Throughout the course of a given month, we analyze dozens of career sites, and talk to a similar amount of practitioners who are constantly trying to get a grip on how they should design their careers pages. So, we thought we’d share some of the advice we give over and over again.

Why does career site design matter?
First off - why should you care about your careers page?

Simply, career pages are the number one most visited place during the job search, and they are the most trusted source of information about your company.

Almost every person interested in working at your company will go to your careers page. And, they will think the information here is accurate and represents what it’s like to work at your company. Have a Glassdoor problem? Seems like a great place to start sharing what it’s really like to work at your company is on your careers page. Fighting for talent in a regional or national battle with strong competitors, your careers page is a place where you can differentiate yourself vs the competition.

That’s why it’s worth spending time on this page.

Make the most out your visitors by capturing leads, not just applicants
Obviously we need an easy way for candidates to find relevant job listings and apply (see “mobile” below).

What the best companies are doing beyond the basics is to actually capture the names/emails of the many people who go to your careers page, but just aren’t ready to apply yet. These are candidates whose resume isn’t up to date, like their job, are still in school, etc. They just aren’t ready to apply for a job yet. Make it easy for them to stay in touch by leaving their email address. After you’ve got a list serve, send them real content that’s interesting and relevant to them – not just job postings!

Check out the talent network page on AT&T’s careers page. This is what we’re talking about, but I point this out also as an example of what not to do. They have WAY too many fields in this thing. I might as well go through the entire application process at this point. Name, email, and some optional fields for you LI profile, Github, etc is more than sufficient for your recruiters to source, and will drastically increase the number of people who sign up.

The age of transparency
Think about the last thing you bought (for me, it was a golf club). In today’s world, we do our research before making any sort of major purchase decision. And, we expect to do much of this research through the voices of others who’ve already used a product, taken a class, eaten at a restaurant, etc.

In HR, we call this the Glasdoor Effect. But, we all use Yelp, TripAdvisor, etc. It’s a part of our lives. For eCommerce companies, they make sure reviews are on their product page with services like BazaarVoice. It’s been said many times that recruiting is becoming marketing. And that’s true in many respects. This is one of those times when we should take a cue from marketing and add transparency to our careers pages through the voices of HR’s “customers” – our employees.

This doesn’t mean take three choice quotes from perfectly diverse people who look like (and in some cases are) models. It means in depth content that shows off life at the company. Feeling cheap? You can do this through Instagram as a minimum viable product. However, the best companies more and more are going with in depth employee content. Check out Goldman, and Google in this regard.

Design (user interface) matters
Beyond content, you have to get the UI right. Of course, your branding (fonts, colors, logo) should be apparent in the design of the site. Beyond this, you should also think about ways to make this look pretty. Use templates designed by others, or get the designer in your engineering group to weigh in. If you’ve got the budget, outsource this to a third party design agency.

We’ve gotten used to the beauty of an iPhone, or a Tesla, and now come to expect it even from something as simple as a pen. Imagine walking into a store and it was a total mess. You’d leave, especially if you were going to buy anything of importance here. It’s the same for your careers page. You don’t want people to say “gross” and walk out, right?

Yes, this had to be in here. It’s obvious, but still needs to be said. 90% of us check our phones within an hour of waking up, and 70% of us want to apply to jobs via mobile.

It reflects poorly on where your company is on the innovation scale if candidates don’t have a mobile friendly experience on your site. And, it increases your cost of hire by lowering the rate at which visitors convert to applicants.

Microsites drive engagement
The best careers pages breakup their core roles into microsites. A microsite is just a page that focuses on one specific role. For example, Account Executives, or Veterans, or people in the Boston office. If I’m an engineer and I stumble onto your careers page, no offense, but I don’t want to hear from a marketer about what they do day to day. I want to hear from 5 engineers about what it’s like to work at the company.

So, create content that’s specific to each of your key roles/affinity groups/offices, and then break this content up into easy to use, mobile friendly, branded pages. Make sure you’re still capturing leads on this page, and have defined calls to action back to relevant job postings. We want to convert candidates into applicants!

What’s next
Hopefully you learned something new, or got some inspiration from the above. If you want to see some great careers pages for inspiration, check out this list we put together a few months ago. Have another favorite page? Let us know in the comments.

This post originally appeared on the LifeGuides blog.

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