The perils of company websites

Company websites may still be the favoured channel for candidates to find information about jobs, but don’t get too relaxed just yet as there’s a sting in this tail. Jobseekers don’t just want a job – they want a perfect match, so employers need to raise their game beyond yesterday’s benchmarks of what makes a great company site.

Employers are miles behind jobseekers and graduates in their use of social media, the interactive route to finding the best job match. These are among the findings of PotentialPark, Swedish talent and workplace research firm, who surveyed 19,551 students in Europe to discover their preferences for online, mobile and social recruitment.

Benchmarks for a bad website used to be along the lines of jobs that were out of date, ‘contact us’ email that went unanswered, or online applications that crashed after an hour of work. And let’s face it, there are some stinkers around that still fail on these counts. But the bar has since been raised a lot higher and there’s now a lot more work to do.

Now jobseekers are frustrated if they don’t get daily updates or some personal interaction too. So they’ll go to Twitter, Facebook or blogs for this kind of conversation and to give them a more nuanced view of companies, their culture and the jobs on offer.

Ideally your company site will communicate across all of these channels, and provide a fantastic careers landing page. If not, believe me they’ll go elsewhere. And if candidates have a bad time on your site, they’ll tell their friends about it. A massive 88% of jobseekers discuss their experiences according to recruitment specialists Robert Walters.

Allianz came up trumps in Potentialpark’s 2013 survey with Accenture and Roche close on their heels. They tick all the boxes of accessibility, clear and informative content and information on salaries and benefits. The more information you share with candidates on benefits the better, and HP also gets brownie points on this count for its transparency.

Forrester assessed the career sites of leaders in the job board, financial services and retail sectors a few years ago. It found that financial services sank to the bottom like a stone with job boards performing the best. The last outcome might be expected, but none of sites scrutinised were without flaws.

Totaljobs has put together an impromptu panel to comment on the best and worst – and everything in between – in company websites. Here’s what they said:


The worst

  • Of those companies who have a contact form for HR questions on their career website only 26% reply within two days and 63% do not reply at all. This remains the single biggest frustration for candidates.
  • Job ads and online applications get disruptive and are not integrated into the rest of the career website.
  • Seven in ten jobseekers have been turned off by a lengthy recruitment process . Making the initial process long-winded risks turning candidates off, especially when they are applying for a couple of jobs at a time.
  • Poor usability, in particular when jobs are more than a couple of clicks away from the main page.
  • Career websites that are infested with jargon and acronyms. If you are busy telling candidates that you like employees to ‘push the envelope’, or what skills to ‘bring to the table’, stop right now. Use simple terms that anyone can understand.


The best

  • Easy access to job ads and job search.
  • Clear overview of the companies’ presence on other channels, which  are complementary to the career website’s content.
  • Career websites that  interact with, coach and inspire visitors
  • Easy-to-use search
  • Concise, succinct job briefs
  • Job roles that are not described in minute detail: the majority of people won’t have done everything on the list and may be deterred from applying based on that, even though they may be the perfect candidate.


With thanks to our panel
Antoine Lhosmot of Potential Park
CEO, Lawrence Jones, internet hosting company UKFast,


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