The Career Site and ATS Job Application

This blog post is bred out of a lot of conversations I’ve been involved with in the past few months around the Career Site and the overall candidate flow into the ATS application.  I hope it helps you think about how these two resources flow together and the difference between the two.  Also feel free to check out our White Paper on Career Site Optimization, “Building a Better Career Site for the Future, Today”.

When I talk about the ATS job application this is the process when a candidate clicks apply and is taken to create an account, upload their resume and fill out the full job application.  This process is almost always controlled by the Applicant Tracking System (ATS).  The information then flows into the ATS where an applicant record is created and used to manage the interview and hiring process.

The Career Site is your candidate facing front-end.  It should provide compelling content (i.e. why work for us, unique benefits, landing pages, etc.), easy job search as well as search engine and mobile optimization.  It’s main goal is to make it easy for candidates to find and engage with your jobs, sell candidates on applying and capture candidate contacts in the process flow.  (Check out this post from a year ago on areas to consider when build....)

These two resources work in concert to provide a part of the overall candidate experience so it’s important to ensure the process is clear and seamless no matter how you implement each.

Is the ATS Career Site the answer?

When we look at Career Sites today, companies typically approach it from three main directions.

First, they create a main careers landing page (and potentially a few others) and then link the job search to the ATS job search technology.  While this is low cost (you have already purchased your ATS to do other things), it leaves a lot to be desired from a candidate experience and optimization standpoint.  Consider the following:

  • Typically in this scenario, the job search acts as a barrier to search engines ensuring that jobs are not indexed or have appropriate keywords.
  • Mobile is often hit or miss as well in terms of candidates being able to easily search and find jobs via mobile devices.
  • There is typically difficulty in adding new pages and content to the Career Site leaving your team with a solution that has limited potential for growth.

Second, you have organizations that are building their own SEO and job search functionality with integration with the ATS.  They have the development talent in-house to build and brand their own Career Site experience for candidates and have created a much better search and content oriented site for candidates.  A few areas to consider here:

  • You are investing a considerable amount the time and money in this project.
  • It’s upon your team to ensure that your Career Site can remain viable as new needs and trends arise.
  • As you are building out just the Career Site their will probably be an issue with tracking, not only about where candidates are coming to the Career Site from but also in passing source data to the ATS.

Third, organizations leverage a recruitment marketing provider to help them build out, optimize and measure the performance of their Career Site.  Often this will ensure SEO and mobile optimization and provide integration for seamless integration with the ATS application process.  It also provides for easy content and landing page creation with full job search support.  This option is great for organizations looking to get more out of their Career Site and who don’t have the technical talent in house (or don’t want to have to stay alert for new trends.)  Not all Career Site solutions are the same, however, so consider the following:

  • The way they track and capture metrics and pass accurate data into the ATS.  See “Tight Source Capture” on this blog.
  • Degree of customization.  How much can you “own” the design of the site and ensure full ownership over your employer brand.
  • Ease and cost of adding new content and landing pages.  Is it easy to create and compelling content yourself or do you need your provider to lay it out and design it for you.
  • Some may also provide candidate capture during the job apply flow.  This ensures that you capture candidate information even if they don’t finish the apply process (which in most cases is high).

In every case above, you need to ensure that your Career Site job search passes to the appropriate application via your ATS.  The flow should be

 

Going Mobile

We mentioned Mobile a little above but I wanted to talk about it a little more here.  One of the biggest trends in applicant tracking is for the job application to be fully mobile enabled.  This is a reaction not only to a younger workforce that lives off their phones but also different candidate populations where a smartphone is their primary means of accessing the web.

There are a number of solutions out there that provide Mobile Apply options but I encourage you first to talk to your ATS provider about their plans for a mobile application process.  I know solutions such as Taleo already have mobile application options in place and I assume that most ATS either have a solution or have one on their product road-maps.

Now Mobile Apply is much different than Mobile Career Site.  As we outline above, Mobile Career Site includes easy job search, mobile optimized content, SEO job pages as well as Talent Network job apply flow capture.  It is the front-end of your candidate experience and is meant to educate and sell candidates on your employment opportunities while seamlessly flowing candidates to your mobile application process when they want to apply.  Not having a mobile optimized Career Site can greatly limit the effectiveness of a Mobile application process.  If candidates can’t find jobs via their mobile devices, they can’t apply for them, right?

The Career Site and Application Strategy

As you begin to really hammer out your candidate experience and recruiting process flow, it’s important to keep in mind how you are going to tackle your Career Site and application process and what technology you are going to use.  Your ATS most definitely already provides support for your regular application process (and probably for mobile apply) but it may not be the best option for your Career Site and employer branding needs.  Weigh the different options above and measure the results of your current process with recruitment metrics.  This will give you a better understanding of where you can improve and how new Career Site initiatives impact the performance of your recruitment campaigns.

 

Be sure to check out more recruitment articles at the SmashFly Recruitment Blog and engage with us on Twitter @smashfly

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