In part one of our interview, we discussed career site goals with Leigh McCluskey, Senior Vice President of Talent Acquisition for Advisor Group. In part two, Leigh takes us through Phase 2 of their career site implementation, which involved content for University, Diversity & Inclusion and Community Service sections, as well as photo shoots, analytics and future goals for the site.
As part of Phase 2, we added a University section. Tell us about those efforts.
We're still a relatively new company, but we are committed to evolving and developing our student intern and recent graduate entry-level programs. We worked internally to build a strong, reputable internship program within the industry. Our goal is to ensure that they’re not getting task-focused assignments, but that they are doing really impactful, value-adding work.
On the site, we wanted to tell our story in a way that candidates will appreciate how we're different. We want them to have a great experience and, consequently, be our brand ambassadors with a great story to tell. We're also expanding our presence on key campuses, partnering with universities in each of our five hubs, where we will work with a partner to conduct women's leadership events with students and faculty members.
We also added a page for Diversity and Inclusion. Tell me about Advisor Group’s D&I journey.
We delayed our Diversity and Inclusion content for a year because we were still getting our arms around it. We wanted to ensure that our platform mirrored the same message and values that permeate our organization – that it accurately represents who we are and feels like a part of what we do.
We feel very strongly about advancing women in the financial services industry, and we have a lot of content on our corporate website about it. In fact, 50% of our executive leadership team is female, and we’ve taken the Corporate ParityPledge, sponsored by Parity.org, which promotes gender equality in the workforce. We celebrate diversity in all its aspects, and we wanted to link to our blog that profiles our commitment to D&I. This allows us to share the D&I content we use internally with our candidates so they can see that it’s the exact same messaging and focus. In addition, we post our job openings on diversity-focused job boards to ensure that we’re reaching a broad mix of candidates.
We also wanted a separate community service section of our career site that showcases our presence in the community and our commitment to service. In fact, our company benefits provide two full days of volunteer time off a year. We want our people to decide for themselves what service area or service group is important to them.
You took on a big photo shoot to further personalize the site. Why was that important, and how did you manage that logistical challenge?
We are in state-of-the-art facilities and therefore want to convey to candidates that they’d be coming into a very contemporary, collaborative professional space, which shows an investment on behalf of the company. We also want to showcase our own people, so that potential employees can identify with our authentic culture and the diversity that we represent.
Logistically, we worked with HR and managers across the site to ensure that our photo subjects were prepared and ready to shoot on a tight schedule. People were excited to be involved. They felt honored and privileged that we reached out to them for their participation, and their enthusiasm shows in the images we captured. We had so much great content the day of the shoot and the weeks leading up to it, and we’re really happy with how it all came together. Although highly orchestrated, the photoshoot felt really informal and just…fun. We had a blast!
Since launch, analytics have shown a traffic increase and more conversions to applicant. What metric means the most to you and why?
It’s really exciting to see our visitor count increase. We’re getting our name out there and are seeing the results in a pretty dramatic increase in traffic this year. With analytics provided by NAS’ ACTIVATE™ platform, we’re able to see year-over-year results. In terms of source of hire, we’re able to see where traffic is coming from, how long they're spending on each page of the career site and how many conversions we’re getting. We also solicit feedback from our internal partners to determine what we need to do or where we might want to go in the future regarding career site optimization.
How important is it to you to keep the site fresh? What are some of your ideas for future additions or revisions to the site?
Some of the things we’re thinking about going into 2020 include another photo refresh. We’re capturing photos of our people in action doing community service work, as well as in the office, and we’re looking forward to being involved in more social events as we mature as an organization. We’re also considering adding a link to critical, timely company news articles on our corporate site. And we’re also looking at ways to leverage new and evolving technologies that we’re seeing across consumer sites, such as a virtual assistant (chatbot). We want to make sure that we’re on the leading edge of best practices in terms of consumer—and candidate—expectation.
What type of feedback have you received about your career site?
Everyone has loved this site so much. We get super-positive feedback from internal stakeholders, as well. I'm so proud of it, from the design to the theme and content. I think it immediately captures who we are in a very appealing, visual way. The site is also intuitively easy to navigate. Mostly, I’m proud that our employees feel so strongly about our culture and that it’s captured in personal quotes and video content throughout the site. Internally, we are constantly promoting it. The career site landing page is on screens in the office. It's on screensavers. And it’s in all of our recruitment marketing branding materials.
If you could summarize your advice to other TA professionals on what you feel is essential for an effective career site, what would you tell them?
I tend to dive in and start with reporting and analytics to determine what’s working, what’s not and how to change it. I probably focused a little too much on the pure tactic of what data I wanted vs. what experience or content I was trying to deliver. Analytics can deliver critical data, but it’s up to you to tell the story that your candidate needs to hear. Your page content needs to be interesting enough to keep them there, but it doesn't need to be overwhelming or they’ll just keep scrolling.
Your career site should also be easy to update; you don’t want candidates exposed to dated, irrelevant information. Also, you need to align your career site development efforts with your budget. You don't have to do it all upfront; rather, you can have phased approaches. Our job, ultimately, is to build that journey for the candidate and realize that we all have a stake in the story we tell.