Your Career Portal is NOT about Your Company

02/27/2017 04:32 pm ET Updated Feb 27, 2017

If your career portal was designed with the overall goal of showcasing how great your company is, it may be missing the boat. Candidates have choices in this competitive market, and there are lots of great companies out there. To engage those top prospects, you should design career pages to address their questions and concerns, and differentiate how your company responds to them. If this sounds like Marketing 101, it is; in fact, Decision Toolbox CEO Kim Shepherd argued that the recruitment function is better suited to sit in Sales & Marketing in her recent blog “Should Recruitment Secede from HR?”

You may not be ready to make that step, but at least borrow a marketing tactic and look at your portal from the candidates’ point of view — your IT team refers to this as part of the “user experience” or UX. It’s a two-way exchange, and the best sites feature content that resonates with the users’ drives and motivations.

Part of what drives a candidate’s UX is the fact that changing jobs is a major step that impacts not only the candidate but also the candidate’s family and friends. We spend a huge percentage of our waking hours at work, and what we do for a living helps shape our identities. Our career choices have a huge influence on the extent to which we are able to achieve our life goals.

How does your company change employees’ lives?

Messaging, then, should NOT be about your company, but about the candidate. It should help candidates clearly see how working for your company will help them achieve professional and personal goals better than working for other companies.

In Parts 2 and 3 of this blog we’ll look at five questions and concerns that you should be addressing, including meaningfulness, impact on life outside of work, professional development, and the risk inherent in changing jobs.

As you address them, make sure that you back up the claims you make. It’s an important way to differentiate your company. For example, simply stating “We’re growing” doesn’t set you apart these days. Your top candidate may already be working at a growing company. Without backing up that claim, candidates are likely to hear “we’re growing” as the same buzz everyone else is pitching.

Make it personal

Instead, share WHY your company growth is attractive. Maybe that growth has created an environment in which great ideas are welcome — now you have the interest of candidates who are frustrated that their current employer won’t listen to them. Similarly, don’t just say, “We offer the opportunity to make an impact.” Share some examples of how current employees have influenced the direction of the company or enabled your company to reach new markets or customers.

An important step is to define your target audience. Each candidate will have different values and goals, but you should develop an ideal profile by looking at the top performers in your company.

Know yourself, know your audience

For example, if your company is made up of driven Type-A personalities who think nothing of putting in 70 hours a week, then work/life balance isn’t one of your selling points. Instead, present how the competitive spirit in your culture motivates people to excel, how you regularly and publicly recognize employees for achieving goals, and how compensation is directly tied to performance.

In contrast, the person who is a good fit for the highly competitive environment isn’t likely to do well in a family-friendly organization that encourages employees to be scout troop leaders or Big Sisters. No judgment here — neither way is right or wrong. The important thing is to know who is going to fit best, and then focus on what is important to that audience.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this three-part series on how to ensure your career portal sets your company apart in the job market.

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