Issue: Your Web site's "Career" page is the first (or only) experience that many potential applicants have with your organization.
Risk: Blow this opportunity, as many do, and those star applicants go to someone else's site.
Action: Benchmark your site against the top 25 recruiting sites, using the four questions below as your guide.
When it comes to recruiting, HR specialists need to accept a fundamental truth: You don't select them; they select you. That's why employers need to revamp the "Career" pages on their Web sites to focus more on "recruiting" and less on "hiring."
The best way to do that: Benchmark your efforts against employers who do it well.
"You need to look at your competitors, those people who are eating your lunch right now, and see what they're doing well," says Gerry Crispin of consulting firm CareerXroads.
Review other sites (including the top 25 listed below) and your own recruiting site with these four questions in mind:
1. Does it target the right people? Instead of trying to appeal to everyone, identify the kind of people you want. Show them that you target them, and "map" the career path you want them to take.
Examples: Marriott's career page prominently displays its "Working Mother" award. Nike and 3M promote their global locations. MetLife and Home Depot highlight the AARP. Mutual of Omaha directs women interested in sales to profiles of successful female sales employees. Progress Energy connects to high school pages. The Limited points to its employee-referral program.
2. Does it engage? Your site should quickly answer these two questions: Why should I come to work here? Why should I stay?
Such "branding" messages should turn off those you least want, while driving those you most want to take action.
"The message should be memorable, consistent and realistic," says Crispin. "You've got to say it and deliver it."
Examples: Pepsico personalizes its message with employee minibios that say "Why I joined" and "Why I stay." Xerox uses an "eXpress Yourself" integrated staffing message. Owens Corning offers "OC is me" videos of employees answering the "why" questions.
3. Does it inform? Brand the job, not just the job experience, by explaining the day-to-day experience, type of person required, type of work required and necessary skills. Include user-friendly navigation from the job-seekers' view, not from IT's view.
Key benchmark: How many clicks does it take to get from your home page to the job description? If you're at four clicks or fewer, you're doing well.
Examples: Yum! provides a step-by-step sample career-progression chart. McGraw-Hill shares stats on diversity. Whirlpool profiles employees and their jobs. Oracle dissects specific projects applicants could work on.
4. Does it respect the applicant? Acknowledge applicants when they apply. Tell them what steps to expect in the hiring process. Promise to protect their data and provide a status report on the job search (then follow through).
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