In honor of the 20 year anniversay of hypertext markup language (HTML–the computer language that made the graphical web what it is today) I thought it would be an interesting project to see how company career sites have progressed over the years.
Thanks to the Wayback Machine anyone can see archived versions of websites. One in particular that I checked out is IBM’s. Back in 1996 it’s interesting to see that IBM had a very plain site overall and only an employment link on their home page leading you to rudimentary job information. In 2000 there’s a dedicated, branded page for careers listing a series of questions (answered when clicking on the link) that reflect different aspects of their employer brand. Those links just brought you to an inner text heavy page that expanded on the question–but not by much.
In 2001 it was more of the same, albeit with different imagery. They listed reasons to work at IBM and again, clicking on the statements took you to an inner text page with a little more info.
2002 saw different graphics but much the same content displayed in a different way which pretty much stayed the same up to 2008 when their site took a major step forward. Now they had flash images, a careers newsletter, and more in-depth content about the company. There’s even a mention of social networking, however, it was talk of how it was used in the workplace, not necessarily as a recruitment platform.
The use of Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to connect to candidates was implemented on their site in 2010 along with a video, which was inconscpicous at the bottom of the page. But, content became more personal.
Today their career site has a cleaner, more thought-out layout, tabs at the top of the page leading to “Life at IBM,” “Diversity” pages and a separate section on “University Recruiting,” along with downloadable pdfs, and a ton of other content. And that video? Still there but in a more prominent place.
So, what’s the takeaway? Your career site needs to take advantage of the leaps in technology and become a multi-media resource for applicants, not just a listing of jobs and benefits. This is where you have the most control over how your company is presented to new applicants. Make sure you take advantage of video, social media, links to career development information, job feeds, interactivity, retargeting candidates who have visited your site but left, on and on. And, also pay particular attention to the candidate experience. View your career site from the perspective of the applicant. Doing less defeats the purpose of your most widely viewed recruiting tactic.