GradWeb’s Solutions Architect, Ian Cowley, takes a look at the latest technologies that can help graduate recruiters make their recruitment programmes more effective through delivering an improved candidate experience.
A graduate recruitment campaign involves a lot of technology. Whether it comes to graduate attraction, recruitment systems and tracking, or any tools and websites you put in place for your campaign, you will be required to manage a wide range of web technology. In this article I aim to focus on user experience and outline the things you should consider when speaking to your technology providers.
Making the web work for your graduate recruitment campaign
One of the primary goals of a good graduate recruitment campaign is a good candidate experience, but in order to have a great candidate experience it is important that every web interaction the candidate has is intuitive and simple.
User experience isn't just about fixing one aspect of your campaign or focusing on making one of the websites in your campaign successful, it's about seeing the overall journey for the candidate, if a candidate incurs one or two pain points in each part of your campaign, then that can quickly add up to a negative experience.
While smart phone apps are a great marketing tool and will prove to be popular with pockets of candidates, they are an expensive asset and it is difficult to know who your audience is. You could easily miss a significant portion of your target candidates. This infographic shows a breakdown of smart phone usage http://bit.ly/KwdCvQ; by not targeting either Blackberry, iPhone or Android, then you exclude up to a third of your potential audience, not to mention slate PCs and ever emerging different screen sizes.
This is where responsive web comes into play. Responsive web means the website will adapt depending on the device used to view it, so if it is being viewed using a PC or Mac, then the website will be rendered entirely differently from an iPhone or iPad. The process usually involves re-arranging your screen to adapt to the device which is viewing it. Here are some great examples: http://bit.ly/JFI31G
If you don't have a responsive website and you opt to go for a regular website, then often the experience through a smart phone is enough to put users off, and even if they do come back, they have had one of those negative touch points we're trying to avoid.
An example of where this can be useful is in your campus events. If you are onsite with prospective candidates (who will almost definitely have a smart phone on them), you can quickly and easily get them to apply, view your literature and bookmark your campaign.
Less is more
It is quite often a mistake to think that because you're adding features or 'snazzy imagery' you're making the website better, so often the opposite is true.
If the online recruitment assets produced by your agencies/providers are busy and complex and you find them difficult to navigate and use (even if you think they add additional functionality), then your audience will too. Let's not forget what a candidate’s objectives are. They just want to complete the process as quickly and easily as possible, this means that there is only a limited window of opportunity to get the candidate experience right using the web assets you produce.
Reduce Friction to Apply
Giving candidates the best experience is paramount and a simple cost-effective and easy way to do this is by integrating your application process with their existing logins with Facebook or Twitter.
Most students will have a Facebook profile, so why not make it easy for them to apply by allowing them to sign in with Facebook? This reduces both friction to apply and also provides a slicker web experience for the candidate as they don't have to go through a separate security and sign-up page and remember and manage their security content.
Make it Easy to Find
A rule of thumb for web experience is to reduce the number of clicks it takes to get a task done. When a candidate wants to find something about your campaign, be it the support telephone number, the ‘apply’ page or a scheme's educational requirements, it should be very easy for them to locate. This may seem obvious, but 9 times out of 10 candidates will be using Google or a link from a careers site to find these things. If finding your tools isn't blindingly obvious, candidate experience will be affected. You will see a variance between web visitors and applications, a decrease in applications or, once again, create one of those negative touch points we're trying to avoid.
One of the key methods for achieving visibility and reducing the number of clicks to find the resources a user needs is through Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). SEO ensures the important parts of your web experience are easy to find through Google and when a user does search for the keywords you have identified, they end up on the page you want them to find. In other words if a candidate searches for 'apply for GradWeb's graduate engineers', you probably don't want them to find themselves on the home page of your careers microsite, but on the apply page of your ATS.
When talking to your attraction company/technology provider, it is useful to go through a process called keyword analysis to define which phrases you would like to get high returns from searches, and where users should end up on your website when they searching for particular keywords.
Creating a great web experience for candidates throughout your graduate recruitment campaign is tough, there is no silver bullet. But, if there is one lesson I’ve found valuable in all system development it’s this, each poor web experience may not seem to have a particularly high impact by itself, however if you add up even a few little ones, then you build a negative view of both the brand and the journey. If you find any part of the process cumbersome, then you can almost guarantee candidates will too.
If you would like to find out more about how the web can help you with your recruitment process contact us today.