What is a Career Site?

Hiring is at an all-time high: Businesses have never done as much hiring as they do today, and they’ve never spent as much money doing it. 

But is it efficient? 

In a lot of ways, hiring has changed dramatically due to smarter technology, Web 2.0, and emerging skills and jobs. However, career sites are virtually unchanged from the early days of the internet. They are built to invite prospective candidates to come and view jobs that interest them and then apply. Period.

Okay, okay. Granted, there have been changes in the way companies approach career sites – storytelling elements and a content-first mindset have emerged based on marketing best practices. However, as we move into Web 3.0, it’s time to think long and hard – is a career site just another tactical tool to expand the hiring funnel? Or is it a pillar of a larger talent acquisition strategy?

Before we get into that, here’s a quick look at what career sites are and how they’ve evolved over the last three decades. 

A career site, also called a career page, is a section of an employer’s website that features job openings and other employment-related information. Career sites typically follow the landing page design, where candidates can browse open jobs and learn more about hiring criteria, skill requirements, and existing employees. In a way, the career site is the employer’s pitch to convert interested candidates into applicants. 

Over the past two decades, career sites have gone from static to dynamic, expanding their content and allowing prospective applicants to interact with the site in multiple ways – apply for a job, read about the organization’s mission and culture, or view a video testimonial by an existing employee. However, career sites are far more transactional than other consumer websites. Think of it – it’s much easier to buy a car online than to apply for a job on a career site. The amount of information required is staggering!

Personalization: Why are Career Sites Still Lagging?

Career sites by themselves are just a collection of web pages and content. For them to be useful, one or more solutions are required – applicant tracking systems (ATS) or candidate relationship management solutions (CRM). Sure, there are CMS and ATS vendors who now provide career sites as an add-on solution. However, in most cases, these sites function as bolt-on solutions, on top of existing products. They are limited in their flexibility and can be quite difficult to upgrade as technology advances.

The trade-off is that there’s a lack of personalization and adaptability. A candidate may subscribe to the careers newsletter and receive regular communication on open roles, but when they click on a provided link, they are asked to fill in all personal details. Again. And this is a big issue with inbound recruiting today. Nurture campaigns, drip campaigns, and content marketing via career sites are all separate activities. The underlying intent might be the same – converting great-fit prospects into applicants, but they are a collection of different workflows, often managed by different people, across multiple tools. 

It is time we brought e-commerce thinking into the mix. For organizations looking to hire the best candidates, career sites are a crucial touchpoint. It is no longer just an extension of the recruiting funnel, but a core element of a company’s brand identity. 

Career Site as Product: Designing Delightful Digital Experiences

Bringing e-commerce thinking into career sites is the next big evolution, creating an evolving software application with a strategy and road map. So, how is this concept different from our present career pages?

  • Making your data work for you

Like a digital product, data needs to inform all decisions when it comes to maintaining or building a career site. Pageviews, heatmaps, and click-through rates are already being used. However, they are more descriptive and don’t offer insights that help make the experience more memorable for users. 

Reimagining career sites as digital products means thinking of them as living entities that get smarter with every candidate interaction, using AI and machine learning to personalize content and automate marketing strategies. Think of consumer sites like Amazon – every time you log in, their recommendation engine provides a list of personalized product recommendations based on previous orders or browsing history. 

Candidates increasingly expect the same sophisticated digital experiences they get in their consumer (and social!) lives when applying for jobs.  

  • Adapting and evolve

Many organizations still view career pages as a one-time activity – set it up and it will fill that hiring funnel for as long as it’s updated with open positions and possibly content. Factors like UI/UX, language, and forms remain unchanged. As a result, these sites mushroom over time and multiple thread code bases become hard to work with due to size and complexity.

Instead, imagining career sites as a product ideally means a serverless model that can provide scale and flexibility on demand. It will also rely on automated SEO, remarketing ad tech, social sharing, and stellar content that drives engagement.

  • A thriving ecosystem

For recruiting intelligence to be valuable, career sites need to be thought of as ecosystems in their own right, instead of a project with a start and end date. This means multiple tools, data sources, and strategies working together toward a common goal. For instance, behavioral data from a programmatic platform flows seamlessly into the ATS and career site – offering valuable insights into candidate preferences. This data can be used to create personalized communication based on attributes such as job location, role, and work experience. All of these solutions will function as independent micro-services, working seamlessly to create a unified candidate experience (CX). 

The key here will be the speed and agility with which vendors can respond, update or iterate to serve changing marketplaces, candidate needs, and client requirements. 

  • Chunk content saves time

Recruitment marketers want to provide the most usable – and the most reusable – content possible, saving time, while increasing the value candidates get from your career site.

Creating content in chunks or thinking of them as components and modules based on the types of information you want to convey, is an efficient fix. A “chunk” is a discrete unit of content. It can be as small as a bullet point or as big as a book. It could be a paragraph, a section, a chart, a table, or an entire asset. In the career site context, a job description is a content chunk even as it may be a part of a bigger chunk (a blog post, say) and even as it contains chunks (skills required) that you could lift out and reuse, out of context. 

 Here’s a quick look at how career sites as a product differ from their current state – a collection of web pages.

If you’re still wondering why you should overhaul your career site even though it’s meeting your current needs, consider the following:

  • End users expect a regular cadence of fresh content; this keeps them engaged and encourages them to return – again and again and again. And again.
  • Developers’ talents are better used building software, without the distraction of hardcoding content.
  • Client content creators and editors want self-service control over their narratives, with a simple system to input and push content live in real-time.

Content Management as a Service

As we’ve now established, there’s a gap in the market between what organizations need and the current state of career sites. Let’s draw a parallel: in the world of marketing, we’ve seen the emergence of headless CMS that gives users the ability to manage content in one place and still deploy that content across any presentation layer they choose. In short, it’s a low-code alternative to traditional CMS. Headless CMS has become popular because it allows users to quickly repurpose content and deploy it at scale. Traditionally, CMS clubbed everything into one big bucket – images, HTML, content, CSS, etc., which made it impossible to reuse content because it was intermingled with code. 

In the HR tech world, however, we are yet to come across a seamless API-driven model that makes content infinitely reusable. A big part of the problem is how the vendor ecosystem views career sites. It’s typically an afterthought to ATS and HCM, designed more as a tactical data-gathering data tool rather than a platform that empowers users to do more with their content. 

The solution is designing career sites as managed content services, where the team can deliver an end-user experience via API. Users can easily take control of these sites for greater UI and cost-effectiveness. 

Here are a few features and capabilities that career sites as content management services will offer:

In addition to better technical architecture, envisioning career sites as a managed content service also offers several end-user benefits, including:

  • Multi-language support: Easily manage and distribute content on a single website in multiple languages. This means increased geographic reach, while eliminating the need for multiple sites.
  • Hub pages: Consolidate all content across showcase pages in one location, filtered by topics, categories, or locations for a terrific candidate experience. 
  • Customized content: Use customized page and section templates as building blocks. Add various job lists, job alert modules, data capture forms, recruiter contact info, and more.
  • Efficient solutions: Quickly copy successful pages to edit and repurpose for new campaigns. Use dynamic content to edit the site and tie relevant jobs to new pages.
  • Smart analytics: Adapt content strategies by measuring page activity and reviewing analytics from the overall site in a centralized dashboard.
  • Brand Identity Protection: Maintain brand integrity and streamline team workflows with two user levels: editors create pages, and publishers edit pages to ensure content is on-brand.

So, teams can quickly adapt to writing articles, promoting events, sharing timely content, and connecting with candidates like never before. Career sites as a managed content service is a valid extension of the recruitment strategy, further bringing branded assets and optimized content to life. It allows recruitment teams to have more control over the site to create and edit pages exactly when needed and “go live” in minutes.

Conclusion

A career site as a managed content service is the next step in the evolution of the career page, centering on structured content in the form of a model. This model defines and organizes content into different types or building blocks. These models are tailored to the needs of each organization, so recruiters and editors aren’t stuck with the overly prescriptive page templates of a traditional CMS.

By combining structured content with a managed content platform, hiring teams can increase efficiency, create consistent content across channels, and future-proof their content operations.

And an API-first platform can scale up for the most demanding digital experiences. This includes multi-channel candidate experiences, localized sites for multinational organizations, dynamic websites, and responsive mobile apps. 

The platform will help manage the full content lifecycle. This includes decoupled delivery capabilities, back-end customization, a tailored user interface, and exposed tooling and frameworks. With this, organizations can drive cross-functional collaboration and build functionalities on an as-needed basis. 

Looking to the future, there may be dedicated career site app stores that will extend the functionality of the managed content platform for almost any needs organizations may have. 

Ready to take your career page to the next level? Let us show you what we can do! And don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn.

FAQs

What is a career site?

A career site is a dedicated section of a company’s website where job seekers can find information about open positions, company culture, and the application process. It serves as a central hub for all things related to employment opportunities within the organization.

Why are career sites important?

Career sites are essential for attracting top talent, showcasing the company’s employer brand, and providing a seamless application experience for candidates. They help companies stand out in a competitive job market and attract candidates who are the right fit for the organization.

How can I create an effective career site?

To create an effective career site, focus on clear and concise job descriptions, engaging content that highlights your company culture and values, easy navigation, and mobile optimization. Make sure the application process is straightforward and provides a positive experience for candidates.

What features should a good career site have?

A good career site should have a user-friendly interface with easy navigation, a search function for job listings, detailed job descriptions, information about company culture and values, employee testimonials, and a seamless application process.

How can I drive traffic to my career site?

You can drive traffic to your career site by optimizing it for search engines (SEO), promoting it on social media channels, participating in job fairs and industry events, and engaging with potential candidates through targeted recruitment campaigns.

What role does a career site play in employer branding?

A career site is a crucial component of employer branding as it helps companies communicate their values, culture, and opportunities to potential candidates. It showcases what makes the company unique and attractive as an employer, helping to attract and retain top talent.