Recruiters are all too familiar with the power of first impressions. For instance, remember that time when one of your “ideal” candidates showed up for an interview twenty minutes late wearing a wrinkled t-shirt and ripped jeans? And then he or she proceeded to give you a weak handshake, and completely avoided making direct eye contact. Immediately, your impression and expectations of them changed.
Clearly, first impressions are vital—and not just for interviewees. According to a study in The Journal of Experimental Psychology: General, everyone forms significant first impressions that are extremely difficult to change. As Malcolm Gladwell explains in his book Blink, “There can be as much value in the blink of an eye as in months of rational analysis.” For companies, this means that job seekers’ initial impressions of your career site can greatly sway their perception of your business and their decision to apply.
Your career site is also your most important recruiting channel, which emphasizes its importance and impact. To ensure that it leaves a positive first impression on job seekers and converts them into candidates, verify that it’s the best it can be. Just one obvious mistake or one piece of missing information could cause job seekers to leave your site and continue job searching elsewhere.
While it’s important to fix all issues on your career site, certain problems require immediate attention. Why? Because particular problems can cause job seekers to instantly leave your site instead of applying. By correcting the most detrimental problems first, you can keep job seekers on your site longer so that they are more likely to apply. Here are some career site problems that should be fixed as soon as possible:
Broken Website or Links
Nothing says “don’t apply” better than a broken career site. When your career site doesn’t work, it prevents job seekers from learning about your employment brand and makes it impossible to apply through your career site. If you haven’t visited you career site in a while, pull it up right now to make sure it’s working. Does it load quickly and correctly? Do all of the links and images on the page work? Also, if you have a search bar for your website or job listings, does the search function work? If you find an obvious or frustrating problem with your site, meet with your webmaster to find a solution for your job searching visitors. Once your site looks great on desktop, be sure to check that the experience on mobile is smooth as well.
Because most job seekers visit your career site to learn what it’s like to work for you, be sure to give them the information they want and need. Verify that your career site explains the key elements of your employment brand, such as its values, benefits, culture, and working conditions. Be sure to describe some of your available job categories and/or positions so that website visitors can easily understand more about them too. And just in case this is the first and only place where the job seekers go to learn about your brand, include some basic information about the organization. Explain the company’s mission and vision, and tell job seekers how they can help accomplish the company’s goals as well as their own.
Including need-to-know information is vital, but how this information is presented matters just as much. Your career site is your opportunity to showcase your employment brand’s personality and values, so don’t be afraid to use descriptive words or show emotion. Also be sure to talk directly to the reader so that your content is personal and engaging. To ensure that all of the text on the page is easily digestible, write in short paragraphs and take advantage of list formats. Once your content has character and proper presentation, job seekers will be more likely to read it and positively react.
While compelling content is a must on your career site, text copy shouldn’t make up the entire page. If you want job seekers to stay on your website, you need to ensure that your website looks attractive and inviting. According to Nature Publishing Group, website visitors decide whether or not they like your site within 50 milliseconds of viewing it. And these first impressions are 94% design related, according to Conversion XL. One way to encourage job seekers to stay on your career site by including at least one eye-catching focal point that they will see as soon as your site loads. This focal point could be a video about your employment brand, a photo of the workplace, or even a creative graphic or illustration. To give you an example, Ernest Health’s career site does a great job of using captivating focal points before the reader scrolls down the page.
No Job Postings
If job seekers can’t easily find available job positions on your career site, you’ll see it directly in your apply rates. Many job seekers visit your career site solely to see your available positions, so make sure that these are listed on your site. If you direct job seekers elsewhere to apply, or if you only offer general contact information, you’re forcing job seekers to take additional steps. Simplify the process by including your job listings at the bottom of the page, like LMI Solutions’ career site does. Make it easy for visitors to apply to these positions by including a simple “Apply” button next to each position. If you have several jobs in various locations, offer a search tool so that job seekers can easily find what they’re looking for.
In the same way that recruiters judge job candidates by their resumes, job seekers judge companies by their career sites. Just like with a resume, your career site must be captivating and contain the right information if you want to get the reaction you’re hoping for. However, if it contains any major flaws or errors, it will generate negative reactions and undesirable results. By taking initiative to fix these problems right now, your career site can impress job seekers and attract more applicants. As a result, you will grow your candidate pool and cultivate a more qualified team.
Need help improving your career site? At Recruiting.com, we specialize in creating, maintaining, and updating career sites so that they are as effective as possible. If you would like our help, connect with us to learn more about our career site software and services.