How to Optimize Your Career Page in 3 Simple Steps
Recruiters are such special snowflakes! So focused, so driven to build relationships over data sets. Coming from a lifelong marketer, this is high praise — conversion rates and optimization tests are my bread and butter (and jam, come to think of it).
While I appreciate that your job isn’t about what color button will drive .5% more clicks, or which display placement provides an extra fraction of a minute on the page, I’ve noticed some easy wins you might be missing on your career pages.
Come on into my world for a few moments, and let me show you three actionable secrets to moving from the serviceable career portal you’re currently tolerating to a high-converting, landing-page-style career page that truly resonates with your visitors.
Career Page Secret 1: Match Your Message
Go ahead and ponder this: 90% of visitors to the average Career Page bounce. That means your possible prospect clicked the link or advertisement for your career page, took a millisecond gander, and left.
1. They didn’t read the positions available.
2. They didn’t click to find out more.
3. They sure didn’t gasp with delight.
In fact, the only breathing involved was a disgruntled sigh. When I see high bounce rates (like 90%!) happening on one of my banner ads, my gut tells me that there’s a message mismatch.
What’s a message mismatch?
A message mismatch occurs when the messages that your visitor receives from an ad or from your main site don’t line up with what they see on your landing page — your careers page, in this case. To know for sure if this is what’s happening to you, look at the ads or links pointing to your career page:
- Do the first words that they read on the page (maybe Careers or Current Opportunities or Work with Us) match the link that they clicked to get there?
- Does your career page look like it belongs to the rest of the site? Is the logo present, are the colors similar, is the font the same? Is the imagery similar or (preferably!) the same as the area that they clicked from?
… Or is your career page pretty generic:
- Is it largely devoid of branding, or (disgruntled sigh) branded by a third party that they’d never recognize?
- Is it missing the language that brought a candidate to click in the first place?
See, when we plunk candidates down on a mismatched page like that, they lose their footing, and we lose their trust.
Take your time to match your career page to the messaging and imagery that brings your prospects in to start with.
Career Page Secret 2: Get So Emotional, Baby
Stop me if you’ve heard this one: It’s late at night, and you’re finally finishing up some online tasks that have pretty much prevented you from eating all day. Out of the corner of your burning eyes, you see an ad with a gleaming slice of pizza, its steam curling from its golden crust, the cheese on the slice stretching away from the pie.
A grid of coupon-like squares and text take over the screen, replacing your heavenly pizza.
Like it or not, you were lusting after that pizza, and the clunky coupon page did absolutely nothing to satisfy your urge. Beyond the total message mismatch, that grid prompted no emotion.
Likewise, whatever way you got a candidate to the career page, you want them to get emotionally invested in your company once they’re there. It’s probably not going to be lust you’re after (no judgement! You do you), but here are more useful examples:
Inclusion, prestige from National Geographic:
We offer a unique opportunity to be part of a world-class institution, a strong global brand, and an organization with a rich history of scientific discovery and exploration.
Easy enough for a brand like theirs, right? Ok, let’s get a little less famous. How about a software review company?
Driven, successful, powerful from TrustRadius:
We measure ourselves by the value we create for our stakeholders, and not by the size of our team, the number of features in our product, or the amount of capital we raise. We are building a culture that thrives on innovation and don’t believe learning stops in your twenties.
Go ahead and marvel at that kind of honesty in tech world — I did. Now, let’s go completely unsexy, but still rocking some solid emotion. How about a manufacturer?
Dedicated, secure from Rainier Industries:
We are committed to developing our people to become the best in the industry. We reward ourselves for hard work, dedication, and being easy to work with!
The easy to work with portion comes off a little better when you see the team member group shots (note: they are not stock photos!), but you still get the point. It’s a fun bunch that works hard.
Done and dusted.
Bonus: Once you start putting emotion into your career page, you’ll find that you attract similar types to your company. It’s a subtle kind of audience targeting — by driving the emotions your perfect candidate wants to feel, you’re pushing away the kind of candidates who aren’t comfortable with them.
Secret 3: Add Social Proof
This past weekend, my other half and I went patrolling the city for a new dinner place. We’d been here, we’d been there, that place was closed already … we ended up parked in front of two restaurants, one Japanese and one seafood, side by side. Radio on and A/C humming, we both hopped on our phones and set to online research. The results?
1. Price points: Almost identical.
2. Menus: Mouthwatering, and well-presented.
3. Wait times: None to speak of.
What made the difference?
Detailed, relevant social proof.
The seafood homepage displayed an elegant, descriptive pull quote from a local paper’s review. The header of their online menu had a carousel of Facebook reviews. Their footer had Yelp reviews. The Japanese place? For all their fanciness, they produced a graphic “5 stars!” with no reference.
The seafood place clearly had a landing page optimizer on staff. They got our dinner date dollars, and a review from yours truly when the night was over.
There’s no rule that says you shouldn’t bring social proof to your career pages — it baffles me that most companies don’t do it! Your employees are your single best source of intelligence and insight into the day-to-day of your company. Use them!
Here are a few ways to make the most of your social proof:
1. Get the deets: “I love working here!” isn’t as persuasive as “Awesome Company is truly committed to our career development. Last year, I attended three industry conferences with Awesome Company’s support, and my sales numbers have dramatically improved as a result.”
2. Selfies welcome: While you’re rocking on the testimonial front, show off the faces behind the words. We connect with people through their eyes and expressions, and a connection is exactly what you want from your potential candidates.
3. Keep it current: Unbiased votes like the “Best place to work” in your geography or vertical are fantastic …but only if those votes are recent. As a rule, keep reviews more than two years old off your career pages. You don’t want candidates wondering what happened since 2013 that you’re not telling them.
Use these CRO secrets to create hooks for prospective candidates to latch onto and try to connect with on an emotional level. After that, think of your career page as a way to tell prospective candidates how your company can make their life better! I know you have that part down pat.