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9 Tips for successful recruitment websites An interview with Sven Versluijs, SecureDesign
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9 Tips for successful recruitment websites

Secure Design has been a Carerix partner for the past seven years. The Leiden-based full-service internet agency specialises in developing websites featuring a direct interface with the Carerix ATS (Applicant Tracking System) The interface between Carerix and the website helps to optimise the services of recruitment organisations while also ensuring a better ‘Candidate Experience’.
“We have already built over seventy Carerix websites in the meantime”, says Sven Versluijs, owner of Secure Design. “We have many years’ experience in constructing job websites and would like to share nine tips for creating a successful recruitment site.”

1. Show your identity

In a competitive market like the recruitment sector, it is important to distinguish your website from the rest. Do not tell a standard story about your organisation, but add unique elements that stick in the minds of visitors. This encourages candidates to register or apply for vacancies.
Versluijs:
“For instance, consider interactive elements and use personal photos and videos to portray an image of your organisation or the organisation where people will be working. Add a ‘twist’ to the normal boring vacancy texts so readers feel like further exploring the website.”
But the site must convey a sense of trustworthiness. This will convince candidates who are perhaps considering a career change, that their details are being left in a secure environment.

2. Construct the website for your target group

Recruitment organisations often develop job sites without carefully considering the target group(s) they are trying to reach. For whom is the website intended? What are the Unique Selling Points (USP’s)?
Websites can only be designed once the target group and USP’s have been determined. When doing so, bear in mind what the target group is already accustomed to, the writing style that best suits the target group and the information presented on the website.
“For a young target group, you could, for example, decide to use a casual writing style, videos and applications via social media”, states Versluijs. “However, older target groups should, for example, be addressed more formally and be asked to provide their telephone number.”

Recruitment organisations often develop job sites without carefully considering the target group(s) they are trying to reach

3. Establish a solid foundation

Before getting started, make a list of functionalities that the website must possess now and in the future. Websites can develop over several years; so it is not essential to incorporate all functionality immediately. Determine which elements are needed straight away and which can be added at a later time. It is better to first establish a solid foundation, with a clear company identity and all ‘must haves’. For a recruitment site, this involves clearly presenting vacancies and offering the opportunity to apply for them. But it is also important to offer transparent navigation, effective search filters and an easy-to-complete application form. Versluijs says this will lead to a user-friendly website. “This means clients and (potential) candidates can easily find the information they are looking for.”
The website can then be expanded in the future, by incorporating other elements from the list compiled at the start of the process.

4. Take privacy into account

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has been in effect since 25 May 2018. This legislation introduces certain criteria for how organisations must handle personal data.
Determine which personal data will be collected for candidates and clients, what will be done with this data and for how long it will be stored. Then incorporate this information into the privacy policy on your website.
“Also make sure candidates provide consent for registering certain data and storing it for a particular period of time”, emphasises Versluijs. “Do this using a ‘consent field’, where candidates are able to tick a box; for example, when they apply for a vacancy.” The collected information can then be stored in Carerix.

An extra section can also be added to the website, whereby candidates clearly see which data is stored by the organisation. This can be done using a ‘my account’ portal. Candidates can then log into a secure environment to access their details and possibly modify or delete them. This means candidates know exactly which personal data is stored by the recruitment organisation.

5. Ensure good online findability

Once the site is online, you must still be able to attract (the right) visitors. This requires good online findability, which can be realised via effective SEO (search engine optimization) and content that is compatible with search engines.
Versluijs: “No matter how good a website looks, people will not visit the site if SEO has not been addressed properly. When doing so, take into account technical as well as content-related SEO.”
Website designers can be asked to consider technical SEO during the website’s development phase, which includes loading speed, mobile-friendliness, a site map and an SSL certificate. The recruiting organisation can determine its own search words, incorporate them into vacancies and pages, and add a ‘title tag’ and ‘meta description’ to all pages.

To better reach certain target groups, you can create landing pages, use internal and external links (link building) and actively use social media to improve online findability. The website’s findability can be improved by periodically adding new content. This can be done using news items or blogs.

Candidates often store CV’s on a computer and cannot access them via their smartphones. So make it possible to apply via social media channels.

6. Easy application possibilities

These days, the application process must be easy and appealing. In the past, application forms were long, required a lot of information and were very time consuming. But candidates now have less time to enter their details and also want to register fewer details. So clearly state how candidates can apply and which details they must register. Make sure the application form is clear and concise or get candidates to, for example, apply via social media channels like LinkedIn, Facebook or WhatsApp.
When doing so, also bear in mind the various devices candidates may use to apply for a vacancy. Determine which details will, for example, be collected via a computer and which will be collected via a smartphone or tablet. “Candidates often store CV’s on a computer and cannot access them via their smartphones”, says Versluijs. “So get candidates to, for example, enter their phone number via the mobile job site so you can call them back at a later time.”

7. Measurement is the key to knowledge!

Websites can only be improved once visitor behaviour has been measured. Having an insight into such behaviour is very important. This is possible, for example, by creating a video analysis with Hotjar: how do people navigate through the website before getting to a conversion point, i.e. the moment they starting completing the application form. Or use Google Analytics to see which pages are visited and when visitors lose interest. The process must be optimised if any obstacles are encountered. Make a list of all issues that need to be optimised. Determine the most commonly encountered issues and optimise them step by step so, for example, a greater response rate is realised for vacancies. Once certain optimisations have been implemented, measure again to see if implemented changes have had the desired effect.
“Besides all these modern techniques, you could simply ask people about their experience when you see them face to face”, says Versluijs. “During an interview, ask people about their experience on the website, what they think of it and if they encountered any issues. Learn from your visitors. Dare to innovate and improve.”
If an improvement does not have the desired effect, this information is just as important as a successful improvement. It allows you to take a step back and opt for another solution.

8. Extensive experience with recruitment sites is essential

Opt for a partner with considerable experience when it comes to building job websites; also one that is familiar with how your organisation operates. Carerix collaborates with various partners who will be able to offer advice, propose ideas and lend a helping hand when developing a job website. This allows you to exploit the knowledge of our partners and ensures an effective solution.

9. Exploit the latest developments

The market is continuously changing, which means recruitment websites must do likewise. That is why you must bear in mind new developments which are relevant to the target group or sector. For example, more and more companies now filter candidates using soft criteria, e.g. the candidate’s personal properties or roles, instead of only hard criteria like position and qualifications.
“However, other developments in the recruitment sector include highlighting the personality of the recruiting organisation, sending open applications or using images or a ‘working at’ button in vacancies to show where candidates will be working”, states Versluijs.
Finally: it is also important to continuously check developments when it comes to presenting site content. Something that is currently popular, could feel outdated within a couple of years For instance, a combination of text and video has now become very popular when presenting vacancies, but who knows, perhaps text will disappear completely by the time we reach 2020.
So keep an eye on the latest developments!

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