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Website Basics II


(July 07, 2006)  - What is an employment website and what makes it successful?"

In the beginning it was easy. In 1993, a website was a collection of text and images contained on a web server. It's purpose was, more or less, to keep up with the Joneses new website. It may have listed the jobs available at a company. It might have just included an email address for resume submittals.

Over time, we began to understand the utility of the employment website. Meanwhile, it was becoming the place that everyone went before they contacted the HR Department about a job.

Today, an employment website serves multiple functions:

  1. Lobby: It is the first place that a potential employee actually encounters the company. It is the source of lasting first impressions.
  2. Gateway: It is a filter that encourages some candidates while frustrating and discouraging others. Usually, it works backwards.
  3. Data Source: It is the place from which most data enters the applicant tracking system. It is the source of the quality problems in the "Talent Pool Database."
  4. Opportunity: It is the best place to catch the people you want. Unfortunately, simple practices that could make this happen rarely materialize.

We've said, over the years, that the most important site on the web is yours.

That being said, there are a number of general design principles that distinguish a great employment website from a mediocre offering.
  1. Easy Web Access: It has a clear, easy to find link from the company home page.
  2. Easy To Find: Jobs are published so that search engine (Google) results are improved. Search engine position is managed.
  3. Easy To Understand: Links are presented once per page. Naming is Consistent.
  4. Respects Privacy I: Clear, employment specific, policies regarding: privacy, intellectual property, hiring process, data storage, security.
  5. Respects Privacy II: Includes Email a Friend feature.
  6. Access To Jobs I: No Login Required to Browse (unless very clear and compelling value offered in exchange for log in data)
  7. Access To Jobs II: Job Listings Available No More than three clicks from company home page.
  8. Access To Jobs III: Search Engine Depth is appropriate to listing volume.
  9. Meaningful Job Listings: The sell is matched with a substantial understanding of the job itself. It's readable and interesting.
  10. Culture: The company's culture is described thoroughly. Who fits and who doesn't

The most important general principle of great employment website design is good manners. That means that you

  • Never waste a job hunter's time (web speed, site organization, fresh content)
  • Never post jobs you are not planning to fill
  • Always provide alternate means of application
  • Always acknowledge receipt of the application
  • Always provide a variety of means for contacting the recruiter
  • Set expectations appropriately
  • Get to "No" as quickly as possible


We keep updating the blogroll. There are now 148 Recruiting related blogs.

John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.
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