A Better Candidate Experience: 3 Tips to Improve your Career Site

Topics: career sites, employment branding, SEO, candidate experience

Posted by Matt Adam on Sep 15, 2020 9:00:00 AM

Tips for a better candidate experience

Outside of your own employees, your career site is your #1 touchpoint with candidates and the top employment branding asset in your arsenal. It is your “handshake moment” with candidates and often it is their first impression of your organization. First, candidates have to be able to find your site. Next, they need to be inspired to apply. Finally, they want a simple and easy search experience. Here are some tips on how to get there.

Tip 1: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is fundamental
When you think about a career site, it’s not just about the stand-alone career site itself; it’s about how it interacts with the greater web. One thing we do know about candidate behavior is that it constantly changes. Therefore, it is vital to consider how candidates are initially searching for jobs and how your career site is a component of that search.

SEO is a method of inbound marketing that makes your content findable and trackable by Google, Bing and other search engines. Data suggests that anywhere from 70% to 86% of candidates start their job search on their preferred search engine, typing in a search string such as Engineering jobs near Denver Colorado. They get served up content that is deemed most relevant by the search engine – content which may not include yours if you are not SEO-savvy or do not have the right technology in place.

The way to get eyeballs on your jobs (and drive candidates to your site) is to make sure that your job content is easily discoverable, catalogued and served up on search engines. When you have healthy SEO and Google can find your site quickly and easily, you’re going to get a lot more free, organic traffic and not have to rely on third-party paid resources or spend lots of money to drive traffic to your site.

That’s why SEO needs to be one of the foundational elements of your career site. We’ve found that building your site with a strong SEO foundation yields an increase of 40-60% more traffic. A recruitment marketing platform – like ACTIVATE™ from NAS – is designed to bring your jobs out from behind the ATS and make sure they are searchable and SEO-friendly.

Tip 2: Let your employment brand tell your story
Branding is not a fly-by-night trend; it is foundational to what your career site is all about. We often see that, when organizations create or revamp their career site, they put up stock images and list a mission statement, but they don’t necessarily do the hard work of uncovering and telling their true brand story. Branded content can create excitement about your organization and tell the true story of who you are and what you offer.

89% of job seekers believe it’s important for an employer to have a clear mission and purpose. Source: Glassdoor

Branding is an in-depth methodical process that allows you to make sure that you’re conveying to candidates what it’s like “on the inside;” namely, the essence of why a candidate would want to join your company. Your brand must mirror your employee experience. If you are promising a culture of openness and work-life balance but someone joins and finds the exact opposite, nothing will kill your brand faster.

A lot of trends come and go, but employment branding has staying power because it’s effective and has great ROI. Organizations that invest in branding and do it properly will work a lot less to get better results.

Quick hits:

  • Apply candidate-centric design elements and rich content to your career site, such as non-stock images, clearly defined career areas, videos and employee testimonials.
  • Clearly articulate your company mission and vision—and prove it with engaging content such as stats, stories and employee proof.
  • Ensure that your career site—including job postings—is mobile-friendly.

Tip 3: It’s all about that search
Our primary piece of advice when organizations are starting to think about redoing their career site: take off your recruiter hat and think of it from the candidate experience. We’re continually surprised by how many people haven’t done the elemental process of going out to their own career site and applying for a job.

Conduct your search on a desktop and a mobile device, be it phone or tablet, and you’ll see what the process is like from a candidate mindset. Is it an intuitive experience without having to hunt-and-peck or pinch-and-zoom? Can you find what you’re looking for right away? Are your search results accurate and easy to navigate?

Mobile applicants complete 53% fewer applications than desktop applicants, which may indicate that many job postings are, in fact, not mobile-friendly. Source: Glassdoor

The candidate experience is foundational to every decision we make with ACTIVATE™, our proprietary, cloud-based solution. It is designed to solve for a number of challenges, but at its core, it’s a technology that enables a better candidate experience. Whether you use our platform or another, you need to make sure that your site is optimized in several key areas.
  • Deliver a seamless candidate experience built around your organization’s style and messaging needs.
  • Ensure an optimal mobile experience; the majority of job seekers are now starting on their mobile devices.
  • Make sure the search button is very prominent on the site, and that the search experience is intuitive and fast.
  • Offer the option of a location-specific search via map, preferably with a Find Me feature.
  • Include pre-filtered search options where applicable – a search of jobs just for nurses on a nursing content page, for example.
  • Provide a prominent Talent Network and Job Alerts option for candidates who do not find a job on their first visit.

Creating that perfect career site destination takes commitment, thought and hard work. It helps to have a partner. NAS would love to talk to you further about your specific site and offer advice to help you impress, inspire and convert candidates to applicants.

Matt Adam

Matt Adam serves as Executive Vice President & Chief Talent Strategist for NAS. Having spent 20 years as a recruitment strategy consultant for a diverse client roster, Matt has worked with a wide variety of organizations to develop effective recruitment marketing strategies that define and shape an organization’s recruiting efforts in today's interactive marketplace. He is a featured speaker at various organizations including SHRM, CUPA and NAHCR.