I was inspired recently when reading an article by Lisa Jones published on The Undercover Recruiter. The title of her article was “Why Your LinkedIn Company Page Is Still More Important Than Your Website“. The article caught my attention as I’m looking at careers sites daily, and breaking down the data on how they perform.
In fact, I was on a call recently with the recruiting team at Airbnb. They told me that they get 7,000 resumes through their website per month, and that one-third of all hires are coming through that channel. Granted, Airbnb has one of the absolute best careers sites on the web.
However, seeing this article made me wonder what companies like Airbnb would have to say about their LinkedIn company page being more important than their website.
While it’s important to utilize multiple sites across the web to attract talent, do you really want to prioritize a third-party site ahead of your own?
The proliferation of company pages
Consider this, company pages have become commonplace across many websites in the social recruiting eco-system. As mentioned, LinkedIn is a popular place to host a company page but they are not alone. You can now build company pages on Facebook, Glassdoor, Indeed, Stack Overflow, The Muse, and the list goes on. Many Talent Leaders like the idea of a LinkedIn company page, because that is where their teams are largely sourcing from.
The intent of having a company profile on multiple websites is a good one. However, you must make sure all roads lead back to a unified and engaging careers site of your own.
Why your own careers site is most important
1. You don’t want to advertise jobs for other companies to your target audience
Yes, candidates will find other jobs they are interested in on their own. However, you don’t want to make it easy for them. Many third-party sites have to drive engagement for multiple companies to be successful. To do this, they will often have feature functions like “Other Jobs People Have Clicked On” in the candidate’s view while researching your company. This is an easy way to distract your candidates, and send them to your competition.
2. You have the ability to build your own talent network with your own brand identity
The concept of the Talent Network or Community is a growing one. Companies are looking for ways to create a two-way conversation with interested candidates. Doing this through a third-party channel can dilute your brand identity. You should strive to have all communications conducted through your brand. Think about the dilution of InMail messages as an example of the impact in using a third-party communication device.
3. You don’t want to hand over your SEO to a third-party
Candidates are increasingly behaving like consumers. They do lots of research to size up whether a company is right for them. As part of this process, many candidates will turn to Google. When searching Google, the five most frequent search results are: the front page of your careers site, LinkedIn, Indeed, SimplyHired, and Glassdoor. You need to better understand what people are searching, and how you can have your company’s voice heard in the conversation. This is difficult to understand through a third-party.
4. You can be more creative, and not forced into the template of a third-party provider
Outside of using your own logo, slotting in YouTube videos, and adding your job descriptions the pages for a third-party are going to look the same as everyone else. While it may be a more consistent user experience for candidates on the third-party site, is it representative of the brand you want to communicate? When you focus on your own site first, you have the ability to customize a brand message that can be distributed to multiple channels on the web.
5. Candidates are going to judge your careers site when making the decision to apply
As mentioned, candidates are visiting a multitude of websites to make a decision on pursuing a career with your company. While they may look at a dozen or more sites to make a decision, one of the most critical is your careers site. If the site is not innovative, and the apply process is difficult, you may push top candidates away. You must make your own careers site engaging to capture the interest of top candidates.
6. Not all candidates behave the same, advertise your own careers site across multiple outlets
One of the hottest recruiting segments today is Engineering. I cannot count how many times I’ve heard an Engineer say that they do not update their LinkedIn profile for fear that they will be crushed with messages. This does not bode well for putting a LinkedIn company page ahead of your own careers site when you’re hiring Engineers. Putting your own careers site first gives you the ability to take pieces of the most relevant careers content and distribute it to the appropriate third-party site. This should all be done in an effort to drive candidates back to you.
7. Optimizing your own website may have more up front cost, but it creates a more predictable expense model
There’s no doubt that it’s difficult for most companies to develop a great careers site, and to keep the content fresh. However, the benefit of this effort is that you are not subject to changes in terms of service, company acquisitions, behavior changes, and other influences of a third-party market. Having an optimized careers site of your own can insulate you from the inevitable changes of the third-party market, including having your subscription prices raised when not expecting it.
8. You can more easily market your own website across international locations
If you are doing international hiring, or plan to in the future, you need to focus on your own careers site. Candidates in different countries are going to utilize different websites when searching for information on careers. While LinkedIn may dominate sourcing for white-collar jobs in the United States, it likely won’t perform as well in APAC or EMEA. You’re better served to localize your careers site for international markets, while leveraging the best third-party sites in those markets to distribute your content.
9. You need to have ownership and control over your careers environment
Before uploading all of your information to a third-party, start to think about ownership. Will your contacts be accessible to anyone else? Remember, this information is sitting on someone else’s server so you should be aware. How about all of the videos and pictures you upload, or even the job descriptions? Is this information going to be used by someone else in ways you haven’t considered. Not to mention any matters you may have around EEOC or other compliance measures.
10. You need a unified talent strategy, not a fragmented one
Protect yourself from buying “just another tool” in recruiting. Talent leaders are communicating that there are a litany of tools available, and several they buy that are not used to their potential. Putting your careers site at the center of your universe gives you a baseline for your online recruiting efforts. Moreover, if you’re set up to see analytics to your careers site, you can measure which third-party sites are sending you the most traffic and applications. This helps you select better third-party partners while keeping your online talent strategy unified.
Spending your time on what matters the most
I freely admit that optimizing your own careers site is no small feat. But consider the question at hand of where you should spend most of your time. If you are putting all of your energy into third-party sites, it will be difficult to make progress on your own.
Take the case of companies like Airbnb who are harvesting 7,000 applications per month through their own site. And it’s not just the high number of applications, it’s also that one-third of their hires comes via their careers site. These are numbers that are possible, and that you should be striving for. The most predictable inbound talent engine you can invest in online is your own careers site.
Optimize your own careers site first, select appropriate third-party sites for which to distribute content, then measure their performance.