Making a website jobseeker-friendly

Provide right information to improve quality of job applicants
By Mark Swartz
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 04/20/2010

An organization’s homepage is often the first point of contact for a prospective employee who is researching a potential employer. As such, the homepage makes an immediate impression so it should be inviting and easy to navigate, not confusing and off-putting.

There’s a temptation to jam a homepage with every little bit of information possible, in an attempt to please all possible audiences — current and potential customers, suppliers and jobseekers.

This typically leads to a homepage that just about blinds the viewer with multiple sections and links galore. With so much to choose from, it can leave people paralyzed in terms of where to go and what to look for.

That’s why a keep-it-simple approach works best. Employers should highlight the most important areas and let each viewer follow the key links that are most meaningful to her.

Most important sections for jobseekers

When potential applicants first visit an organization’s site, they most often look for two distinct links: “About us” and “Jobs.”

When they click on “About us,” they want to see the following elements:

• a description of the organization and what it does

• a history of the company (when it started, how it’s evolved over time)

• brief biographies of key personnel

• press releases announcing ­important news

• financial reports (public companies).

When it comes to the job postings section, applicants will be looking for a link that says “Careers,” “Jobs,” “Employment,” “Work here,” “Work for us” or something similar. Once a candidate has clicked through to this section, she wants to see the most current job postings.

These can be displayed in a simple list format, one after the other, with an email link where people can send in their applications or through a sophisticated internal search engine that allows viewers to seek out positions by category and geographic location, with applications being accepted through a back-end talent management system.

At a minimum, job ads should include a date showing when the position was first posted publicly and the deadline for applications.

Each ad should feature the nature of the role itself, duties and responsibilities, and the qualifications and experience of the ideal candidate. A salary figure (either a range or flat figure is fine) appeals to potential applicants so they will know if this is a job within their compensation level.

CSR a newer item included

Two more areas that appeal to potential employees are a company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives and any awards it has received.

CSR is something an increasing number of employers are starting to boast about on websites. An organization doesn’t have to be spending millions of dollars in philanthropic donations or the “greening” of the firm to have a CSR section. It can be as simple as mentioning an internal recycling program, giving a paid day off (or two) to employees so they can volunteer or sponsoring local amateur sports teams.

Mentioning awards good idea

As for awards, not every employer has something to add in this section. For those that do, it could include: an industry award for having the best process, product or service; being ISO-certified; or being named a top employer.

Even the smallest organization can afford a jobseeker-friendly homepage. It’s a matter of design over high-tech bells and whistles. Giving jobseekers what they most require is a good business practice. There is no need to spoon-feed (or overfeed) them with too much information. By being user-friendly for jobseekers, the quantity and, more importantly, quality of applications will rise accordingly.

Mark Swartz is a career coach, speaker, author and national career advisor at Monster Canada. For more information, visit http://hiring.monster.ca.


Careers page 101

What jobseekers need and want to know about working for an organization

Perks and benefits

What benefits does the company offer? This is a good opportunity to highlight any perks or benefits the company provides that differentiate it from other employers in the industry, such as training programs, incentive programs or philanthropic opportunities.

Company culture

Feature the organization’s corporate values, competencies that are highly regarded and the type of work environment (is the dress casual, what are the offices like). This gives jobseekers a preview of what it is like to work at the company and helps them answer the question: “Would I be a good fit?”

Testimonials

What do employees have to say about working for the company? Why do they like their roles? Why would they recommend the company as a good place to work? Employees’ words speak volumes to jobseekers.

Day in the life

What do people in similar roles to the ones being posted do in a typical, day, week or month? This kind of overview can help jobseekers become excited about the type of work they will be doing.

The hiring process

What should a jobseeker expect once she has submitted her resumé? Are candidates informed if they don’t have the skills an organization is looking for? Should jobseekers resubmit their resumés if they haven’t heard anything in a certain period of time?

Career path

Is there room to grow within the company? What types of roles can employees work toward, how do they get there, what does the organizational structure look like?

Divisions

Describe the different divisions or areas of the company where roles are available. Jobseekers may not be aware of all the different types of roles that are offered.

Frequently asked questions

Publish the answers to the most frequent questions posed by job candidates.

Interview tips

Prepare candidates on what to expect from an interview — how should they dress, what are some sample questions, what candidates should bring with them.

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