Next Practices Tutorial – Module IV

Module IV: Right Social Your Corporate Career Site once conducted a survey which found that 75 percent of recruiters view today’s job seekers as unqualified.  That’s simply not true.  What may be true is that 75 percent of the job seekers who visit today’s corporate career sites are unqualified.  And, there’s reason for that.

Most corporate career sites have the look and feel of a store.  It’s as if they’re shouting “Hey, we’re a buyer of labor, you’re a seller of labor; let’s do a deal!”  It’s a very transactional experience.  And, it’s exactly what active job seekers want.  But, that’s the problem.

Now, before you rise up in righteous indignation, there are obviously qualified candidates among the active job seeker population.  However, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, at any point in time, just 16 percent of the workforce is actively in transition.

So, a corporate career site designed with the look and feel of as a store is basically irrelevant to more than four-fifths of the workforce.  And simple mathematics tells you there are significantly more highly qualified prospects among that much larger population.

Those top performers are best described as Magenta Squirrels. They have a number of defining attributes: they are almost always employed, are interested only in career advancement opportunities, and are savvy consumers when shopping for a new employer. No less important, they listened to their mother. And mothers everywhere teach their kids the same first lesson: Don’t speak to strangers.

So, how do you design a corporate career site for the top talent who have such attributes?  Give them the experience of visiting a farm.


Transforming a Store into a Farm

A corporate career site designed as a farm uses its content, features and functionality to nurture relationships with Magenta Squirrels.  It still promotes its employment opportunities, of course, but those openings are presented in a context that is different from that of a store in two very important ways:

  • First, visitors are treated as colleagues – proto-employees – not customers (or supplicants for work called job seekers);


  • Second, the focus is on helping visitors to the site succeed in their careers, not simply apply for a job.

How do you deliver such a look and feel?  You have to redesign your site to give it three key features.

Personalization.  Avoid sending the subliminal message that you see all visitors as “generic job seekers” by providing individual homes or specialized channels for each career field in your organization’s workforce.  Each of these channels should be positioned as a “careerstead” – a home where those in your target fields (e.g., sales, finance, IT, HR) can grow their career.  That way, when a prospect enters your site, they aren’t subjected to a boilerplate experience, but one that is tailored to them.

Career Content.  Don’t treat Magenta Squirrels as job seekers – they aren’t.  As I explain in my book, The Career Activist Republic, they are best described as career activists.  Their goal isn’t to look for a job, but to advance in their careers.  For that reason:

  • The content in each occupational channel should be written with the vocabulary and the interests of those who work in that field.
  • The majority of the content should focus on the principles and practices of successful career self-management, not job search.
  • Job postings should be written as electronic sales brochures that answer the questions smart consumers will have about prospective employers.

Dialogue.  Make sure your site doesn’t talk at visitors, but instead talks with them.  Create conversations by offering blogs, chats, discussion forums, even question and answer features as long as the interactions give visitors the sense that they are actually dealing with another human and not some faceless corporate department or worse a machine.  In fact, the best dialogues are those that connect your site’s visitors to their peers in your organization.  They are the most credible spokespersons and they have the most interesting insights to offer.

For many individuals, their first in-depth experience with an employer is on its corporate career site.  So, ask yourself this: would you rather be greeted by a site that treats you as a commodity to be bought or one that treats you as person worth getting to know.

« Back to Module III Proceed to Module V »