Five Career Site Trends for 2021

Topics: career sites, employment branding, recruitment analytics

Posted by Charles Kapec on Jan 12, 2021 5:12:03 PM

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As we begin a new year with new challenges, now is the perfect time to review your career site with a critical eye. Career site creativity has been driven by the candidate experience in recent times – and that trend will continue. Sites are designed around the job search – the main reason candidates visit your site. Easy navigation, bite-sized content and flawless functionality will remain important. NAS has identified several additional trends that will be important for every organization to consider:

Trend #1: Data drives career site design and content
Review your career site analytics regularly in 2021 – we do it monthly to understand immediate strategy impact, and quarterly to review ongoing trends with our clients. Understanding candidate behavior will tell you how to update your design and content to enhance the job seeker experience and ultimately encourage more applications. Here are a few data points we follow for our clients and how they can impact site design:

  • Click-thru and application rates: First and foremost, you want to know if candidates are finding and applying for jobs. If these rates are low, we might consider making the Job Search more prominent on the page. If there is significant drop-off somewhere in the process, where is it happening and what can we do to fix it?
  • Popular pages: Reviewing what pages candidates visit and how much time they spend will tell us what is important to them and where we should add or remove content. If Benefits gets a lot of traffic, for example, we might update or add content to the page to keep it new.
  • Candidate pathing and behavior: How do candidates path through your career site? Do they drop off when scrolling down a page? Are they viewing videos or testimonials? What buttons are they clicking? Tools like video capture and heat mapping help us understand behavior and how to adjust the design for a better candidate site experience that gives visitors exactly what they want.
  • Device access: Are most of your candidates visiting via a mobile device or desktop? While a good site accommodates both, knowing your candidates’ preference can help determine optimal design approaches. If most traffic is mobile, a simpler design and lighter content may be best. If your candidates are still using desktop, a different design will work better.

Trend #2: Employer branding focuses on authenticity
Employer branding has been an important component of recruitment marketing for the past decade – and your career site is the best place to showcase your brand. Candidates are seeking more authentic and personal experiences in their job search, which means that recruitment messaging will need to adjust. It’s not just about a catchy theme or bold graphic design – it’s about making a connection with talent.

As we work with clients, we try to find that special something to set them apart – your employees are the best place to start. Some of the components of employment branding that we feel will be important in 2021 include:

  • Differentiated messages that focus on what sets you apart
  • Branding that is simple, quick to grasp and high impact
  • A focus on the people who work for you as the truth-tellers
  • Positioning that clearly communicates what your organization stands for
  • Supporting content that reinforces your brand in a consistent way

Trend #3: Diversity matters more than ever
2020 was a year of inspiring movements that highlighted the importance of equality and social justice. Just as people commit to progress and change in their lives, they also look for an employer who recognizes the importance of inclusion and creates opportunities for everyone to shine. Organizations will place a renewed emphasis on diversity and inclusion in 2021 – and they will want to tell that story on their career sites. Some suggestions:

  • Include a substantive page devoted to your company’s D&I efforts, such as employee resource groups, community partnerships and internal programs for equity and inclusion.
  • Add content or supplement your site with descriptions and photos of charitable and volunteer efforts your employees are making to improve life throughout your community.
  • Consider a drop-in blog or content area focused on celebrations of diversity that your company holds.
  • Showcase a broad range of employees who truly reflect your workforce – and allow them to tell their stories through videos and testimonials.

Trend #4: Agility is the key to success
We’ve always recommended periodically refreshing your career site, but many organizations find it difficult to follow through. If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that the world can change very quickly and career sites must be able to accommodate updates just as fast. The “set it and forget it” mentality truly ended this year.

As COVID took hold, for example, we updated many of our clients’ career sites with messages about safety measures. Others needed essential workers, which required the speedy addition of landing pages for targeted marketing campaigns. And many had acquisitions or new programs that could appeal to job seekers, which we wanted to include without delay.

Sites should be built and structured to make it easy to add new content to the homepage, add a new page if warranted or update content without a lot of delay and effort. We recommend:

  • Being flexible to situations that may require content updates or revisions
  • Adding and removing landing pages based on immediate or seasonal needs
  • Staying aware of any changes in your organization that would create appealing news or content for candidates
  • Swapping out testimonials and videos on a more frequent basis

Trend #5: Assistive Intelligence continues to grow in impact
Assistive intelligence (AI) is becoming more prevalent on career sites, often in the form of chatbots or AI assistants. Josh Zywien, Chief Marketing Officer from Paradox, outlines where AI will have the greatest impact on career sites in 2021:

  • Conversational experiences: While the typical career site experience requires the job seeker to find their own information and content, a chatbot or assistant like Olivia from Paradox can serve as a sort-of dynamic search engine within your career site, conversing with candidates and surfacing the specific content they seek based on the conversation.
  • Candidate intent: The chatbot can also read intent through natural language processing and pull information into the conversation based on those cues. It can also detect the candidate’s IP address and serve up appropriate jobs for their location. If a job seeker asks about culture or benefits, the assistant could also embed links to culture videos on the career site, directly in the chat.
  • Intelligent follow-up: Data from AI can be gleaned to develop automated responses or actions. For example, if a group of candidates hasn't responded to an interview request or wasn't hired for a particular job, the assistant can remind them to confirm their interview or automatically send new jobs that open up in a particular category.
  • Concierge approach: The more engaged and helpful your company seems, the more likely you are to gain high-level candidates. AI can take on an expanded role as something like a career concierge, serving as the communications conduit between your company and candidates throughout their journey.

NAS would be happy to share a review of your company’s career site and offer some perspective and recommendations to prepare you for the year ahead. Get in touch today and let’s set up a time to continue the conversation.

Charles Kapec

With NAS since 1993,Charles Kapec oversees all creative activities for an NAS team that includes copywriters/creative strategists, designer/developers and production. He provides creative direction for employment branding and career sites for all of the agency’s accounts, while serving as the main creative contact for many agency accounts.
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