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Optimize Your Website to Attract Top Talent

January 13, 2021

You’ve heard it before: your employees are your greatest asset.

How, then, can you attract and retain top talent, during what pundits everywhere now refer to as the pandemic-fueled “Great Resignation”? Consider, for instance, that in this past November alone, a record 4.5 million people voluntarily quit their jobs, according to a report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. They weren’t fired. They simply no longer wanted their position and left to pursue a job elsewhere—or do something different with their day.

Numbers like this trickle down to organizations of all sizes, prompting us to evolve our recruitment and hiring practices—and do more to entice high-caliber workers to join our team. After all, today’s job seekers differ from those of a decade or even five years ago, with recruiters and talent acquisition specialists describing current candidates as significantly more selective than their predecessors, the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) reports. Today’s job seekers do their research. They spend as much or more time vetting you as you spend vetting them. They don’t settle for the first job offer to come their way.

How can you make your organization stand out from countless others struggling to fill their hiring needs? The process starts with your website, the first place candidates look to scope out who you are, what you do, and whether they want to join you. Think of your website as the place potential candidates prod and explore—sometimes for hours, analytics reveal—to get a sense of how you operate and what you value.

What can you do to optimize your website so you attract top talent in this tough hiring period?

1. Start with the basics.

You’d be surprised how many websites we see or stumble upon with outdated content. If the event happened last month, then you no longer need a call to action to register. If your video features your old logo, then update the video with your new logo. Maintain your links, and don’t refer someone to a contact form that sits in a lost vat in cyberspace.

The same goes for other basics like spelling, grammar, and style. Potential employees don’t have to be writers, designers, or UX experts to spot a polished, professional, user-friendly, and intuitive site. And remember: these basics matter not only in your careers section but across your entire website. Whether preparing for an interview or figuring out if you’re a fit, job candidates look at it all—and will use what they encounter to determine your organization’s credibility (or, sadly, lack thereof).

2. Integrate navigational features.

A disorganized website reflects a disorganized organization. Don’t give potential team members that first impression. One way to prevent this is through navigation and wayfinding features that help orient visitors to your website’s various parts—and move easily to where they want to go, suggests usability expert Susan Farrell in an article for the Nielsen Norman Group.

Examples of wayfinding elements include:

Keep in mind, too, that designers and developers sometimes know a website so well that it prevents them from creating effective location signals. “A signal that may seem distractingly obvious to the designer is often not even noticed by the visitor,” says Farrell. The solution?

Testing.

3. Take advantage of usability testing.

Usability testing can make a real difference in attracting the right people to apply for the right position. You can test for specific elements like navigation—and even test for the level of ease or difficulty in navigating from your homepage to your careers page and on through the process of finding a particular job description and applying for the position.

Likewise, you can test for accessibility and credibility. Accessibility testing gives you information about the experience of individuals with visual, cognitive, auditory, motor, and speech disabilities. But it doesn’t just benefit people with disabilities. For instance, everyone can benefit from a strong contrast between the copy and background color, in addition to things like visual hierarchy and clear alt-text on images (especially when download time runs slow). Everyone, too, can benefit from sites that work on multiple browsers and devices, especially mobile, given the high number of job seekers who use smartphones to search and even apply.

Credibility testing gives you insight on the main thing potential employees look for when they scope out your organization: your credibility. Do users quickly gain the impression that you’re an expert or leader in your field? Do they trust you as a go-to source for your services? Without credibility, it’s hard to attract or retain site visitors, let alone persuade the kind of employee you want to apply for your open job.

4. Pay attention to your analytics.

Along with usability testing, Google Analytics (or a comparable analytics platform) offers powerful insight on your standing as a potential employer. Pay particular attention to your bounce rate and time on site. As we shared in a recent article, “4 Ways to Tell If Your Website Is Hurting Your Recruitment,” bounce rate is the rate at which users come to your site and immediately leave it, without clicking to access more content, while time on site refers to the length of time users stay on your site. A bounce rate of 70 percent or higher, or an average time on site of less than a minute, typically indicates a need to do more to retain visitors.

Also look at conversion rates and time spent on your careers pages. If you attract visitors to your careers landing page, but few if any click to view or apply for an open position, then you know your main careers page needs work. Alternatively, if visitors click to view your open positions but never apply, then you know to bolster your job descriptions.

5. Know and speak to your ideal candidates.

When it comes to optimizing your website for recruiting, your ideal candidates are your target audience, and the content on your careers pages and elsewhere needs to speak to them. Take time to investigate and understand the pain points of a variety of people in your industry. How does your organization ease or support some of these pain points? What solutions do you offer as an employer that your competitors might not offer? Don’t lump all candidates in the same category. Chances are, you have at least one ideal candidate per job type and need to speak to them all.

Realize, too, that your careers section is not the only place you can feature recruiting-related content—instead, use it as the hub. For example, you can publish employee profiles or thought leadership stories about working in your industry on your blog—and then cross-publish them on a careers page. You can also cross-publish data and fast facts about your staff’s credentials, your employee value proposition, or anything else that builds your case as a stand-out employer.

6. Convey your mission, vision, values, and culture.

Today’s job seekers care about your mission, vision, values, and culture—and expect to see signs of these on your website. Studies show, in fact, that high achievers care more about areas like creative innovation, intellectual curiosity, and a growth mindset than they care about salary raises or bonuses. High achievers seek purpose in life and want to work for an organization that enables them to make a difference, explains Daniel Pink in his bestseller, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us.

Younger job candidates, and plenty of older ones, too, embrace diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) and will look for evidence of your DEI values and initiatives on your website. You can—and should—weave in information about your DEI plan and overall culture across your website. Likewise, consider designating a separate space on your website for your culture and DEI plan, while creating and sharing videos, blog posts, and other content that raises awareness about your initiatives. This kind of integrated content can go a long way in helping your organization demonstrate that your commitment to DEI extends beyond mere words to action. And as studies continue to reveal, this, in turn, will bolster your hiring practices—and ultimately, your performance and business.


Remember: you don’t have to optimize your website for recruiting on your own. At Astriata, we help organizations and companies of all sizes get the results they want with our award-winning web design and development and usability testing with our proprietary application, UserHappy®. Reach out to start the conversation.

Looking for more recruiting tips? Read “6 Tips for Recruiting Gen Z Into Your Professional Organization,” and stay tuned for a story about a related topic: retaining your top talent.


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