In today’s recruiting landscape, companies rely on third-party platforms, like LinkedIn, recruitment agencies, and others, to generate hires. While these platforms are valuable, companies ideally want to have their career page be their number one source of hiring.
With that said, we’ve decided to write a quick guide on how to make your career page the number one source for hiring.
Define your candidate persona
The first step is the one you can never afford to overlook. A lot of companies will make the mistake of jumping straight into the final stages of optimizing their career pages. They’ll add gimmicks, and do some polishing here and there. But they won’t have done their due diligence when it comes to defining their candidate persona.
Candidate personas are models for the “perfect candidate” that your company creates. It follows many of the same rules of what marketers call the “customer persona”, but for recruiting.
A candidate persona helps your recruitment team figure out what kind of person they are ideally looking for. This doesn’t mean that they will only look for candidates who are an exact match with your candidate persona. That happens very rarely. The point is to have a model for recruiters to follow and to come as close as possible to reaching it.
Building a candidate persona is a process that relies on data. Use whatever data you can gather in order to understand what your ideal candidate would look like. You can use data from past hires, for instance, to better understand your hiring patterns.
If you’re lacking data, you can always generate new data to use. You can survey your current employees (especially the best-performing ones!) to see what makes them fit your business so well. You can even go so far as to re-interview your employees to get a full assessment of their profile.
What’s important is to build a candidate persona. Without it, all other tips in this blog will either be useless or crippled. If you want to make your career page your number one source for hiring, that means you need it to attract candidates. And to attract candidates, you first need to know who you are trying to attract.
Once you’ve built your candidate personas, you can start working on making your career page attractive to them.
Find ways to reach your target audience
You can make your career page as attractive as possible, do everything right. What good will all that work be if no one ever sees it? To attract and retain candidates in an application process, you first need to reach them.
There are two ways to reach your target audience: either you find them, or they find you.
The former is where most of the hard work goes. Managing to find ways to reach your target candidates directly (or indirectly) can be a challenge for recruiters. Luckily, you can start with your candidate persona.
When building your candidate persona, one of the most important things you’ll learn is where you can find the candidates you’re looking for. You’ll build a profile that includes location, both geographic and digital.
Geographic location can help you set up traditional advertising campaigns. Billboards, newspaper ads, television. You can focus your spending on specific areas that you’ve pinpointed through building a candidate persona.
The real interesting part is the digital location. Reaching a candidate through the internet has, at the same time, never been easier, and never been harder. On one hand, there are countless platforms that users visit frequently: social media, websites, forums, online stores, etc. Trying to pin down your candidate persona on the internet can seem like finding a needle in a haystack.
On the other hand, all these platforms now offer sophisticated tools to target specific people. Advertising in general takes advantage of user data to curate the types of advertisements that are shown to the user. Marketers have been taking advantage of this for a long time, and so should recruiters.
Once you figure out which online platforms your candidate persona frequents the most, you can target your ad campaigns there. You don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket, though. The information you get from your candidate persona will help you see where you should focus your energy and where you shouldn’t. That doesn’t mean that you should ignore the places your candidate's personas aren’t. It’s still a good idea to have a general presence across a variety of platforms.
Use a robust content strategy
One of the most deceptive parts of making an attractive career page is that sometimes, it’s not all about your career page. The reality is that your career page is only one page on your website. Too often do companies spend time creating a spotless career page, only to forget about the rest of their website.
When you’re thinking about your career page, you need to think about everything that surrounds it as well. Just like you will be vetting candidates, candidates vet potential employers. By attracting them to your website to apply for a job, you’re also inviting them to directly vet you and your business.
If a candidate has any questions about you, the first thing they will do will be to look for a quick answer themselves. If they’re on your website, the first thing they’ll do is click around. They’ll visit other pages and see what your business is about.
Knowing this, you should prepare for it. You should make sure that you’re following a content strategy that will complement your recruitment strategy. This means producing content that is not just advertising.
You don’t want to just show off the job openings you have, you want to show off why your company should be attractive to candidates. This means putting your company culture, your values, your mission, and your workspace on display. You can do this through blog posts, newsfeeds, or even a gallery and events section. This content will help candidates get to know you better, and, ultimately, make them more comfortable applying for jobs at your company.
Make sure that your content strategy also extends beyond the website itself. A great place to start is to create a plan for your email list. Make sure you have a variety of regularly scheduled emails being sent out: product updates, announcements, blog posts, but also job postings!
Curate the candidate's experience
Having great content to surround your career page is great, but that’s not everything. You want to make sure that, from the moment your candidate reaches your career page to the end of the recruitment process, they are having a great experience. There are a few ways you can improve your candidate experience.
Let’s start with the pre-application stage. At this point, you should be focused on transparency and responsiveness. Candidates love it when they aren’t kept in the dark. Something you can easily do is provide candidates with a clear timeline of the recruitment process. At the very least, you can tell them how long it will take for them to get a response from you. Even if it’s going to be a no, candidates feel much more comfortable applying to jobs that guarantee a response. By letting your candidates know this in advance, you’ll increase the attractiveness of your career page considerably.
After the application starts, you should make things easy for your candidate. Make the online application as simple and straightforward as possible. One of the biggest pain points for job-seekers is having to upload their resume and then re-enter it manually. Getting rid of the manual re-entry is an easy fix you can make to your online application process.
Once candidates move forward in the application process, make sure to make yourself available to them as much as possible. Respond to their questions quickly and kindly, and try your best to accommodate them when it comes to scheduling. There’s nothing like respecting a candidate’s time to show them that you want them to work for you.
There are too many things you can do to be told here. However, one tip you can follow is to test your own application process. Put yourself in a candidate’s shoes, and evaluate where your career page succeeds and where it fails. Testing is the best way to improve, so never stop testing.
User retargeting to stay in contact with the candidates
User retargeting is a greatly underused tool in recruiters’ arsenal. Too many recruiters think that one rejection is a definitive and permanent rejection. It’s already hard enough to get a hold of candidates that match your candidate persona. Why would you let them slip away forever after only one attempt?
People’s situations change, and with that people change their minds. Keeping in touch with strong candidates, even ones whose recruitment fell through is extremely important, is a great habit to have.
“Keeping in touch” doesn’t mean keeping close, personal contact with a candidate. In fact, that may come off the wrong way and you’re better off avoiding that. What you want to do is simply not give up on a candidate and remind them that you still exist from time to time.
One of the best ways to achieve this delicate balance is to add previous candidates to a mailing list. In most cases, you’ll have their email address from when they applied for a job, so you won’t need to contact them to ask for their email.
Ideally, you’d want to put retargeted candidates into a specialized mailing list that is curated for them. But if you can’t manage that, you can always just use your general mailing list.
Track the candidate's journey with high precision
Tracking the candidate's journey is an essential step in improving your career page. You want to understand the different steps candidates take when they go through the application process. This isn’t something that will help you immediately, but it is key to making incremental improvements to your recruitment strategy over time.
Tracking candidate journeys helps you refine your candidate persona. By tracking and quantifying a candidate’s journey, you can use that data to better understand your candidate's personas. If your candidate personas, the people you really want to hire, are having an especially hard time with the application process, then you’ll know that something needs to change.
SmartDreamers is a platform that is built to assist you in all things recruitment. Our platform can help you design, build, and refine your career page and make it your main hub for talent acquisition. Request a demo of our platform here.