At Pixid UK, we are helping to redefine the recruitment technology landscape with solutions that combine technical innovation with a deep understanding of ‘best practice’ in the broader candidate attraction, recruitment, assessment and management process. A key element in this process is the creation of effective recruitment websites, and this article offers you an insight into what we believe are the nine key challenges involved in developing a website that functions as the central hub of any successful online recruitment strategy…

1. Show your identity

In a competitive market like the recruitment sector, it is important to distinguish your website from the rest. Don’t just tell a standard story about your organisation; add unique elements that stick in the minds of visitors. Interactive elements and the use of short videos of current employees talking about what it’s really like to work for you can give candidates an invaluable snapshot of your culture and encourage them to explore the website in greater detail. Whatever content and imagery you use, make sure that they convey a sense of trustworthiness. You must convince potential candidates who are considering a career change that their details will be treated with respect and kept in a secure environment. At the same time, you must give them a practical and authentic insight into the culture of your organisation.

2. Construct the website for your target group

A recruitment website is more than a pretty shop window. It must be relevant to the needs and aspirations of your target audience.  Who are you trying to reach? What kind of opportunities are they likely to be looking for? What language style and level of information will they respond to best? What are the unique selling points of working for your organisation? The answers to these questions will shape the way you design and develop your website, so be sure to think through precisely what you are trying to achieve before putting the site together. What works for some – for example, a casual writing style, videos and the ability to submit application via social media – may not chime with others who expect to be addressed more formally and want  a more conventional application process. Offering a variety of choices can be the best way to accommodate these competing expectations.

3. Establish a solid foundation

Before getting started, make a list of the functionality and elements the website must possess. Your website should, of course, constantly evolve so you will need to decide which elements are needed straight away and which can be added at a later date. The goal is to establish a solid foundation with a clear identity and all the ‘must have’ functionality designed into the website from the start. At a minimum, this will include clearly presented vacancies and the opportunity to apply for them from any device. But your site must also offer transparent navigation,  effective search filters and an easy-to-complete application form. It’s all about making the site user-friendly and the relevant information easy to find.

Also remember that passive candidates may not wish to apply right now. Give them the opportunity to sign up for email alerts so that they can be automatically notified when suitable jobs become available.

4. Take privacy into account

Security of personal data is not an optional extra. The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has been in effect since 25 May 2018, tightening up on previous legislation and introducing big fines for organisations that mishandle personal data.

Determine which personal data will be collected, what will be done with this data and for how long it will be stored. Then incorporate this information into the privacy policy on your website. Candidate consent is a vital consideration. A ‘consent field’ in which candidates can tick a box to give their consent to you capturing and storing their data for a particular period of time should be an integral part of your application form.

5. Ensure good online ‘findability’

Once the site is online, you must be able to attract the right visitors. This requires good online findability, which can be achieved with effective search engine optimisation (SEO) including content that registers highly in the search algorithms. On the technical front, make sure that your designers take into account loading speed, mobile-friendliness, a site map and an SSL certificate. In terms of content, determine your optimal key words and incorporate them into all your pages and vacancy descriptions. Also add a ‘title tag’ and ‘meta description’ to every page.

In addition, you can create landing pages and dedicated campaign sites to reach certain target groups such as graduates. Certainly use internal and external links (link building) and harness the potential of social media to syndicate web content and improve your online visibility. And build on this process by adding new content such as news items and blog posts at regular intervals.

Remember, too, that over 58% of site visits are now from mobile devices and that some candidates may not know how to access their CVs via their smartphones. Making it possible to apply via social media channels will allow you to tap into this invaluable mobile-enabled talent pool.

6. The easier the application process, the better

Gone are the days when information-heavy and time consuming application forms ruled the roost. Candidates expect the application process to be easy and appealing. So clearly state how candidates can apply and which essential details they must submit. Make sure your application form is clear and concise or – better still – get candidates to apply via channels like LinkedIn and Indeed. At the very least, give candidates who access your site on their smartphones the option to enter a telephone number so that you can call them back at a later time.

7. Measurement is the key to knowledge!

Websites can only be improved if you measure visitor behaviour. Use Google Analytics to see which pages are visited, where visitors lose interest and how they navigate through your website before getting to a conversion point such as an application form. These and other techniques will yield invaluable insights into how well your site performs and how it can be improved and optimised. Also consider incorporating an online survey on your website to generate feedback from candidates and other people viewing your site. What impression of the company does your website give them? Did they encounter any obstacles or difficulties in navigating the website? Is there anything they would add to the site, or remove? Use the answers to refine your site and experiment with new ways to enhance the candidate experience. Then repeat the process,

Apply the same rigorous analysis to your online application process. If your statistics show that a particular question on your application form is causing candidates to leave the site, change or remove the question to see if it makes a difference. Equally, consider integrating your application process with psychometric testing to improve its effectiveness.

8. Extensive experience with recruitment sites is essential

Effective web development is a craft that calls for a powerful combination of technical expertise, industry knowledge, an understanding of your specific business needs and the ability to stand out in an increasingly noisy market place. So don’t cut corners or settle for ‘finger in the wind’ website solutions. Opt instead to work with a partner with a proven track record and the expertise to offer clear advice, propose cost-effective ideas and provide hands-on support throughout the web development process. And make sure that your front-end recruitment website is supported by a state-of-the-art applicant tracking and recruitment management system such as Amris. It’s an investment that will pay huge dividends down the line.

9. Exploit the latest developments

The market is continuously changing, so recruitment websites must continue to evolve. Use analytics to tweak and optimise your website and to test new functionality when appropriate. If your selection process emphasises personal strengths and aptitudes over formal qualifications, make sure that this is reflected in your content – for instance, incorporate storytelling and case studies that show your brand values in action and give candidates a real feel for the kind of organisation and working environment they will be joining.

Be mindful, too, that what works today may not work as well in the future.  Right now the use of SMS text messaging and video has become popular when presenting vacancies. That may change over time, and new technical innovations may generate opportunities that are currently unthinkable. So keep an eye on the latest developments!

The Pixid UK team has worked with some of the biggest and best organisations in the country to design and implement successful online recruitment strategies. Why not tap into our expertise? While we have shared some of our insights above, we have so much more to offer in terms of technology solutions, industry insight and knowledge of what it takes to excel in today’s rapidly changing recruitment/talent acquisition market. If you would like to have a conversation, get in touch today. We’d be delighted to hear from you.