Fortune 500 Companies Earn “C” for Careers Pages

Learn lessons from the best in class

By Roy Maurer Oct 15, 2015
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The careers websites of the top-performing companies in the U.S. are passable but need to improve targeted messaging, enhance mobile and social recruiting, and add talent network opt-in forms to capture leads.

That’s according to an analysis by recruitment marketing platform SmashFly Technologies, which released its Recruitment Marketing Report Card for the 2015 Fortune 500. SmashFly automates and measures employers’ recruiting function and integrates with applicant tracking systems to provide analytics on lead generation.

SmashFly analyzed the careers websites of the 500 largest U.S. companies in July and August 2015 and assessed them on 13 common recruitment marketing practices demonstrated on careers pages, such as messaging by job category, telling employee stories and offering a mobile-friendly candidate experience.

Overall, this year’s Fortune 500 class earned a “C” average, demonstrating good use of recruitment marketing practices on careers sites, said Lori Sylvia, chief marketing officer at SmashFly.

SmashFly found that 134 companies (27 percent) earned an “A” or “B” for their use of recruitment marketing, but only 13 companies (3 percent) were judged to be exceptional in their practices to attract and convert leads into qualified applicants.

The top-ranked employers included Johnson & Johnson, General Mills, Kelly Services, AT&T, Comcast and CDW. The technology sector has the largest percentage of companies (39 percent) earning As and Bs, followed by the financial (36 percent) and health care (34 percent) sectors.

Wholesalers had the largest percentage of companies (57 percent) receiving grades of “D” or “F,” followed by the energy sector (42 percent). Overall, 27 percent of companies received a D and 5 percent of companies were given an F.

Why is recruitment marketing—using best-practice marketing principles to attract leads and convert them into interested potential candidates—so important now?

“Recruiters understand that the talent acquisition universe has changed,” Sylvia said. “Candidates are like consumers. They have choices. They research a new employer the same way they research products they want to buy, and they expect the process of engaging with a prospective employer to be hyper-relevant and transparent.”

It’s not enough to have good jobs, she added. “You need to prove your employer brand, culture, benefits and growth opportunities, and prove yours is better than the competition.”

Rick Rosario, senior talent acquisition leader at information technology services company CDW, headquartered in Vernon Hills, Ill., has witnessed the growing trend of candidates behaving more like consumers. “There’s so much information about companies for candidates to research before they even consider applying for a role in your organization,” he said. “The expectations have increased among our candidate pool. They want a seamless application process, whether it’s via mobile or on a desktop; dynamic content related to the industry they’re interested in; and ways to engage without submitting an application. We’ve taken notice of this.”

Companies’ careers pages were graded on employer messaging, candidate opt-in functionality, use of social media, mobile-friendliness, employer branding and targeted recruitment initiatives.

SmashFly found that among the Fortune 500:

  • 67 percent message directly to students through campus recruiting channels.
  • 62 percent have content dedicated to diversity and inclusion.
  • 59 percent have a careers site homepage deemed mobile-friendly, which ensures that potential applicants can find and browse the site from their smartphones or tablet devices.
  • 57 percent share employees’ stories about their work experience at the company on their careers site.
  • 49 percent offer landing pages and content for key job families. Messaging by job family targets the candidate experience specific to departments or business units. For example, Wynn Resorts breaks its careers page down into casino jobs, hotel jobs and retail jobs, among others.
  • 38 percent have a mobile-friendly application process.
  • 36 percent have a mobile-friendly job search engine. CDW, for example, ensures that not only its careers site but also each job description can be easily found and viewed from smartphones and tablets.
  • 35 percent message directly to transitioning military service members and veterans. Home Depot’s microsite devoted to the hiring of veterans is an example of this.
  • 33 percent promote careers-specific social channels meant to keep candidates engaged with targeted content that showcases employer brand and culture. Sodexo encourages candidates to engage with careers-specific social icons featured throughout its careers site.
  • 27 percent capture potential applicants in a talent pool database. “Talent network forms let candidates opt into your employer brand communications without applying, so you can nurture them until they’re ready to apply,” Sylvia said. “By adding the form to the apply flow, you can capture contact information for candidates that may drop off.” About 60 to 70 percent of would-be applicants don’t finish filling out an initial job application, according to CareerBuilder.
  • CDW uses talent network forms to customize the user experience for pre-applicant leads, Rosario said. “Based on how they interact with us through that form, we can create a specific experience for them and then we communicate with them accordingly.”
  • 14 percent have an end-to-end mobile-friendly candidate experience, from careers site homepage and job search to application process.
  • Only 9 percent have a careers-specific blog that communicates directly with candidates about company culture and jobs.
  • Just 1 percent make use of images and video to enhance job listings.

Roy Maurer is an online editor/manager for SHRM. Follow him @SHRMRoy

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