By Mark Swartz
Canadian Workplace Specialist
When you Google the name of your organization, what comes up? A link to your website’s homepage is almost certain to be there. Maybe also some citations referring to jobs you’ve posted online in the past, contact information, and media mentions of your workplace if there are any.
In essence, the homepage of your website is what Google, and your job applicants, will come across first. It will have an immediate impact on the impression that candidates form of your organization. So it ought to be inviting and easy to navigate.
Keep It Simple
There’s a temptation to jam the homepage with all the information you can possibly stuff onto it. The reasoning here is that you have so many possible audiences who’ll be viewing your site – current and potential customers, suppliers, jobseekers – that you’d better give everyone as much as you can to chew on.
This sort of thinking typically leads to the kind of homepage that just about blinds the viewer with its multiple sections and links galore. With so much to choose from, it can leave people paralyzed in terms of where to go and what to look for. That’s why a “keep it simple” approach can work best. Highlight the most important areas and let the viewer follow those key links that are most meaningful to them.
The Two Most Important Sections For Jobseekers
When potential applicants first visit your site, they will more than likely land on your homepage looking for two distinct links: About Us, and Jobs. When they click on About Us, they want to see the following elements:
• A description of your organization and what it is you do
• Some history of your company (when it started, how it’s evolved over time)
• Brief bio’s of your key personnel
• Press releases that you’ve put out to announce important news
• Financial reports if you’re a public company
When it comes your job postings section, applicants will be looking for a link on your homepage that says either Careers, Jobs, Employment, Work Here, Work For Us, or something similar. The most common word used these days is Careers, since it implies that working for your firm will have more depth than a basic job.
Once a candidate has clicked through to this section, they’d ideally hope to see your most current job postings. These could be displayed as simply as on a single page, one after the other, with an e-mail link where people can send in their applications, or via a more sophisticated approach, such as an internal search engine that allows viewers to seek out positions by category and geographic location, with applications being accepted through a back-end talent management system.
At a minimum your job ads should include a date showing when the position was first posted publicly. This way jobseekers can tell whether it’s too late to apply or not. Also each position should be written such that it features the nature of the role itself, duties and responsibilities, and qualifications/experience of the ideal candidate. If you can add a salary figure (either a range or flat figure is fine) it will bring a smile to the faces of many a relieved potential applicant, who will then know if this is a job within their compensation level.
Other Links To Include On Your Homepage
Two more areas that you can highlight on your homepage that appeal to potential employees are your company’s Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives, and any Awards you’ve received.
Regarding Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), this is something that an increasing number of employers are starting to boast about on their websites. You don’t have to be spending millions of dollars in philanthropic donations or the “greening” of your firm to have a CSR section. All you have to do is mention things like having an internal recycling program, giving a paid day off or two to employees so they can do volunteer work, sponsoring local amateur sports teams…anything that you do to enhance the community or environment is fair game.
As for Awards, not every employer will have something to add in this section. But if you do, it could include an industry award for having the best process, product or service; being ISO certified; getting named one of the top 50 local employers; or other such honours.
First Impressions Count
Even the smallest organization can afford a homepage that is jobseeker friendly. It’s more a matter of design than of techno bells and whistles. Don’t be so cluttered that it intimidates the viewer. Have your key sections easily accessible with highlighted links. Give some useful details in your About Us section, and have a separate area for Careers (updated regularly, of course).
Giving jobseekers what they most require is a good business practice. No need to spoon feed (or overfeed) them with too much information. But by being jobseeker-friendly the quantity and, more importantly, the quality of applications you receive will rise accordingly.