The talent market just gets tighter by the day, as more and more people continue to quit their jobs each month.
Unfortunately, filling a talent pool isn’t as easy as turning on the faucet. You need to adapt your talent acquisition strategies if you ever hope to compete, and your career website will be core to the success of these strategies. After all, it’s the go-to destination for information on any job.
The problem is that most career websites do little more than offer the basics of an open role. These days, you need to do more than that. Your career website needs to reflect your employer brand and employee value proposition. Today’s employees want to know whether your vision and mission align with their values. They want to know whether their work provides purpose and how they (and their roles) might fit within your broader organization.
This is no small undertaking, and is often made even harder by recruitment technology. The industry, by and large, is beholden to applicant tracking systems that don’t provide much functionality. You’ve got to find hacks to work around the constraints of an ATS. It’s the only way to ensure you can personalize content, learn from user behavior, and enrich job descriptions to describe and showcase the employee experience.
In addition to disrupting the recruitment technology space, there are other things you can do to ensure that you make the most of your talent acquisition efforts and use your employer brand to the fullest. Here’s where to start.
1. Start with internal recruitment
In an urgency to fill vacancies, many companies just go live with their talent acquisition efforts. This can be especially problematic. For one, you’ve got to “try on” the process, validate the steps, and make sure it all fits with your employer brand: Does your employment story resonate with potential candidates? Is the job at all enticing? Are there any pain points along the candidate’s journey?
Start by recruiting internal talent to give employees the first crack at opportunities and bring everyone into the fold. Familiarize team members with what you’re doing around talent acquisition. It’s also worth encouraging your employees to contribute content and share sentiments about your employer brand and employee value proposition. Consider the effort as social proof. Everything about the company should feel authentic, and the promises that you’re making should be true.
2. Pay attention to your website user experience
The technical aspects of career websites can absolutely destroy the candidate experience. The biggest offender? Load times. Remember, in this instance, potential candidates are your customers. Develop page speed optimization standards for designers, and include rules about plug-ins, embedded media, and images. This ensures that any pages you add to your career website doesn’t impact its performance.
If page speed isn’t a problem, pay very close attention to relevancy. I’ve seen many links fail to take users to the expected page, which is not the best means for attracting talent. If you decide to run paid media campaigns, ensure that the links direct candidates to the pages that match the messaging. Otherwise, you’ll send mixed messages and confuse potential candidates, negatively impacting their experience and employer branding.
Beyond that, it’s essential to evaluate your recruitment technology itself. Your team can’t always make the changes necessary to optimize a career website when the technology is old and outdated.
3. Be specific about who you’re trying to target
Because ATS platforms are often limited in functionality, attracting talent effectively comes down to understanding your audience. But talent, even for a specific role, rarely shares the same behaviors, interests, or attributes. That’s why it’s crucial to segment your target audience into different personas, such as sales executives, product managers, and software engineers. Start with big buckets of talent segments and then subdivide into more manageable groups.
Get to know the personas. Identify their likes and dislikes, as well as their motivations and needs. It’s also useful to predict (and address) perceived obstacles along the candidate’s journey. Understanding and navigating the different preferences and priorities of the different personas might require you to shape the order in which you discuss your employee experience, and decide which stories to tell. Use your insights to build a library of relevant content and determine how to leverage your employer brand to attract talent from each audience segment.
In a tight labor market, your employer brand and employee value proposition matter more than ever. It’s also no longer enough to send a generic message; you need to be specific about who you’re trying to target and emphasize specific messages depending on that demographic.
Yes, it takes a little bit of upfront investment. But that’s where the talent opportunity really lies, and you’ll understand its value when you start to reap the rewards.
Bryan Adams is the CEO and founder of Ph.Creative, a global employer branding agency. He is a prominent employer brand thought leader as well as an author, podcaster, and speaker.