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Your Company Website: What Does it Say to Job Seekers?

Your Company Website: What Does it Say to Job Seekers?

By: Roberta Matuson

What’s the first thing job seekers do when they are searching for work or they hear about a job opening? They go to a company’s website.

What message is your small business web design sending to job seekers — and will it help or hurt your recruiting process as you seek to recruit top talent?

The recruitment section of a company website, especially small business websites, is often an afterthought — and unfortunately it usually shows. Remember that the recruiting strategy begins before job openings are announced.

First Impressions Count
“It’s about credibility,” says Chad Barr, President of CB Software Systems and the Chad Barr Group and author of Million Dollar Web Presence — Leverage the Web to Build Your Brand And Transform Your Business. “The site must come across as credible and also portray your company as a world-class organization.”

Phillip Ryan, Senior Consultant at Vivaldi Partners Group located in NYC, concurs with Barr. Ryan was heavily influenced by Vivaldi’s website when he was seeking employment.

“The website showed the global nature of the firm,” says Ryan. “The site was very nicely laid out and gave the impression of a firm with a strong sense of content and aesthetics. The site contained articles on thought leadership as well as information on all employees and the network of advisors.”

This was particularly important to Ryan, who was seeking a position with a global firm that would appreciate his desire to innovate and allow him to work in a collaborative environment. Ryan was quickly able to gain insight into the corporate culture at Vivaldi, which turned out to be an excellent match for him.

Strategy Before Implementation
A common mistake of small business marketing is to jump into the implementation without giving consideration to the business strategy.

It’s important to identify what you are trying to accomplish before you map out specific web pages you’d like to have on the site.

There is no doubt that image is important. Old and outdated websites do little to attract candidates. In fact, they can harm your business. Job seekers (and prospective clients) will quickly move on to other sites if it appears that your business isn’t investing in itself.

Kurt Elster, Creative Director for Ethercycle, a Chicago-based web design firm believes in the importance of understanding the client’s intentions prior to proceeding. “For tech companies in particular, it is increasingly important to convey a fun atmosphere in order to attract talent that would otherwise go to start-ups,” notes Elster.

Your approach might be entirely different if you are in a more conservative industry or if you are seeking more seasoned and qualified employees.

Consider Ease of Use
Nothing frustrates a job seeker more than having to play, “Find the Job Opening” on a company’s website. Yet this happens all too often.

Links to the career pages are often placed in the bowels of the website; sometimes there aren’t any pages dedicated to talent acquisition.

“Your site should make it extremely easy to inquire about jobs, easily search and find the individual to contact and submit such requests digitally,” advises Barr. “I’d be remiss not to mention that your reply responsiveness makes a huge impact on the way you’re being perceived by job seekers.”

Common Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
Businesses often make the mistake of thinking if you build a great website people will come. This simply isn’t the case.

Organizations who are committed to using social media, blogs and PR to drive traffic to their sites are the ones who are best able to capture the attention of job seekers whose values align with that of the organization.

A blog posting by a current employee talking about a company event that is being celebrated in the organization or a Tweet from the president about a recent meeting with employees can go a long way into building a community of followers who would do anything to work for your company.

Zappos’ corporate culture is a great example of this. CEO Tony Hsieh was one of the first CEO’s to allow outsiders a bird’s eye view of life inside a company.

Hsieh’s transparency came through loud and clear on his blog, as there were no topics off limits. He quickly built a following, which includes job seekers flocking to work at his company.

Sites that look like everyone else’s recruitment sites disappear into the abyss. The overuse of stock photos and the standard, “Our people are our most important asset” line quickly turns candidates off.

Instead, consider hiring a professional photographer to take photos of your employees in action (be sure to have everyone sign a release) so candidates can get a good sense of what it would be like to be a part of your dynamic team. Incorporate videos of management and various team members so job seekers can easily see how they fit into the frame of your organization.

Your business website is the face of your company. Now is the time to refresh your look to maximize the efforts you are putting into your recruitment process.

© 2012 Human Resource Solutions. All rights reserved.

Author Bio:
Roberta Chinsky Matuson
is the President of Human Resource Solutions and author of the highly-acclaimed book, Suddenly in Charge: Managing Up, Managing Down, Succeeding All Around, a Washington Post Top-5 Leadership pick. Sign up to receive a complimentary subscription to Roberta's monthly newsletter, HR Matters