Career Websites Need More Than Just Great Content

by Sharlyn Lauby on August 22, 2012

(Editor’s Note: Today’s post is sponsored by iCIMS, a leading provider of Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) talent acquisition software solutions for growing businesses. iCIMS announced this month a new feature to their Recruit solution  – Career Site Search Engine Optimization (SEO). It enables recruiters to better position their company career sites in search engine rankings. I hope you find the information as interesting as I did!)

Back in 1996, Bill Gates penned an article titled “Content is King”. My take-away from the piece is that the popularity of the Internet has had a significant impact on both the quality and quantity of information available to us. From a business perspective, it means that for us to get our message in front of our audience, we will need to be smart about it. Very smart!

Bottom line: We will have to optimize our web content so it shows up in the right places and is seen by the right people.

Fast forward to 2012. A few weeks ago, I attended a webinar hosted by Susan Vitale, chief marketing officer at iCIMS. She shared a couple of stats I found incredibly interesting.

  • In 2011, 76% of job seekers found jobs using a search engine (that’s a 45% increase over 2010).
  • Google has 11 billion queries per month, of which 226 million of those are job related.

recruiting, talent, talent management, icims, software, career, network, optimization, SEO, website, career siteThis information tells me that obviously Bill Gates was right – the Internet has opened up the depth of information available to us. And Susan Vitale is correct – it’s not just general information about your favorite celebrity or soccer team. It’s job related info as well.

So for us human resources pros, we can’t just build a pretty career site with cool videos.

Because in today’s marketplace, if we build it … that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll come. In fact, that doesn’t mean they even know it’s there. The amount of competition for our attention is that overwhelming.

The question then becomes: How do we get job candidates to see our company’s nifty career site? That, after all, is the first step in the recruiting process – getting a potential candidate’s attention.

Ideally, we want the company career site to be found using organic search. That’s when someone goes to their search engine, types in a few words – let’s say “software engineer New Jersey” and our company shows up. Now you might be saying to yourself, there’s a problem. Job board aggregators will have lots of software engineer opportunities in New Jersey, so they’ll show up first. Well, that’s true but it’s not necessarily a problem.

In recruiting, it’s rare we put all of our eggs in one basket and have one source for applicant flow. Think of the job aggregators as one of our sources – and that’s good. We want candidates to see the company everywhere: on job boards, on social media sites like LinkedIn and Twitter as well as when they visit our nifty career website. Yes, ultimately we want candidates to engage with us on our career site. But we have to use multiple methods to get them there.

Back to our conversation about organic search.  iCIMS has a new Career Site SEO feature that’s helping companies improve the search ranking of their career websites. Here are a few of the ways they are achieving results:

  • Adding a branded domain (such as .jobs) to your company career site
  • Setting up multiple microsites representing unique positions or locations
  • Integrating your company career site with social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter
  • Making your career site mobile friendly (A big plus considering how many smart phones are out there!)
  • Optimizing career sites for both domestic and international recruiting

You might be thinking – “Sharlyn, I’m an HR pro not a marketer. How am I supposed to know how to do all this SEO stuff?” The answer is you don’t have to. Because iCIMS does all the heavy lifting for you. This is clearly one of those times when it makes good business sense to tap into the resources around us. And we get to stay focused on the daily operation and goals of the organization.

Several companies you might be familiar with have already started using the Career Site SEO feature with positive results – Hertz Rental Car, Sharp, Sirius Satellite Radio and Sodexo to name a few. As a part of the service, iCIMS provides a traffic report to show it’s working (think of it as your own Google Analytics report for your nifty company career site).

Frankly, the biggest challenge I see with the Career Site SEO feature is the whole “career site” part. Once you’ve optimized your career site and everyone’s checking it out…it’s essential to make sure the career site is good great awesome! Here’s where the content is king remark comes into play.

  • Your career site should be intuitive to use.
  • Content should be searchable.
  • Give visitors realistic photos and video of what it’s like to work there.
  • Make the application process short, easy and painless.
  • Create ways for visitors to share your site with others (with and without social media).

At some point, your company will make a significant investment into a gorgeous career site. [If they haven’t done it already.] The goal is for people to see it and apply for jobs. In order to make that happen, it must be optimized.

If you’re interested in learning more about iCIMS new Career Site SEO feature, visit their website. You can also stay in touch with the great things they’re doing by reading their blog, liking their Facebook page or following them on Twitter.

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