This blog originally appeared here on SocialTalent.co.
When was the last time that your recruitment site or careers page had an overhaul? The more recruiters that we talk to the more people who raise the question of new website design and SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). It seems that a large proportion of agencies and hiring companies are looking at their websites and deciding that it just isn't up to scratch for 2012.
For most the solution is to engage a web design company and get them to make something "flashy" or "pretty", but this is a mistake. The real work must be done by the recruiters before you engage any external web design or development companies. A successful career site (or website in general, for that matter) isn't about being flash (especially not being built in FlashⓇ!) or pretty. It's likely that your site should be about candidate attraction, CV harvesting, providing information and many other things that you need to figure out for yourself.
Web designers are not recruiters, they DO NOT understand your business, nor can they expected to be! They will be guided by your brief. If that brief is crap (sorry!) or lacking in specifics, well then don't expect a brilliant end-result! The proof is in the planning.
So, here is the Internal 8 Point Plan that we recommend our clients to take up front to make sure that the brief they pass on to the design or development agency ROCKS and is based on sound business objectives, research, and most importantly, input from the experts: you the Recruiters!
Working with your team, you need to sit down together and generate ideas and responses to the following questions:
Strengths: Identify what your core Services (list them out in main sections) or sectors that you recruit for are, and branch your website layout according to those services. Look at Osborne Recruitment's site in how they've laid out their sectors on their home page.
Audience: For each service, identify who is your audience? Describe them, what gender are they, likely age profile, education, level of online sophistication, etc. Also, consider how people will view your site - are they on a desktop or on their smartphone? Now, go and identify with them, play to them and design your site around them. Take Teamworx.ie's website, who recruit for retail staff. They've identified that their target audience is mainly women and fashion-oriented, and so their site reflects this.
Attraction: For each service and potential audience segment, what are the keywords that they will likely search the web for to find your service and what keyword searches can you deliver a service for. One of the best SEO'd recruitment sites is CPL. Look at their site's URL's, titles, keywords on the page, image descriptions and more. Everything is automated so it takes no effort on behalf of their recruiters, and it's perfect.
Retention: What great content and information can you provide on your website that would encourage one of these target segments to stay on your site, read your stuff and hopefully take an action? It can be interview tips, CV writing tips, videos, social profile tips, blogs on an industry segment and more. Take a look at Celebrity Staff's blog page, packed with tips for both candidates and employers alike. They've also done steps 1-3 excellently as well, identifying their core strengths and targeting their audience of professionals by using images and text that reinforce that.
Conversion: Think CALL TO ACTION - what's the one thing you want your visitor to do when they land on your site or web-page? When each potential viewer (in each service area and audience segment) arrives at your website, identify the ONE measurable action that you want them to take (like call you, email you, sign-up for something, comment, buy something, attend something, etc). Make your call to action large enough so that it's harder to ignore, and attractive enough so that they feel happy about performing that action.
Loyalty: What would likely encourage each of your target segments to return to your website on a regular basis? Is it a fresh news feed of jobs, or industry news, or a daily or weekly blog? Something else you could think about is incorporating your social media strategy in to your site. Post obvious links to your Facebook and Twitter pages, and give them a reason to click "Follow" - is it for regular job alerts or job-hunt tips? Using social networks is an excellent way to promote loyalty to your brand, and stay loyal to your followers also. Ask them via Facebook what they'd like you to blog about next, ask their opinion or to cast their vote.
Referral: How can you encourage your audience to recommend your site and/ or share links to your web-pages with their peer group?
Aesthetics & Navigation: Take a 5-10 person group and ask them to share their Top 3 websites. They should be industry neutral, and just good websites. Collect the list and ask your group why they like these sites. Look at the design features that are most appealing and applicable to your business and seek to copy them.
In the background, you also need to choose a content management platform (Wordpress is strongly recommended for ease of use, cost-effectiveness and SEO). Next, look at your web host company, and then start shopping around for a web designer and then a web developer (these are separate skills, believe it or not! They can be found together but more often not you'll need separate people).
Your answers to the above questions will enable you to build a complete picture of the web-site or careers site that will deliver on your corporate goals. Talk to us if you want further advice on where to go from here.
Have you commissioned a new recruitment website lately? Can you give any recommendations for your web designers and developers? Let us know in the comments.