8 Ways to Improve Your Career Site - Without a Designer or Developer

8 ways to improve your career site - Ideal Role

Your company is growing - but the people you need to hire are in demand.

Recruiters from companies and agencies are contacting them. They’re seeing job ads on social media. And hearing about opportunities from friends.

With so many options, how do they decide which jobs to apply for? And who to respond to?

They research.

For candidates, all roads lead to your career site.

All of your recruitment activities lead to your career site. And if people can’t find what they’re looking for, you’ll never hear from them*.

We know how frustrating it is to be ignored. To not have people reply to your messages. To know people are clicking on your job ads - but not applying.

So I watched people research jobs and asked them how they decide whether to apply.

I found there are 8 basic questions they want answered when researching your company and jobs. Cover them and people will apply. Ignore them and you’ll lose people to your competitors.

The good news?

You can give people what they’re looking for - without an expensive overhaul of your career site. Just help people answer the following 8 questions.


* The 2018 Talent Board candidate experience report found that 70.5% of people do research before applying for a job - and most (60%) said the career site was their most valuable resource.

1. Am I Setting Myself Up For Failure?

We all know what it feels like to be rejected - it hurts. Not surprisingly, we’ll do a lot to avoid it.

Candidates know that a lack of qualifications is one of the most common reasons for being rejected. So, when looking at jobs, most people:

  • Skim the job titles to see which ones might be relevant to them
  • After clicking through to a job description, scroll down to the requirements section

Only if they’re sure they meet the requirements will they read on. If they have any doubt they’re off - and are unlikely to return.

Knowing this, there are a couple of things you can do to make it easier for people to find and assess your jobs:

  • Make your job titles clear and specific.
  • If they’re not already, put job requirements in bullet form under a bold heading.
  • List out the requirements someone must have. If in doubt, leave it out!
  • If you have a list of preferred skills as well as requirements, think about removing them: they’re confusing. Some people will only apply if they have all of them.

2. Am I Wasting My Time?

For many people, pay is not the number one reason they apply for a job. But, let’s be honest - we all have bills to pay, hopes and dreams. And these require a certain amount of money. If your job doesn’t provide that they’re wasting their time.

Every job has a budget and you know what salary range you’re willing to pay. So why not add it to the job description?

If someone won’t apply for a job because the salary range is too low, they’re not going to accept an offer for the same amount. No matter how good the interviews were or how much they like the job. Instead, not only will they reject your offer, but many people will tell everyone they know how you wasted their time - and to not apply and make the same mistake they did.

So help people make an informed decision. They’ll appreciate your honesty and be much more likely to accept your offer.

3. Who Will I Be Working With?

We spend most of our time at work - so who we spend it with matters.

Tell people about the team they’ll be working in. Their experience and expertise. How they can help them learn and develop. Or even better, show them - add a video of the hiring manager explaining the role and what they can offer to the right person.

At a minimum, include the size of the team and who the role reports to.

4. What Will I Actually Be Doing?

Explain what a typical day will look like. What will they be responsible for? How much autonomy will they have? Which other departments and teams will they need to work with? And how do you measure success?

Paint a picture of what the role is really like - and why it’s a great opportunity.

For example, you’re not telling a developer anything if you say they’ll “build high-performance applications that meet requirements for quality and responsiveness” (this is taken from a real job ad).

An alternative could start with the following, before providing more specific bullet points:

Our developers work in teams of four, along with a product specialist and designer. This role is part of the team responsible for our small-business payroll product. The team works together to understand our customers problems - then designs and builds software solutions.

5. Are There Flexible Options?

People value flexibility. By offering flexible options you can increase your pool of talent while also improving your diversity.

So, if you let people work different hours or remotely, make sure it’s clear to anyone looking at your careers page. And be specific about what’s possible for each job.

6. What’s The Culture Like?

It’s not just what you do, but how you do it.

How you make hard decisions. How you balance work and life. What you expect from your employees. How you reward and promote people. How you act when things get tough.

Most career sites show only the good parts - team away days, the rewards and perks.

So people go to review sites like glassdoor, or message people they know already working for you, to learn what it’s really like.

Knowing this, you can address the reasons for negative reviews on your career site. And even reframe them to appeal to the candidates you want.

For example, imagine you have a lot of negative reviews because people work long hours. No one reading those reviews will believe you if you say you offer great work life balance.

Instead, address the problem on your career site.

Explain how your company is solving complex, difficult problems. Problems that if solved, can do a lot of good for a lot of people. Which is why you’re working hard to solve them. And why your employees are passionate about their work - and prepared to work hard and stick around.

7. Can I Apply Now?

This may seem like an odd question given there are links to apply for your jobs everywhere.

What it’s really asking is - do I already have everything I need to apply, or is there something I have to prepare for?

Most people we spoke to said that when they’re interested in a job, and have everything they need, they apply straight away. But if they had to prepare something, they’d leave it for later - if they remembered…

The types of things that stop people applying immediately are:

  • A cover letter
  • Any questions added to the application form that need a written response
  • A CV (if you’re asking passive candidates to apply via your application form)

I recommend that you only request the bare essentials. It can be tempting to use questions as a filter, but the best candidates are busy and have options. If they can’t apply right away they simply move on to the next job.

8. Is There Someone I Can Talk To?

If you’ve answered the previous 7 questions, most people will be ready to apply for your jobs. But you don’t want to miss out on that great candidate who had one other thing that was really important to them that you didn’t answer.

To make sure you don’t miss out on their application, add a Frequently Asked Question section to your career site. Or at least an email address people can send their question to - especially for your hard to fill roles.

The easier it is to get an answer the better.

Want some help?

If you’d like some help improving your career site I’d be happy to help - you can reach me here.