State of Australian Corporate Career Websites

In late 2008 I spent some time reviewing the career websites of the BRW Top 200 organisations within Australia, based on the work by CareerXRoads in the US. The process included a physical review of each of the BRW Top 200 web sites during September to December 2008.

I sat on the report for a long time pondering what to do with the results. About six weeks ago I decided to release the results publically over on Inspecht for the purposes of discussion and review by others within the industry.

Each site was assessed on a series of attributes designed to assess an organisation’s approach to their careers website. The attributes were based on the CareerXRoads Mystery Job Seeker Reports. A comment on the results several attributes covered during the research required a subjective assessment such as; did the site contain detailed information on remuneration and benefits.

If you are interested you can download the report (oh yes it is free).

A small but important clarification

A couple of days ago an anonymous blog, The Didge, here in Australia posted a fairly length review of the job referral service 2Vouch during which they stated that I am the owner. This is incorrect I have no ownership in the business. 2Vouch are a client of mine and that is all. I did suggest to the writers that after reviewing Hoojano they should also review 2Vouch. (UPDATE: The Didge have updated their post while I was writing this clarification.)

I will say I also disagree with some of their analysis of the site, and not just because 2Vouch have been a client. Here is a summary of my thoughts:

  1. They are not too late, when there are more candidates in the market finding the right candidate is still difficult. A referral has the personal reputation benefit that the candidate is of high quality.
  2. Financial rewards are not going to pressure poor referrals. A referrer’s reputation is the most important attribute. If recruiters/hiring managers see poor referrals from someone that will reflect badly on their own personal reputation. 
  3. Referrals have been found to actually decrease the time to hire. For example Vodafone in Europe found that by focusing recruiting activities on employment brand management and employee referral, the average recruiting cycle time per hire was reduced by more than two-thirds. Further the CareerXRoads 7th “Source of Hire” survey found that the efficiency or yield of the referral process is second to none; in 20% of the time it took 2 referrals to make the hire, 16% for 3 referrals.
  4. The points on registration, branding of recruiters etc are reasonable points to some degree. I’m not convinced they are issues for 2Vouch given the business model and their go to market strategy.
But analysing the analysis was not the point of this post.

Career websites and your brand

Wanting your employees to feel proud of working for your brand is one key part of retention, there are many others but today I am only talking about brand. You also need the best candidates to want to join your organisation, not just anyone who needs a job. The term “best candidate” does not only refer to the best skill fit it is also the best cultural fit between the candidate and your organisation. This is why employment branding is such a hot topic in attracting and retaining staff, even in tough economic times. Let’s not forget the employee value proposition and the organisation culture are important drivers of employee engagement. Which we know without organisations struggle to deliver customer value due to the strong relationship between employee engagement and customer satisfaction. 

Best in class practice indicates that during the recruitment process organisations should target, engage, inform and respect candidates (borrowed from CareerXRoads). In addition it is very unusual for a candidate not to spend a bit of time reviewing a company before attending an interview. 

It is through the career’s website, and it’s links, that candidates answer the above questions and gain an insight into how an organisation will treat them if they were employed.

So what should be included in a best in class career website?

  • Does the site match the overall brand of the organisation? Most marketing executives would never let a print media be in non-compliance with the corporate brand so why should the career’s website be any different?
  • Can candidates determine if you have the right type of roles for them?
  • Do you explain the recruitment process so they know what to expect?
  • Do you promote the benefits of working for your organisation?
  • Do real employees provide testimonials of what it is like to work for the organisation?
  • Does it match the culture of your workforce? No point having a hip web site to appeal to Generation Y, only for them to start work and find a old school organisation focused more on command and control than free expression.
  • Is the site easy to find from the main corporate web page?

I want to pick on AMP for a minute. For my international readers AMP is a funds management company employing just over 4,000 people looking after around A$117 billion of assets under management. While the content about careers on their main web site is nicely integrated into the overall brand, the same cannot be said for the job search and application process on http://careers.amp.com.au/

By clicking the links below you will see what I mean.

Main Careers Site

Main AMP Careers Site

Jobs Site

Jobs Site

This is worse than just a bad or few missing images and a bad stylesheet. Most of the links back to the main corporate site do not work following a recent re-launch of the main site! If someone’s first entry point to AMP is via this site they are going to have a VERY poor experience. Does it show AMP is engaging, informing or respecting candidates, not at all.

So what message does this send to a candidate, maybe something like “Our marketing machine is really good, but our administrative processes are badly designed and maintained”? What about internal employees? Even more so what about the marketing team, are they aware of such a bad image?

Some potential costs to AMP of this poor integration:

  • What the abandonment rate is from the front page careers.amp.com.au site? How many people get to the site and go “Oh my what a mess” or “Am I in the right spot”? 
  • I’m not a legal eagle but are there not regulatory issues some of those broken links?
  • Some of the images on http://careers.amp.com.au/ seem to be referencing previous corporate branding approaches, does that not de-value the new approach?
  • Does the lack of integration reflect on AMP care with their investors money, I doubt it but you never know.
  • Missing out on the great candidate who abandons the application process part way through due to the branding mistake.
Any others?