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Responsive approach to candidates

Mon, 22 Feb 2016 | Sue Weekes
Angry phone


Isn’t it about time you took an honest look at your careers site?
DEFINED: Responsive design is where a device is optimised to be used across a range of different devices from desktop to tablets and smartphones. It means the site will re-size and adjust to whatever screen size the candidate is using. There remains debate about the ‘responsive versus adaptive’ design approach; the latter is where the design adapts to pre-defined screen and device sizes, and can provide a more dedicated experience across different devices. According to Jamie McGregor, business development manager at 4MAT, which provides website design and development and digital services to employers and recruiters, the responsive approach will generally cover most of what modern sites need but there may be a small percentage that want a different experience and workflow for mobile, which an adaptive approach might provide. Discuss this with your website developer.

When individuals click a tab that says ‘Work for Us’, they have high expectations of what follows. They want to learn about the culture of the company, its mission, people who work there and, of course, current vacancies. They want the site to load quickly and be easy to navigate on a device of their choosing.

4MAT’s McGregor believes many employers fall down on the basics. Attraction and hiring are still viewed as separate processes and “not connected parts of an overall journey”. So if you haven’t reviewed your careers site recently, it’s high time you did.

(1) Use it yourself

Access your website as if you are a candidate; run through all potential experiences such as browsing for jobs, finding out about the company and applying for vacancies.

“Get a feel for it as a user journey,” says McGregor. “It gives a far better way of deciding where to bring in changes. Think of the candidate as a customer: if a recruiter wouldn’t be happy with the experience, then it’s not meeting the needs of the modern candidate.”

Dan Kirkland, head of operations at recruitment technology developer TribePad, also recommends asking recent hires what they think. “After a couple of weeks many of them will be comfortable enough to give you honest feedback,” he says.

(2) Find and apply with ease

One of the big questions to ask is, how easy/difficult is it to find and apply for jobs? Kirkland says: “You only have two seconds to make an impression; if they can’t find what they are looking for in that time, you’ll lose candidates,” he says, adding that employers must make sure the search includes keywords and location, and the ability to share their jobs on social media networks.

Nick Leigh-Morgan, founder of the free recruitment applicant tracking system iKrut, says application forms are still too lengthy, “or candidates are forced to create an account”, he says. “An applicant should be able to apply in 30 seconds maximum.”

(3) Sell yourself

“To attract the best candidates, you have to sell to them as much as they are selling to you,” says Leigh-Morgan, who believes many organisations don’t apply the same thinking to their careers site as they do the rest of their company’s web presence.

McGregor agrees and says that even in industries where the e-commerce model now rules, such as retail, there is still a “shocking disparity” between how companies engage with customers compared to candidates: “If employers took the same trouble with their candidates as they did their customers, their hiring statistics would look very different.”

(4) Invest in good content

Relevant, updated content is what will get you noticed on search engines. Many firms set out with good intentions but quickly find regular updates require time, effort and money. But as McGregor points out, not only will fresh content bump you up the Google rankings but also make you less reliant on job boards to promote your agencies, so saving you money.

Leigh-Morgan says profiles of current and recent hires outlining their experiences within the organisation are a must-have and also recommends making vacancy lists more interesting by using video-based job descriptions to supplement the words: “Seeing and hearing their potential boss would be a big plus and make the company look very innovative.”

(5) Make sure it’s responsive

Test your site in the mobile space. It is imperative it is optimised for viewing across a number of different devices, especially mobile. “Over 20% of candidates are now applying for jobs on their mobiles and, if it is difficult on the first page they land on, they’ll go somewhere else,” says Kirkland.

Don’t just review the first page in the mobile space, but go through the process of finding and applying for a job. To make this part of the process easier, make sure candidates can apply by taking their details from another social profile or by pulling their CV from cloud storage services like Dropbox or OneDrive.

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