It may sound obvious but your careers page is your shop window. While there are plenty of ways to advertize the fact that you’re hiring (more in social recruiting and job posting ) the starting point is a careers page.

Whether candidates spot that you’re hiring on a job board, or hear about it through word-of-mouth or social media, they will usually head to your careers page to find out more and to apply. So there needs to be something worth visiting when they get there.

Beyond listing jobs

Candidates want to see more than job listings, they want to look inside the company

The most powerful employer brands in the world, like Google or Amazon, work a bit harder than hanging up a “we’re hiring” sign. Candidates want to see more than job listings, they want to look inside the company.

Attract the right ones by providing a real sense of the environment they would be coming to work in and the team they would be working with. Ditch the stock photos and show pictures of your actual team and your workplace. Better still include video. It doesn’t have to have the production values of this Zendesk classic but it should offer an authentic peek behind the curtain.

There is more to company culture than a pinball machine

After a period in which company culture got conflated with facilities or game rooms, some sense is prevailing. Most smart people want to know why yours is an interesting or important place to work. If you have a mission or a set of values explain them on your careers page. People like to be inspired.

Getting it right might seem straightforward but there are five common mistakes we keep encountering:

  • 1
    You don’t have a careers page
  • 2
    Your careers page is hidden
  • 3
    It’s not up to date
  • 4
    Your job ads look dull
  • 5
    Applications disappear into a mountain of unread email

Make it simple to find your job openings with a “we’re hiring” link on your homepage. Most of the time this lives on the footer but if you’re doing a wave of hiring you might want to find room for it on the header at the top of the page. The best candidates are busy, make it easy for them and they will appreciate the effort.

There is no excuse for not having current listings. Why litter your shop window with broken goods or items that have already been sold? There are affordable tools, including Workable, that take the hassle out of updating your careers page.

Job descriptions and their shorter relative, the job ad, have long been seen as a chore. The downside of this is that most of them are deathly dull. The upside is that with a little time and nous you can write great ones which will stand out from the vanilla fare on offer elsewhere. For pointers take a look at Workable’s Ultimate Style Guide for Job Descriptions.

The most common frustration among job seekers is not hearing back from employers after applying. Don’t let your applications disappear into a dark and unloved corner of a shared email address.

Gregory Ciotti
Gregory Ciotti @GregoryCiotti
Help Scout

My favorite first approach for better job descriptions comes from Charlie Munger: "Avoiding stupidity is easier than seeking brilliance." Make a list of the language you've seen that sounds lazy, selfish, overused, or out-of-touch. Then avoid it.

Describe the opportunity in sincere language. "A great opportunity" is so often regurgitated on job descriptions it's become meaningless. Real opportunity is defined by what this person will contribute and why it matters. Attracting talented people starts with communicating that there is meaningful work to be done. Extraordinary people won’t take ordinary jobs.