Unhappy Job Seekers are not Engaged Applicants

Unhappy Job Seekers are not Engaged Applicants

Anyone who has ever spent any amount of time as a job seeker can attest to the fact that when it comes to corporate career websites, there are the good, the bad and the ugly. Career websites are often the only point of contact between a prospective employee and a company, so it is crucial to get it right. Here, I uncover the Top 10 Things Job Seekers Don’t Like to see on a Website.


1.    A hidden careers site. Companies that don’t provide a direct link to their careers site on their homepage have already lost a large part of the battle. Unfortunately, those who do provide a “careers” link often place it at the very bottom of the page in tiny font. Unless advanced proficiency in Where’s Waldo? is part of the job description, a company’s careers page should be clearly accessible from the homepage – a reasonably sized link or tab placed above the fold.

2.    Complicated navigation. Congratulations! An interested and qualified job seeker has managed to locate your company’s careers page. But now what? If the applicant has to click more than once to begin their application, you’re doing it wrong. I’ve stumbled across countless corporate career sites with convoluted layouts with links that take me everywhere but the actual job listings. Navigation should always be as intuitive and as simple as possible – don’t scare away your best candidates with a poor user interface.

3.    Poorly written or vague job descriptions. Using a boring, generic job description is one of the quickest ways to make an applicant lose interest. Job descriptions should be specific enough to allow applicants to self-select, interesting enough so as not to portray a boring job, and perhaps most importantly: no typos!

4.    No information about benefits. Many job seekers are just as interested in benefits as they are in a job’s salary. While many companies understandably don’t reveal salary information during the initial recruitment process, those who offer generous or unique benefits should disclose at least some of these when advertising vacancies.

5.    No social features. A social presence is more important now than ever, and it is something that Generation Y job seekers look for. I have actually changed my mind about applying to a company because they weren’t on Twitter. It might sound harsh, but it is today’s reality: applicants want – and expect – a way to connect with the company in a social way, be it through LinkedIn, Facebook, or any other platform.

6.    No signs of employer branding. Often, a corporate career site is nothing more than a façade for a generic applicant tracking system; once you hit the “apply” button, you’re taken away from any semblance of the company’s own culture or brand. Incorporating your employer brand (including company culture, values and mission) into a careers site is another way for applicants to self-select based on fit.

7.    Very little information about life at the firm. A simple “day in the life” video or “meet our people” page can go a long way in increasing the attractiveness of a company to potential applicants. People want to know what it will be like to work there, and this goes beyond the information provided in a job description.

 8.    Bad web design. I asked one of my friends, a recent college grad and graphic designer, what her biggest pet peeves are when it comes to career sites. Her response: “You know a bad website when you see it.” No one likes a poorly designed website, especially in 2012 when platforms like WordPress make web design easy for anyone. Among the most offensive mistakes I’ve seen: poor readability, unprofessional fonts (I’m looking at you, Comic Sans) and corny, irrelevant stock imagery.

9.    Overly complicated or outdated application systems. There is nothing more frustrating to a busy job seeker than having to manually type your entire job history, personal biography, education details, etc. into an online application system. Multiple times. After uploading your carefully crafted resume in the requisite .doc format as prompted. Employers should stay on top of the latest application technology – not only does a sophisticated process make the applicant’s life easier, but it also signals that your company is tech-savvy, and that is a crucial requirement for the Gen Y workforce.

10.No details about the recruitment process. People don’t like uncertainty. The best career websites acknowledge this by explicitly laying out their recruitment process, including a timeline with details of each step. At the very least, corporate career sites should have the functionality to send an automated email confirming the receipt of an application.


What are your biggest job website pet peeves?


Be sure to tune in on April 18, 2012, when Joey V. Price, CEO and Founder of Jumpstart:HR, will be leading a webinar on HR.com to discuss ways to create a corporate website that attracts top talent. The presentation will highlight some best practices in online candidate engagement, practical applications to apply for your organization and an explanation behind the importance of a website that is intuitive, informative and inviting (“The Three I’s of Online Candidate Engagement.”). Register today.