Candidates do a lot of research when exploring their career decisions. Your careers website therefore plays a highly influential part in whether they want to find out more – or move on. Which means that when you come to build the site, and create content for it, there are some careers website best practice elements you’ll want to get right.

We’ve shared 5 things we think represent ‘must have’ features for a careers website and we start with a reality check. Before you can tell them anything, first they have to find you.

1. Easy to find – because it satisfies jobseekers search intent

There are many components of a great careers website. But none of them will matter if your ideal candidate never finds it. Which is why being search friendly is so important. Although there are many deciding factors in whether your candidate wants to work for you, most searches still start with a particular job in mind.

You need to make sure that when that search is made, your vacancy, and therefore your careers site, shows up. For well known employers, searches will often contain a phrase something like ‘Jobs at (well known company)’. That’s all very straightforward – but what if you’re not up there with the Apples and Googles? You can still be found, but it takes a bit of work.

To get this right and make sure your vacancies are at the top of the search list, you need to have two things covered. Understand what your candidates are searching for (their search intent) and making sure that your site, and your vacancies, are set up so they’ll find it.

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Here are two recent articles from the TLA blog that explain being set up for job search in more depth.

Search engines. Are you friendly? Or are you optimised?

How to improve the SEO of your careers website

2. A clear mission and EVP – that matches jobseekers values

Your candidates may want a job – but they’ll also be deciding why they’d want to work for you when they land on your site. So you need to know what it is that makes you different to other organisations and why that’s important.

We often cover the Employer Value Proposition (EVP) in our content and make no apologies for including it here. Candidates want to know about your culture and values so they can make their own decisions whether or not you are a good cultural fit. If they can’t find a strong enough EVP they won’t look at the roles you offer. You’ve effectively lost them at ‘hello’.

We think the site we produced for Leicester City Council does a good job of helping candidates work out if they’d be a good fit. It reflects the culture of the council. It contains a number of relatable employee stories and it talks about their values – all on the home page.

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Take a look at the Leicester City Council careers site.

And read the full case study.

3. Design consistent with brand – and authentic

Candidates will probably arrive at your careers site with some idea of your overall brand, which means they’ll have an expectation of seeing something they recognise. So it’s important that it delivers a consistent brand message. This includes the visual elements such as brand colours as well as consistency in tone of voice and message.

The site we produced for Toolstation does this particularly well, as does our site for Derbyshire Constabulary. Both add another ingredient – authenticity – through using their own people in photography especially commissioned for their sites. Derbyshire Constabulary wanted to change the way that people saw them as an employer and engage a wide audience of jobseekers. The site combines Police branding with a very human look and feel.

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Take a look at the Derbyshire Constabulary careers site.

And read the full case study.

4. Jobs that are easy to search – and apply for

The ideal candidate has found your careers site and identifies with your values. Tick. Tick. But, if they can’t search for jobs easily, and if the application process is poor, it’s another potential risk they’ll go elsewhere.

Despite the very important coverage of values, mission and purpose – we never forget that the objective of a careers site is to help a candidate find job. And for our new careers site for Toolstation – that’s exactly what we’ve done.

In the spirit of their employer brand ‘Together, we’ll get the job done’ it’s a strongly branded showcase of the latest vacancies, their different departments, where they could be working and the ability to not only search all the jobs, but also recruitment content around blogs and business areas.

Of course, the application process itself needs to be as easy as finding the role. Which is why the site integrates seamlessly with their ATS ePloy. It’s impossible to see the join between careers site and ATS which makes for a great candidate experience – and one that’s trackable over the entire candidate journey.

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Take a look at the Toolstation careers site.

And read the full case study.

5. User-centered content – especially film

When we say user, we mean candidates – they are the site users. Don’t forget that you are marketing yourself as a career destination. Your content needs to be about helping them take the next step – whether that be finding out a bit more about working for you, searching for a role or reading an article on your blog. This comes from understanding the people you want to recruit and what matters to them.

Increasingly, film is being used to add reality and authenticity to careers sites. Real people, telling real stories is a great way to do this and help them see themselves in the role, working with people that they can relate to. Film conveys personality and can be a visual dive into what it would be like to work for you.

Featuring store managers and supervisors, our series of employer branding films for shoe retailer Deichmann helps give a real insight into what makes them a unique place to work.

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Take a look at the Deichmann case study and watch the films.

In conclusion

Careers website best practice starts with the basics – good setup and SEO. From there onwards, once your candidate has arrived on your site it’s all about engaging with them, using content that adds authenticity and offering a seamless candidate experience all the way through. At all times remember that a careers site doesn’t deliver unless it helps the right candidate find the right job.

If you feel that youd like some help, support or even a little chat around building your next careers website or any aspect of your talent attraction strategy just drop us a line. After all, much of our best work has started with a cup of tea and a Zoom call.