When it comes to job hunting, a candidate’s first impressions are paramount.

And the same rule applies for recruiters; if someone is considering a job at your organisation, you want them to feel welcomed, valued and well-informed. This means carefully considering every stage of the candidate’s journey, from their initial application through to the interview process and onto the final selection.

After all, recruitment is a two-way process - an employer must win over a potential candidate as much as a candidate must win over a potential employer. Neglecting to represent yourself effectively can have a huge impact on the number of qualified applications you receive.

Whether a candidate has seen your ad in a newspaper, a niche publication, an online job board, or even a quick Google search - they will almost always be directed to the same place: your website. Therefore, it’s imperative that your site is captivating, impactful and - of course - functional.

So, what can a recruiter do to inspire a candidate and leave a positive first impression? We’ve made a list of the top three questions you should ask yourself to ensure that your website reaches its full recruiting potential.

1. How does my careers site “look”?

The most important thing to consider when assessing how your website looks is whether it reflects your overall brand identity. For example, are you an entrepreneurial company with an eye-catching and dynamic website? Are you a premium brand with sleek and minimalist visuals? Are you a dependable service provider with a muted colour palette and reassuring copy?

Whichever category your organisation falls into, brand consistency must reverberate throughout your site, including your careers page. This is key to promoting yourself as an employer of choice rather than convenience.

It is also important to emphasise your company values - what truly sets you apart from other employers. Any company can list topical buzzwords and say how amazing they are to work for, but not many have the evidence to prove it. The trick is to adopt a “show, don’t tell” approach. Use imagery of real people who work in your organisation enjoying their day-to-day work. Create employee case studies where current staff explain what they love about working for your business and develop video content that shows off your open and inviting offices.

Many candidates make their decision based on gut instinct and whether they can imagine themselves working for you. Providing lots of visuals and glowing testimonials should make the decision easy for them.

2. Is my website functioning correctly?

While visuals are important, they mean nothing if your site doesn’t work properly, as nowadays candidates get frustrated quickly and click away.

Above all, user experience is key; if your site is dysfunctional, then don’t be surprised when jobseekers assume your organisation is run the same way and take their job hunt elsewhere. Likewise, given that much job research is now conducted on mobile, device-responsive websites and fast mobile load times are particularly important in driving early engagement.

The best way to understand whether your website is fulfilling your users’ needs is by conducting a web usability study. This process involves monitoring how users interact with your website, tracking their cursor motions using detailed heatmaps and testing device compatibility. Using this data, we can detect any aspects of your site that may be causing user frustration, determine which features are being engaged with more than others and address any individual page formatting issues. Then, we can begin to suggest key areas of improvement that, if addressed, will maximise enquiries and boost applications.

Remember - before you think about investing in recruitment campaigns, you must make sure that your website meets best practice standards.

3. Can I make my online application process any simpler?

They say that less is more and, when it comes to recruitment, your application process should be no exception.

Whilst you may think that a lengthy process filters out the uncommitted from the committed, this isn’t always the case. Past studies have shown that just under a third of candidates refuse to spend more than 15 minutes on an application, which rises to 57% for top salary earners.

From this research, it’s clear that a laborious process won’t just filter out disinterested jobseekers - it will also ward off top-tier talent.

To avoid this, web-based candidate management systems are available. They can be easily bolted onto an existing website and will manage and influence as much or as little of the candidate experience as you want - from initial forms and questions to scheduling interviews to rejection letters. It’s definitely worth researching the options on offer.

Getting it right:

While these questions may seem obvious, they are too often neglected by organisations when hiring. As the war for talent intensifies and the stakes get higher, it is crucial to get the basics right. Companies must work harder and offer more in order to differentiate themselves from their rivals and appeal to those people who will thrive and perform to their best.

At Accord, we make the job of finding, hiring and retaining the best possible talent as easy as possible. Our marketing services are designed to meet your unique requirements. If you need a complex, multi-channel digital solution, we can do that. Or if you already have a marketing department but it needs some support in certain areas, we can do that too!

For more information, contact us today.