Corporate Eye

A Super-Simple Website Checkup

The holiday season has begun, and it’s also nearing the end of the calendar year.  That means the workplace is either extra-busy or extra-lazy, or (more likely) an unpredictable combination of both.  So you might find an hour or two available for a little creative research.  Why not assess your company’s Career site?

Here’s a speedy approach that will hit the highlights and produce some useful insights.

First Impression. When a visitor arrives at the home page of the Careers site for the first time, they will instantly have an impression along one of these lines:

Positive:

1. Bold/energetic
2. Crisp/professional
3. Warm/friendly
4. Interesting/unusual
5. Inviting/appealing

Negative:

A. Messy/confusing
B. Dull/lifeless
C. Cold/formal
D. Typical/boring
E. Superficial/not worth my time

There could be a few other variants, but that’s enough to work with.  And different people will have different reactions–but the majority of visitors will probably fall into one of these categories for any given site.  So . . .

Step 1: Look at your company’s Careers site and decide where most people would put it.

Step 2: Decide whether the majority impression fits the company accurately.  If the impression is positive (1-5) and the fit is accurate, jump to Step 3.

If the impression is negative (A-E) . . . now it gets harder.  Is the website Dull/lifeless or Typical/boring because the company is?  Or because the company refuses to invest in a better site?  If either, stop reading and find something more useful to do.

But if not—that is, if the website is Cold/formal but the company is actually Warm/friendly (for example)—then you have identified an opportunity. Add it to the opportunity stack, and move on to Step 3.

Step 3: Count the number of clicks it takes to find some jobs, using reasonable criteria.  Now go to your company’s two nearest competitors and do the same thing.  Compare the ease of search, and find out if your site is at an advantage—or a disadvantage.

Step 4: Repeat Step 3 for a job application, but use minutes instead of clicks.

Step 5: Count the number of interesting/useful items on the site.  Count the number of useless/uninteresting items on the site.  Which number is larger?

If the comparisons in Steps 3, 4, and/or 5 reveal weaknesses, you have identified additional opportunities.  Add to stack.

Step 6: Review the opportunities and decide which ones could be addressed under current circumstances in this company.  If none, put a reminder on the calendar to review again in future.  If several, prioritize and add to task list, or pass on some suggestions to the appropriate people.

Done!

PS:  For another approach, revisit a previous post titled Test Question.

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Cynthia Giles has followed a serpentine career path from academia to publishing to marketing and design to information technology and corporate communications. There’s plenty of detail about this journey at www.cynthiagiles.com, but briefly--the common theme has been ideas, and how to present them effectively. Along the way, she became an accidental expert on data warehousing and business intelligence, and for the past ten years she has combined corporate contracting with an independent consulting practice that focuses on marketing strategy for smaller businesses and non-profits. Having spent quite a bit of time looking for work, and anywhere from two weeks to two years inside a wide variety of American companies—she has given much thought to what works (and what doesn’t) when it comes to creating a great employment fit.