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Rule 2 for designing a recruiting site: candidates are most important

You would think after three decades of web-based recruiting sites that the folks designing these sites would have figured out the basics.

You would be wrong.

I’ve talked about this before (well, ok, many times) – candidates are the key component of any recruiting site or job board. Period. If you don’t have candidates utilizing your services, you can’t fulfill your core mission in life. Which is what??

Helping employers fill their jobs or talent pipelines or whatever they want to call it.

I look at 3o-45 job boards and recruiting sites every month. Month after month, year after year. (Yeah, I know – living the dream!) Guess what? For at least 30% of these sites, the design focuses on the employer – not the candidate. And yes, this number has remained relatively constant for (gulp!) years.

Now why would that happen? The answer is simple – and obvious. It’s all about the money. Employers (at least for most sites) pay the bills – so you can understand why these businesses would focus on their revenue-producing customers.

Yet by focusing on employers, these sites are shooting themselves in the foot (or stepping on their own shoelaces, or whatever metaphor you prefer). Employers are willing to pay so that they can find candidates. But an employer-focused site doesn’t attract candidates – if anything, it repels them.

Now, there is an exception to this rule. If your business is focused on sourcing candidates through data collection and culling, for example, then your site would simply focus on selling that capability to employers. Of course, then you wouldn’t really be building a recruiting site, I guess! Not every business that supplies candidates to employers is actively collecting those candidates – sometimes they are simply gathering previously collected candidates, and reselling them. 

Bottom line: if you’re building a job board or recruiting site, you must appeal to candidates. If you have candidates, the employers will come.

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