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BRANDE : Career Sites

May 3, 2017

If Your Career Site Could Talk, What Would It Say?

According to Manpower Group’s latest employment outlook survey, employers in all U.S. regions and industry sectors expect rapid headcount growth. As the competition for talent continues to escalate, now is the time to prioritize your recruiting efforts and differentiate your talent brand. A digital experience may ultimately be the deciding factor that urges your ideal candidate to click that “apply” button with confidence. And while all that shimmers isn’t gold, your most important recruiting asset could be your career site, so here are some simple steps to make sure it’s effective, efficient, and aesthetically pleasing.

Be Mission-Driven

Creating a career site that is beyond a job listing means that you must adapt and learn how to speak to today’s top talent. Modern-day candidates are eager to make their mark on the world, create a profound difference, and contribute to a greater vision. They are motivated by more than money — they want depth, meaning and purpose, and are placing an increasing emphasis on joining mission-driven organizations. They want to be emotionally connected to their position and the company that they choose to work for. Without a doubt, your career site should have the ability to answer questions like “what inspires me to come to work every day,” and “why did I choose to join this organization in particular?”

Does your career site convey your brand mission? Do you display how your employees feel about their work? Most importantly, does it share what it means to be a part of your organization? If the answer to any of these questions is “no,” boy do we have to talk.

Embody Your Employer Value Proposition

In order to construct a winning career page, you must develop a structure that is creative, interactive, usable, and authentic. If you have read any of our content that stresses the importance of creating an employer value proposition, you know that it a key element of your internal and external communications, attracting your ideal talent, and retaining your top performers. Employer branding messages that aims to portray your organization’s dynamic work culture shows exactly what you stand for and empowers prospective candidates to join your workforce.

Lead With Your Corporate Culture

Content is king, and visuals are an increasingly influential aspect of employer branding. A combination of fresh copy and compelling visuals will tell your brand story through the perspective of your team and showcase the daily life of the office. Showing a passionate and enthusiastic company culture creates a strong connection with potential candidates.

Let Your Team Speak For Itself

The recruiting landscape is entirely dynamic. Millennials are entering the workforce with staggering numbers, and technology plays an even larger role in the talent acquisition process. This paper covers the top 5 talent acquisition trends to start preparing for now.

A picture is worth a thousand words. Put your employees at the forefront, after all, they are the heart and foundation of the organization. If an asset of working for your organization is that it is highly team-oriented, prove it. Using eye-catching visual communications that showcase your environment, culture, and team interaction will increase the impact and credibility of your career site. This will compel potential candidates in a way that even the most extensive text can not. Those who are eager to build lasting relationships with a team that is committed to a common goal are motivated by seeing real employees, real environments, and real opportunities.

April 8, 2013

How to Avoid the 3 Biggest Employer Branding Pitfalls

I travel around the country giving presentations on employer branding and building and promoting an employer value proposition. I usually highlight employer brand success stories. But as major brands like Goldman Sachs and Zynga stumble into PR crises, I thought it might be useful to help your company avoid the most common employer branding mistakes.


Don’t be inauthentic
Your employer brand embodies your employees, your culture, your vision, and your values; these are impossible to fake. So if you’re a fast-paced company with an entrepreneurial culture, don’t market yourself as a laid-back environment with unlimited vacation days.
I remember looking at the careers site for BP several months after the 2010 oil spill and being shocked to see that it looked the same as before the spill. Surely the eco-minded Generation Y or Gulf Coast residents affected by the disaster might hesitate joining the company afterwards? But there was only one acknowledgement of the situation – a tiny text link on the sidebar that asked “Why is it a good time to join BP?” Why indeed?

BP Careers, November 2010

Don’t get lost in the crowd
The are dozens of salty snacks on the market, so how does Doritos stand out? By having an attitude: Coming in crazy flavors with cool names and bright packaging. In the same way, your employer brand has to be distinctive. Avoid bland themes like “Grow your career with us” or “We offer work-life balance.” Almost any job can become a career and almost every job lets its employees go home at night.

Don’t get stuck in the facts
So many careers websites begin with, “Company X was founded in 1950 and now operates out of 75 offices in 12 countries.” Does that year mean the company is old-fashioned? Do those 12 countries mean employees get to see the world? Do the 75 offices mean employees can be transferred against their will?
Stand-alone facts like those can be both boring and confusing, a deadly combination for anyone looking to top motivate talent. Remember, you’re trying to create an emotional connection, so facts and numbers can only get you so far. Instead, talk about how your company helps people’s lives. Let employees share their stories. Show your workplace. Highlight employee events, rewards, volunteer work. Never be boring.
Be authentic and differentiated, and add an interesting and emotional component to your recruitment messaging.  If you can’t always leave them laughing, at least leave them hungry to learn more.
Let me know If you’d like to learn more  on LinkedIn, on Twitter, or right here in the comments.
April 19, 2011

Just when you thought you were cool, augmented reality bites HR

You’ve already created a careers page that’s separate from your main site. You’re posting news and photos on your Facebook careers page and talking to applicants on your Twitter careers profile. You’ve set up your company’s Careers tab on LinkedIn and put videos of your office life on YouTube. What’s next?
Get ready to add AR to your HR. AR stands for augmented reality, an exciting new technology that will change many of our interactions with the world, including job searching. What is it? Applications that use augmented realityoverlay links, images, and information onto whatever you’re viewing on your mobile device’s screen. In a way, it’s no different than the scoreboard superimposed over the live broadcast of a baseball game. But in other ways, it’s a whole lot more.
Review sites such as Yelp! forsee using augmented reality to get information on whatever restaurants are around you. You’ll be able to simply point your smartphone at a restaurant’s storefront and see information displayed over the image, such as reviews, menu prices, or even the restaurant’s history. Point your phone at a crowded bar and you may be able to find people who are currently tweeting, or logged into Facebook – or looking to date.
The possibilities for recruiting are obvious. With the right app, a job-seeker could point their phone at a building or office and immediately see what positions are available. Links would appear that lead to videos of employee testimonials. The job-seeker would be able to have an application form sent to them by email, or even to schedule an interview – after all, they’re already holding their phone! Both the ease and the “wow factor” of such an innovative process will make sure that your company stands out in the crowded employment marketplace.
In fact, CareerBuilder is already pursuing this technology, as is CompanySpot in the Netherlands. The Dutch employment firm, which provides information on salaries and benefits to job-seekers, declares on its website, “What exactly is happening behind the large glass door of the headquarters across the street? Point your mobile at the building and you’ll know.”
Augmented reality applications for talent recruiting aren’t quite here yet, but they’re coming. Just as companies that scoffed at marketing on Facebook and Twitter eventually realized their mistake, recruiters who dismiss AR may soon find themselves scrambling to keep up. I’m excited about the possibilities that augmented reality offers and I’ll track its progress, both here and at my LinkedIn group Your Digital Brand.
So enjoy “regular” reality while you can – it’s about to get augmented!
March 22, 2010

Corporate Career Sites: All You Really Need to Know You Learn from School.


Is revamping your Corporate Career site on your to-do list? Has it been there for more than 6 months because trying to keep up with the latest trends and technology is too scary?

Here’s a thought to cheer you up. What if, instead of Talent Acquisition, you were responsible for Student Enrollment at a mid-tier college? What if you were branding your Value Propositions to 16 -18-year olds? Being a smart marketeer, you would no-doubt want to incorporate all the bells and whistles that would appeal to today’s teens, but who’s more wired than they are?

Now THAT’S Scary!

Hopefully you’re feeling somewhat better now but wait…


Today’s college-bound senior will be tomorrow’s new job seeker. (Well, tomorrow in 4+ years.)


If you’re really trying to stay ahead of the Talent Acquisition curve, you’d be well advised to pay attention to trends among teens and keep up with the latest news from Student Enrollment Marketing front.


For instance:


According to a variety of research from Pew, Forrester and Alloy Media, today’s teens blog half as much as they did 3 years ago and only 8% use Twitter. They don’t send many emails, and their activities on social networking sites are declining. More and more, they are accessing college websites through mobile devices – iphones over others.


Personalized home pages, SEM, chat rooms and virtual tours are very effective in driving in students and making them take notice.


Bob Johnson is a consultant to Higher Education and each week offers a link to Best Practice web pages from Colleges and Universities- here are a few he’s highlighted in recent weeks:


The College of Charleston for a free campus tour app. (Not as pricey as you think.)


Elon University for bringing the value propositions front and center. (I like this for ease of navigation.)


Carleton College for their report on giving. (Definitely something that Millennials hold important.)

There are tremendous similarities in recruitment marketing and student enrollment marketing. The two pieces of good news for you is that the schools need to stay ahead of the technology curve, and they are usually very restrained in funding.

So I urge you to pay more attention to what they’re doing. In doing so, you may well get a bit more mileage out of any Career Site improvements you’re thinking of making. At BRANDEMiX, we do!


For more information about Career Site enhancements, leveraging your employe brand through your Career Site or Career Site usability studies, contact me.

April 12, 2009

It’s Web 2.009: Is your company’s career portal keeping up?

Congrats to my buds at Yahoo for winning ERE’s prestigious 2009 award for best corporate careers website last week. This accomplishment is particularly impressive in light of the type of questions they had to answer as part of the evaluation process. “How has the site has paid off or contributed to improved profits, better employees, and other quantifiable outcomes?” This was no beauty contest; it was about hardcore metrics and making a measurable difference in the greater business strategy.

Since I wasn’t part of the judging process (maybe next year), I don’t have their answers, but as a researcher, I do have lots of questions and so should you. Your company’s career website is the hub for all applicant traffic and you should be asking yourselves the hard questions about how it’s measuring up.

That’s where Web usability testing comes in handy. As the name implies, these are studies that enable you to evaluate your career site by testing it on users, employees, or even yourself.

In a study conducted almost exactly one year ago by Forrester Research entitled “Best and Worst of Career Web Sites,” the 12 websites examined all received failing scores due to poor performance and usability. Common problems included missing content and functions, flawed navigation flows, illegible text, and poor use of space. Do any of those sound familiar?

Step one is admitting you have a problem.

Usability testing can measure just about anything, but here are the key factors you need to consider:

Efficiency: How many steps did it take the user to accomplish pre-specified tasks (did the user develop carpal tunnel or fall asleep)? Was there a call to action? Was it easy to respond?

Performance: Did the user make any mistakes, and could they easily recover from them?

Recall: What information did the user remember afterwards. Does it communicate important information clearly and accurately?

Emotional connection: Would the user recommend the site to a friend? Is the site on-brand (i.e. did the experience match the expectation)? Did it make the user smile or cry?

Conduct your own Usability Research Study

After my last move, I set up the kitchen and called my kids in: “Quick! find me a bowl and spoon.” If they went for the right cabinet first, I knew I had successfully unpacked. They checked the dishwasher. Try again.

Your usability study will be a lot like that. Pick out a range of employees from various disciplines within your company and watch them perform 7 to 10 pre-determined tasks based on various scenarios. Be prepared with a pen and paper to take notes, and have a stopwatch ready so that you can measure time-on-task. Remember to reassure participants that their jobs are not on the line as you stand behind them with a stopwatch, or you’ll be witness to some rather erratic web browsing and sweaty palms. You won’t need to test it with more than five users. The first test will probably tell you 35% of all you need to know.

Task 1: First Impressions
Task 2: 5 minutes of free exploration (where did they go first, second, and third?)
Task 3: Learn about employee benefits (timed task)
Task 4: Apply for a job (timed task)
Task 5: Replace upload forms
Task 6: Give them a place to go (i.e. “job description”) and check the path they took
Task 7: Return Exploration: let them go anywhere they felt confused about or wanted to revisit. Capture the stops.

Save time at the end for some open-ended discussion on recall, branding and overall user experience. “What did you like best?” “What would you change?” While you’re at it, have some employees perform this test on one of your competitor’s sites. Use that as a benchmark for your site as you track it over time.

If the results are eye-opening (in a bad way), then it’s time for a sit-down with the head of your IT team. Be sure to come armed with the results of your test and a positive attitude, or you may experience some resistance. Have an open discussion about how to make usability improvements and offer your assistance in finding the right vendor that specializes in this work. Worse comes to worst, have your IT manager participate in your next usability study.