We can’t all be a Google or a Facebook. Those big names and employer brands that top desirable employer lists across the world.

We can, however, deliver an engaging experience for our candidates on our careers sites – if we don’t commit any of these four careers sites sins…

  1. Your careers site doesn’t tell candidates anything

If you’re trying to increase direct applications, your careers site must demonstrate why your organisation is a good place to work.

Use your careers pages to capture potential candidates’ imaginations, from embedding recruitment videos to displaying quotes from your team members. Have you explained what makes you unique in your industry? Have you demonstrated your day-to-day working culture? Have you promoted your staff benefits and perks?

It’s also prudent to use your careers site to manage applicants’ expectations. Promote the positives of working for you, but don’t paint an unrealistic picture. Be clear on what life is really like at your organisation and you could increase the numbers of applicants who are a strong cultural fit.

 Action: Review your careers site to ensure it reflects your vision and values. If you think it could be improved, consider talking to a recruitment marketing or employer branding specialist. 

  1. Your careers site doesn’t look like you

If your careers site doesn’t reflect your employer branding, you may find candidates dropping off it.

Let’s say your candidate has come across your corporate site and engaged with your brand; your values have resonated with them, your people have connected with them and the service or products you deliver looks like a good fit for them.

If they then access your careers site to find no trace of that brand, there’s a risk that your candidate will feel a sense of mistrust and disconnection. It can also send a message that you’re less invested in your careers and recruitment process than in other areas of the business.

In addition, it doesn’t look professional. If you’ve dedicated time to develop and deliver a strong employer brand, it should be consistent across all of your channels. If it isn’t, your brand could be potentially undermined.

Action: Consider whether your careers site needs a rebrand or redesign to bring it into style. Talk to your recruitment software supplier – they may be able to help.

  1. It’s difficult to navigate

Careers sites can be bright, bold and beautiful – but they must also be functional and accessible to candidates.

Is your ‘Apply now’ button hidden away at the bottom of a page? Is your vacancy search mechanism sleek and simple or slow and counter-intuitive? Are you clear on how candidates should apply – via an email address (you might need this!), an online application form or a CV drop?

Also consider your mobile candidates and what you can do to make life easier for them. Options such as ‘Apply via LinkedIn’ can be quicker than completing an application form, particularly if clumsy fingers have to navigate miniature boxes and drop-downs.

Action: Undertake some user testing in order to determine how intuitive your user journey is. Look at the site from an objective outsider’s perspective. Is it simple to navigate and use?

  1. Your careers site sends candidates on an ‘infinite loop’

Infinite loops? We mean those glitches where a candidate is asked to select an option from a drop-down menu, but there are no choices to select. The question is mandatory, so the candidate has to choose an option. But there aren’t any – so the candidate can’t progress to the next stage of the application.

Issues like these can leave candidates frustrated and, ultimately, unable to apply for a position with your organisation.

Action: Talk again to your recruitment software supplier, as they should be able to rectify any bugs or glitches.

Engaging, accessible, on-brand and loop-free

If your careers site ticks these boxes, it should work for you to help increase your rate of direct applications, enhance your candidate engagement and stand out from other employers in your industry.

Find out more

Our library – 5 blogs to read about candidate experience

Is your ATS ready to manage passive candidates?

Volunteer recruitment – does candidate experience matter?

About the author

Tristan Potter

Tristan has a decade's worth of experience writing content and copy for organisations across Bristol and the Southwest of England. He has written on a diverse range of topics, including technology, philosophy, politics, and recruitment. His writing has appeared in The Drum, HR Grapevine, and The Guardian, among other publications. He joined Hireserve in March 2022.