So you’re planning your new careers website or developing your existing one. Then this little article is for you. An article of briefing your careers website. No pressure, but your careers website is probably going to be the first place that a job seeker is going to come into contact with your employer brand. So it needs to make a strong, positive first impression. And it’s the best weapon in your recruitment arsenal. So it needs to meet your needs and the needs of the modern job seeker.

We’ve spoken before about how to spot whether your careers website it looking a little tired, so it’s only fair that we should share what you should look for in a new one. Plus a few tips on what to include in your brief for a new one. After all, that’s what we do.

So, are you sitting comfortably? Then let us begin.

Firstly, are you ready for a careers website?

A little reflection is a key part of the process. Before you go into building mode, have you thought about the most important question of all? What are you going to say? Why should people choose to work for you instead of somewhere else?

You might know the answer to this question of course. But if you don’t, then it is worth researching and defining your employer value proposition. Because this will help you shape the messaging on your site.  It will also influence the creative process when designing your careers site. Find out a little bit more about how we can help you define your employer value proposition.

Secondly, identify and engage the stakeholders

I know this sounds like I’m slowing you down even more, but it’s easy to get excited about a shiny new website and go racing ahead. The truth is, there’ll be people in your business, and probably suppliers too, who’ll need to be involved. Get them on board now – not later when you might be forced to retro-fit their needs.

Assuming you’re a talent, recruitment or resourcing manager, your typical stakeholders are your marketing and brand department, IT, whoever runs your main corporate site, your ATS provider (if you have one) and don’t forget the rest of your resourcing team who will all have ideas to share. And the HR Director might just want to get involved too, if only to sign-off on the project.

Thirdly, create your brief

Whoever you work with to build it (more on that later) will want a brief. What’s more, writing a brief is a very handy process to clarify your thoughts and create something all stakeholders can sign-off on. If you’ve done your thinking about your employer value proposition, you’ll be able to include a steer on your messaging and you may even have a creative approach in place.

Details to include in your brief will certainly include information about your business and your target audience. In this respect a careers website is very similar to other sites except that this time the customer is the candidate. Your site builder will want to know about your values as an organisation, what you are there to achieve, why people will want to work for you and your target audience itself, their likely values and motivations. Your earlier conversations with your stakeholders will have added other items to your wish list.

We have created a handy careers website briefing form. If you’d like us to send you a copy, please get in touch.

Fourthly, make sure you’re set-up for Google for Jobs

You’ve probably heard about Google for Jobs by now – especially if you’ve read our earlier articles. But what has been ‘coming soon’ is now here, live and working in the UK. Being found in Google is essential for any website but the listings within a careers website have to be found and show up well in Google for Jobs especially.

It’s Google’s search box for jobs and it’s where your roles really have to be. To show up there, your job adverts need to be coded in a specific way. Our article covers everything you wanted to know about Google for Jobs and there’s a nice little free guide to download too.

Fifthly (is that right?), it has to work across all devices

This is really important. 45% of job seekers search for jobs daily on their mobile device so that’s a huge number to miss if your site isn’t mobile or tablet friendly. The fact that your organisation might be largely PC based and run on Windows doesn’t matter – you need to think externally and about the job seeker.

So, include in your brief that you want the site to work on mobile and tablet as well as desktop. Whatever device the candidates use, the experience should be as rich and engaging as possible.

Sixthly (this is getting ridiculous) deliver content in an interesting and engaging way

Not only must it work across all devices, so must the content – and in a way that holds the candidates attention. Designing for mobile is also a great way of disciplining yourself to think ‘less is more’. The objective is to ’show, not tell’ the reasons why they should work for you. So the design has to be interesting, without too many long chunks of text.

That means imagery, interactive elements and of course film. Film is an incredibly effective way of delivering key content, whether it be messages from senior management or profiles of current employees. So your brief might ask for evidence of any previous experience of making career based film.

Seventhly (do you ever wish you hadn’t started something?), be authentic

Whatever you do, don’t use photography that isn’t authentic. The days of stock shots are long gone and any candidate will be able to spot them a mile off – as will your existing people who might be a tad embarrassed. So use your own people in videos and photos, it’s a must. Creating your own photography and film is an essential investment to deliver the authentic careers website experience that will attract the right candidates.

Eighthly (really?), make the jump to the ATS as seamless as possible

The ideal outcome from a visit to your careers website is an application from the kind of candidate you are looking for. They might not apply first time – they could well be checking out your content and having a look at your social media (more about that next) but eventually, you’ll want them to apply. Obvious really. But that’s when things can go pear shaped.

If your ATS experience looks and feels nothing like your careers site it can completely kill the candidate’s experience of your employer brand. It’s like going from a warm room at a party to the cold outdoors. We’ve worked with many applicant tracking systems and know how to make the integration smooth and seamless – and to ensure a consistent look and feel throughout the whole candidate journey.

Ninthly (I’m not even sure that’s a word), support it with a social media strategy

There’s more to a social media strategy for a careers site than having sharing buttons on every page – although sharing tools are a good thing of course. Social media is where your audience are talking and it’s where trust and engagement is built. It offers huge reach, attracts passive as well as active candidates and enables real-time and quicker recruitment. So your brief should ask for experience of being able to create an engaging social media strategy – and preferably for a careers site.

Finally, who do you choose to help you build it?

Forgive us for putting ourselves at the top of the list here in our own article. We build careers sites. It’s what we specialise in. We know all the do’s and don’ts and all the techie things that careers sites need to work. We believe that it’s a specialist field. And while you don’t have to use us – we’d like to think you’d bear us in mind.

You might have the resources in-house, you might have a great relationship with your existing recruitment marketing agency, you might have a digital agency who just happens to have built a careers site you like. Whoever you use, you’ll have to feel comfortable with their ability and have a good rapport with their team as you’ll be spending a lot of time together – we know!

If you feel that you’d 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 biscuit.