You vs. Everyone Else
The tech market is fierce. To get the talent you need, you’ll want to optimize every tool in your arsenal.
Searching for and hiring skilled technology resources remains a top challenge for industry managers. The good news is, Boston has managed to carve a space among the top three technology & innovation hubs in the country. Technologists of our future are staying in Boston and the region after graduating from among the hundreds of universities and colleges in our midst.
The bad news is that the technical skills in most demand require more and more specialization, and experienced talent have a choice of many companies in which to work.
So, every move in your HR plan has to be on point to make your company shine among the many other companies vying for these resources. This starts with the second most important page on your site. Your Careers page.
Where ‘Who You Are’ Comes to Life
Men and women do not live by salary alone. When a technologist has a queue of companies looking for his/her skills, that person has the opportunity to step back and assess for more than just the salary the company is offering.
The truth is, even a mid-level developer role becomes a truly interesting opportunity if you position it right. A lot of work went into your website in order to sell your product, but your online presence should speak as much to talent as it does to your clients. A great career page can address a range of potential employees by giving all who visit a window into what it’s like to work at your company.
When done right, a Careers page offers just enough information and flavor for talent to know fairly quickly if the fit is right, and if their skills are commensurate for the role/ company. Also, they can easily apply with just a few clicks.
Getting it wrong
Conversely, a poorly organized careers page could be saying many of the right things but a few mistakes can set you back in the minds of your prospects. When, according to LinkedIn, only 25% of prospective candidates are actively seeking a job, your careers page has got to go into overdrive to deliver your message and remain sticky enough to keep potential employees on the hook.
With so much on the line, it’s surprising that so many companies are hitting a dead note when it comes to the page. Some of the simple mistakes that have a large impact:
- Your page is little more than a job board — a list of vacancies is all that’s there along with your logo and corporate statement.
- It speaks in cliché — honest, interesting language and simple compelling visuals are all it takes. Industry speak only hurts your argument.
- You leave out the ‘why’ — you’ve got less than 3 seconds to convince them, cut to the chase. Tell them why.
- You’re a part of a larger whole — a lot of corporate offices don’t have control of the brand site, much less the careers page.
Getting it right
Get real. Check out some company career pages. Now, at first glance, which ones stand out? Chances are, the pages that speak to you, speak to job seekers for one reason: they create an authentic view into company life. Videos into staff collaborations and social life. Employee blogs. Short content that tells just enough and leaves out all the jargon and “selling” language. For anyone contemplating a move to your company, an authentic view does more for your brand than anything else.
Adjust your fit. For companies interested in bringing in creative thinkers and specialized talent, a careers page can introduce you to candidates who come from a diversity of backgrounds. The SpaceX Careers page does it beautifully, showcasing employees and highlighting the different industries that led them to ‘now’. If you’re looking for people who bring more than just a defined set of skills, telling a variety of employee stories helps potential candidates open themselves to what you have to say.
Tell a good story. What’s your mission? Your passion? How do you think as a company and who are some of the "change makers" who can bring that story to life? Every employee brand is a story, and each is a representative of what makes you unique. That differentiation is essential to attracting the best talent in the market.
Be mobile-friendly. If you haven’t already optimized for mobile, the time is now. With so many potential suiters looking for talented technologists, sites that ask applicants to zoom and shift screens will no doubt get bypassed out of hand. The secret is to streamline information the user wants and needs, adjusting the content required to a mobile-friendly volume.
Bring in your SEO. It's interesting how some companies SEO optimize their site only to stop short of their careers page. Keep the open positions and job titles within the realm of understanding (don’t get tricky or clever) so that users/applicants find you fast and understand you quickly. Yes, content should set you apart from other companies, but tip your hat to keywords when you can.
Show your stuff. Chances are if there’s a product or service you deliver you can create an animation or a game to make it interesting. If you develop a technology, apply it. If you stream music, like Spotify, then show employee playlists to highlight your people. Just keep it light and make sure it all fits into your corporate culture.
Stay away from humor. Rule of thumb: just because you think it’s funny, that doesn’t mean everyone does. You need top talent, but not everyone will get the joke. Use humor sparingly.
Walk in their shoes. No one likes walking into a company not knowing what to expect. A careers page can outline your process, how long it will take, what a candidate can do to prepare. A great page makes it easy to fill in an application with just a click.
Finding your zone
Your Careers page should take time and deliberation to create. Invest in it, maybe find some employees who can honestly evaluate it and work with you to make your business the one that stands out among others. Video doesn’t have to be expensive to apply, but it has to be smart. Short, interesting employee-made videos go far further than rote, bland ‘corporate capabilities’ videos ever would. Keep what’s corporate on your homepage. Use your career page to power the people who are behind the scenes. Says James Melvin, Tech Recruiter at Hollister Staffing, "Your site is your first handshake with potential employees. Show them what you've got."