Creating a Career Website Content Plan

Preparing a career website content plan is like preparing for a public speaking event. You know that feeling. You’ve been engaged to speak at a conference, a not-for-profit you volunteer with, your board or administrative committee, or even a group of employees within your organization. And with your busy schedule, you suddenly realize that you’ve not done your preparation. Researched properly. Pulled together materials for handouts. Completed your presentation. All you know is that the time is now and you’re unprepared, and you need to do something that won’t make you look foolish and unimpressive to your audience.

If your company doesn’t have a web content plan, then you understand my anxiety; your internet properties are living my nightmare of disorganization and unpreparedness.

Sure, you’ve done stuff. You’ve got stuff. Some of it may even be good stuff. But, for want of a plan, the good stuff has either gotten lost in a sea of other, not-so-good, unrelated stuff or sits all alone on an island of web page white space. Either way, you are failing at the central mission of recruiting because you’re sending your potential candidates messages of disorganization and disregard.

We’ve heard a variety of excuses over the years for not having a web content plan. You may recognize some of them. They range from, “We don’t have time for that,” to “It’s too late now,” to “We don’t even know where to start.” To which I respond, yes, you do; no, it’s not; and I can help you with that.

First things first: Haste makes waste, and — as with so many things in life — taking the time to plan for your organization’s internet messaging will save you lots of time in the long run. And saving time means saving money. Plus, it will mean its better run. Now, who doesn’t like decreasing costs while also improving performance?

Second – Even if your company has a hodgepodge of activities scattered across the web, it’s never too late to endow them with some structure. In fact, the first step to improving your current situation is to review and evaluate it. But the longer you wait, the harder it becomes, and the more potential candidates you inadvertently turn off.

Here at HealthComm, we look at a lot of healthcare recruitment sites. A lot. And you know what — you should, too. It’s the best way to see what’s out there, what’s possible, what works, and what, quite frankly, doesn’t.

When a career site works, it furthers the end goal of recruitment, which is to increase hires. To increase hires, you need to increase applicants. And to increase applicants, you need to sell your organization as a great place to work. Why? Well, what do smart consumers do? Research. And so do smart job seekers. So if that’s the kind of applicant you hope to attract and engage (smart, that is), you need to give them reasons to choose you over the competition.

Bottom line — developing a career site and leveraging it as a recruitment tool will be time, and money well spent.

So let’s get to the real point of all of this, that is, some simple tips to get you started on the road to a well-designed, purposeful, compelling web content plan.

  1. Most important of all is the fact that you do need a careers site, separate from your organization’s main site. It’s not even up for debate. Simply put, your missions are different, so your sites should be as well. Focus your careers site on your recruitment mission, that is, selling your organization as a great place to work.
  2. Already have a career site but still in need of a plan? First, give it a good, long, honest look. Catalog its salient features, including its pages and the information contained on each, its navigation, the variety of tools you currently use (narrative, photography, video, etc.), and the paths available for getting to your job search (Tip here: Easy and often are keys to success).
  3. Determine which bits of your current site you should keep and which you should toss. Keepers: pieces that are visually appealing, informative, and have received positive traffic in the past. Tossers: anything unreadable on your average smartphone; lengthy passages of narrative text; any barrier to accessing your job search function.
  4. Take a look at what you’re tossing, and determine if it can be saved. For example, if you currently have detailed paragraphs about all your employee benefits — no matter how delightful the prose — consider replacing them with a bulleted list, because, hey, listing your benefits is a great thing to do. And bulleted lists are easy on the eyes.
  5. Now here comes the fun part. Start talking to people in your organization to get a sense of what it is they like about working there. Satisfaction surveys are a simple way to learn more about your organization’s workplace climate. When both gathering the information and communicating it to your future applicants, remember to cover the wide variety of your organization’s jobs, but keep the focus on your clinical staff because (a) those jobs are the most critical to your organizational mission; (b) they comprise the majority of your open positions at any given time; and (c) they are the hardest to fill. List what you learn. Things like productive teamwork, supportive leadership, low turnover, opportunities for education and advancement, and the chance to have fun on the job and build positive relationships, are always topics that make for compelling content.
  6. Embrace your organizational identity, and craft your message around it. Sell your brand at every opportunity. Maybe you’re a small town favorite, known to generations as a cornerstone of your tight-knit community. Maybe you’re a big city organization, brimming with the latest technologies. Maybe you’re a dedicated and decorated research facility with fantastic opportunities for professional growth.
  7. Decide how you can best showcase your workplace positives. Aim for a rich variety of techniques — narrative, bulleted lists, video, simple charts, photographs, video — and match each bit of subject matter to its best medium. For example, announcements about upcoming events make great social media posts, while “A Day in the Life of A Nurse at Healthytown Hospital” can make for a captivating video blog post. And don’t forget to use them to reinforce each other. Follow up those events you announced on Facebook with a blog post about how successful they were. And tweet “Check out our Day in a Nurse’s Life video blog at blah-blah-blah-URL.” Hey! That’s only 68 characters!
  8. It’s a time-honored principle — often employed by writers, filmmakers, and advertisers — that big event’s, places, and situations are best illuminated through small, personal stories. So keep it real, and keep it all about your organization and its people. Today’s ease of production means that there’s no reason you can’t use your organization’s own photography, video, podcasts, etc. Show your real employees doing real work. As a bonus, those current employees will enjoy the positive attention, making them even more likely to praise your organization to friends and family as a great place to work. Referrals? Ka-ching!
  9. Never, ever, ever lie to your employees or your future employees.
  10. Establish a schedule for future content, and revisit your scheduling several times a year to make sure you’re keeping up with your organization’s calendar and keeping current with your ongoing content, such as a recruitment blog. It’s enormously off-putting for a candidate to check out your recruitment blog and find that it hasn’t been updated in a couple of years. (It happens!) Even static content, like your list of employee benefits or tips for completing your job application, should be revisited periodically to make sure the information is accurate and up-to-date.

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