured that your agency candidates will get a good view of what you are about and won’t be thus wholly reliant on a brief from the agency over the phone. In our experience the agencies really appreciate you having a Careers Site as it does make their job easier and it ensures that candidates can commit to a vacancy opportunity earlier in the process. The last thing either you, or the agency wants, is for candidates to suddenly go off your vacancy, or joining your company, late in the process. This will be after you have spent time and energy on interviews, screening and assessments. We have found in our experience a good Careers Site will typically reduce this latter-stage candidate attrition by an average of 25% or more. This can add up to some serious time, administration and money savings.

Your Careers Site and your Internal Staff
As we outlined in our last blog post “Building your attractiveness as an employer”, your careers site is well placed to help you position your company as a desirable place to work in the minds of your own staff. It is a very visible reminder of what you can offer. We almost always recommend clients have either a separate Internal Careers Site just for their staff or at least some pages just for them on the public site. On an Internal Careers Site you can advertise your internal vacancies and opportunities for promotion and you can also add a Referral System.

Like Talent Pools, Referrals are one of an employer’s most effective tools when it comes to recruiting. The idea is that you use your Careers Site and the recruitment system to encourage your staff to identify and sell the organisation to people they think would work well in the business. As your own staff know the business best. They know who would be an asset and also crucially, who would not. The experience we and others have found with well crafter Referral programmes, is that your staff are highly unlikely to recommend anyone who won’t be good at the job. Also when they do refer someone, they tend to do a very good sales job on the candidate concerned. As candidates tend to trust people they know, especially when they work for the organisation concerned, you will tend to find they commit earlier to vacancies reducing the latter-stage attrition we talked about earlier.

To make referrals effective, unless you are prepared to do a lot of manual work, requires a system to manage the process, capture the referrals and ensure everyone knows where they stand. Without this you will likely find staff won't bother much. This is where the careers site comes in. You need somewhere to host the referral system and also where you can capture both staff suggestions (the internal careers site) and candidate engagement (the public careers site). We know leading employers that make +70% of all their actual hires from their Talent Pools and Referrals. Both Talent Pools and Referrals rely heavily on a careers site at the centre of your recruiting activity.

So if you don’t already have one, do seriously think about creating a Careers Site. A single careers page on a corporate website is not going to deliver what we have talked about here, nor is just a linkedin or facebook page. With good candidates getting scarcer to find in most markets, employers need to make an effort if they want candidates to seriously consider work opportunities. A good Careers Site makes recruitment easier and more effective; saving you time, money and effort.

What’s not to like...?