Serious question time: When was the last time you looked at your careers page? You might think that it’s not that important a part of your recruiting strategy, but many college students and recent grads would disagree. In the 2013 AfterCollege Job-Seeker Survey, 71.8% of students said they prefer to find jobs through a company’s careers page.
In a past post, we looked at ten top university recruiting websites and outlined what made them exceptional.
You might be saying, “Well, that’s great for huge companies that have gigantic budgets to spend on web development and upkeep. I’m on a small team and we don’t hire hundreds of new grads a year.” If that’s the case, there are still a few easy steps you can take to make your careers page more accessible and appealing to students and new grads.
Remember that recruiting college students is all about brand, and it doesn’t take a huge budget to establish your brand online. Here are some simple lessons we can learn from top companies and how you can apply them to your own careers page. We chose a selection of companies—some with dedicated university recruiting pages and some without—to show you how you can incorporate elements of branding into your website, even if you run a small recruiting operation and don’t have a dedicated university recruiting staff.
Lesson 1: There’s nothing wrong with keeping it short and sweet
There’s no need to go on for page after page about your company’s mission and values when you can communicate those ideas in a few succinct sentences.
We love Kiva’s simple explanation of their company values:
Our core values of Transparency, Respect, Entrepreneurship, Accountability and Teamwork (T.R.E.A.T.) are the key to our success and come through in everything we do.
At Kiva you will find a team of mission-driven professionals who like to get involved, are willing to challenge the status quo and be silly.
In just a few sentences, the careers page paints a pretty clear picture of what the company is all about.
Similarly, Nasty Gal offers a brief but memorable introduction to their company culture:
At Nasty Gal, we value creativity, inventiveness and maintain a “no assholes” policy. We cater to an international cult of obsessed, super awesome fans and keep them at the heart of everything we do. Our growth is evidence of our devotion to our customers and our commitment to hard work and new ideas… but we never forget to have fun & keep it weird!
How to apply it: What is your company really all about? Develop an “elevator pitch” (a 30-second description of what you do, who your customers are, and anything that sets you apart). If you’re not confident in your writing abilities, get help from the marketing/branding department or your agency if you work with one. Doing this has double benefits. It’ll make your website copy more compelling, and it’ll also be beneficial to all other employees at your company. You’ll be helping everyone spread a more consistent message whenever they represent your organization.
Lesson 2: A picture is worth a thousand words. A video may be worth twice that.
Let’s say you’re choosing a hotel for your next vacation and you scope out the websites of two potential places. One has several paragraphs of text that describe the property—and that’s it. The other has images of the elegant lobby, sophisticated guest rooms, immaculate gym, gorgeous pool, etc. Which one would you be more likely to book? Being able to see a place makes it easy for you to visualize yourself there. And let’s hope that most of your employees at their jobs than they do at hotels!
Need a little inspiration?
We like SanDisk’s “A Day in the Life,” which features a former intern/recent college grad employee. You can see her arrive at work, socialize and collaborate with coworkers, and do some kickboxing in the company gym after work.
Airbnb has the advantage of a gorgeous office space that’s full of rooms that resemble their most popular properties, and they capitalize on the facilities on their Careers page. Our favorite part was their “Airbnb Does Mad Men” video, which does double duty of both showing off the offices and showcasing their goofy company culture.
How to apply it: You don’t need a ton of fancy video or photography equipment. Even just a few photos of your office and employees will make your careers page more enticing. Check out how Oracle incorporated images and text interviews with past interns onto their careers page.
Lesson 3: If you have a well-known consumer product or brand, take advantage of it.
It’s true that in past posts, we’ve said that relying too much on your consumer brand or assuming that students are familiar with it can be a fatal flaw when it comes to recruiting college students. However, if the target demographic for your product or service is college students or millennials, then it’s a different story.
If students are already familiar with your brand, you can absolutely use it to your advantage on your careers page.
Check out the Yelp careers page. The fun layout is instantly recognizable to anyone who has used Yelp’s reviews site, and the wording sounds a lot like content you’d find in a review with phrases like “Join our five-star team” and “working doesn’t feel like work.” Yelp also gets bonus points for using “College” as an employment category to make it easy to find their entry-level and internship opportunities.
Online gaming company Kixeye also has a careers page that’s indicative of their irreverent brand. Why put up a bunch of text about your company culture when you can convey the same information in a video game? Would-be applicants start by choosing between an RPG and a semi-automatic pistol and use the weapon to shoot at targets as they answer questions about their management style, career aspirations, and how they view their coworkers in the “Are you one of us” quiz.
Fashionable Warby Parker has a careers page that’s in line with its hip, young brand image. Potential applicants can click through an Instagram-like slideshow (which is probably no coincidence since Warby Parker has a strong presence on this social media platform) to see images of recent company events.
How to apply it: Make use of whatever aspects of your brand are easily recognizable. Use images of your products and copy that’s in line with your advertising or consumer brand. If students already know and like what your organization stands for, there’s no reason not to reflect that same personality on your careers page. Again, keep in mind that it doesn’t have to be as elaborate as Kixeye (although if you have the resources, go for it!). Even just incorporating a few layout changes or images of your product or logo on your careers page can make your brand stand out.
Lesson 4: Tell potential employees exactly what your recruiting process is like.
How do you want job-seekers to view your company? As a place that’s disorganized and arbitrary or transparent and fair in its decision-making processes? One way that you can make sure it’s the latter is by showing and telling job-seekers exactly what to expect during your recruitment process. This is especially important for college students and recent grads since this will probably be their first experience of going through a formal application process.
McKinsey & Company does a thorough job of preparing candidates with its detailed FAQ on the application process and its comprehensive 20-minute video filled with tips on how to excel in your job interview.
Ernst & Young also offers a treasure trove of resources such as videos, sample questions, and brochures on the company in their interactive “Interview Insider” section.
How to apply it: Provide a brief outline of your recruiting process. Let potential applicants know how long it generally takes you to get back to successful applicants and how many stages they can expect to go through. You can supplement this basic information with additional resources like FAQs and tips on what you’re looking for.
Lesson 5: Make it possible for people to show interest without actually applying.
One of the key elements of any successful university program is a talent network. Basically, you want to be able to continually develop your talent pipeline and nurture your relationships with students who are not yet ready to apply, but will be someday. A talent network can also help you track where your applicants are coming from and which of your recruiting efforts are most effective, which is the type of info that management loves to know.
How to apply it: If you don’t already have a talent network in place, look into getting one set up. If you use an ATS system, start by seeing if they provide any type of CRM function. If you already have a talent network, make sure you have a way of differentiating members who are still in school vs. those who have already graduated.
The next step: Which of these elements will be easiest for you to incorporate on your careers page? Which ones will require a little extra help from other people or departments? Get started on the easy steps and create an action plan for the ones that require additional support. Also, be sure to check out our post on top recruiting websites for some additional ideas.