Career Site Templates

UX Research, UX Design

Introduction

At Hireology, a subscription often includes a career site focused on recruitment and employment marketing. For smaller companies, the idea of having another website to manage can sound daunting. In many cases, a company’s HR and hiring department only consists of one person. That person is often so busy with other facets of hiring and managing employees that they don’t have time (or even the ability) to manage a career site.

Hireology helps these customers by offering career site templates that are already designed. Once Hireology receives the relevant information for the career site, a customer success associate can easily install and manage it for the customer upon request.

Hireology offers a range of solutions to launch a career site. Customers with basic subscriptions can find an attractive career site template that a Hireology representative will launch for them. Hireology also offers a fully customizable career site for clients who need a very specific experience built out. 

Layered tiles showing modules and widgets that can be added to a career site template

Brief

Like many tech startups, new features are sometimes tested and added on a case-by-case basis depending on customer requests. Incorporating career sites happened like this for Hireology. Eventually, the career site templates that were created in the beginning became part of a catalog for future customers to pick from. As with anything else in website design, these templates began to show their age and decline in their usefulness. As the UX designer on the career sites team, I was asked to look at Hireology’s current career sites templates and the process through which they were implemented. My goal was to discover any areas for improvement and to propose an updated approach to address this need for our clients.

Hireology’s Career Site Process

The process for setting up a career site through Hireology’s product experience goes as follows:
Step 01: Sign Up
A customer subscribes to Hireology’s entire hiring suite. One part of this hiring suite includes a career site that showcases a company’s culture, benefits, and career openings.
Step 02: Set Up

An implementation manager reaches out to the company. While setting the client up to use other aspects of Hireology’s product, they also ask if the customer would like to use their included career site. If the answer is yes, the customer is allowed to pick from one of five existing site templates.

Step 03: Send Content
The client is asked to provide relevant information about the company to add to the career site, such as benefits and core values. They can also provide images and videos for the site.
Step 04: Approval
With an internal tool, a Hireology project manager fills out all the blank fields in the template, and then uploads images and video. The career site is launched and sent to the client for approval.
Step 05: Edits
Pending any edits, the career site goes live. Open positions are automatically posted to the career site through Hireology’s applicant tracking system. The client is free to request edits to the site at any time, and is able to request specific customization at an additional cost.

Competitive Research

 

My first steps were not only to look at Hireology’s existing process and tools, but to also look at the process and tools of competitors in the same space. I wanted to see who offered something similar to a career sites function, and what their process was for implementing their career site product.

Are the career sites built from scratch, or from a template?

A majority of the competitors I looked at offered their career site in a templated format. The design already existed and was lightly customized to match a company’s branding. A smaller sampling of competitors offered completely customized career sites built from scratch.

If from a template, how many options were provided for customers to choose from?

If built from a template, the maximum available options for customers to choose from was two templates. Most competitors only offered one streamlined template.

If from a template, did the customer set the site up themselves using an existing tool? Or did a customer implementation representative set it up for them?

The answer to this question largely depended on the company size of the clients and the amount of money those clients wanted to spend. Smaller companies who worked with our less costly competitors usually had to set up their career site on their own through a customer-facing editor. Larger companies who worked with more costly competitors usually had the career site set up for them.

What different kinds of information did other companies deem useful for a career site? Was anything vastly different from the information that Hireology proposed was important, based on our research and experience?

Looking specifically at what information was included in templates and on career sites, a majority of the information used by our competitors was the same. Key focus areas included a list of job openings, facts about company culture, a list of employee benefits, and a place to apply for open positions online.

Did these career sites consist of multiple pages, or a single page?

A majority of career sites offered by our competitors were single-page templates with room for information that was relevant to a job search.

Problems with the Process

 

After breaking down the process of Hireology’s career site implementation and looking at our competitors, I saw a few issues that I wanted to solve to make the career site experience better:

Time to Launch

The process of setting up a career site was both lengthy and full of back-and-forth email and phone communication. Sometimes customers wouldn’t be able to provide information or images for the career site for weeks after the initial implementation call. Reminders were needed often so that clients remembered to send the necessary information for their career site.

Scalability

Sites were all built by hand. This was not an issue for an early tech startup, but was definitely not scalable as Hireology’s customer base grew in numbers. We needed a way of customizing templates that could happen without engineering assistance for every request.

Customer Satisfaction

Site update requests could add up to a long queue, which meant that some requests would wait weeks to be updated. Some edits even had to be completed by a developer instead of simply being updated with our internal tool by an implementation manager. This could result in extra time and extra frustration for the customer, as well as our customer success team.

Flexibility

Hireology’s technical method of creating a career site was rigid. Template layouts could not be modified using the internal tool, and additional sections could not be added without additional work from an engineer. This needed to be addressed both in the templates themselves, as well as in the internal tool we used. For example, it wasn’t possible for a client to move a gallery of images above the benefits list on their site if the template didn’t already come that way.

Design and Accessibility

Since many of the templates were designed and built a few years earlier, some of them needed a facelift. Some templates were not designed to be mobile-friendly, and needed an overhaul to ensure that accessibility standards were met. Additionally, because of the multi-page nature of some of the templates, many clients wanted to include information on their career site that wasn’t necessarily relevant to a job-seeker.

User Flows

After finishing up my initial research, I presented my findings to the product manager I was working with, as well as the VP of Product. In cooperation with the product manager, I started to brainstorm a solution for the problems listed above. I began by looking briefly at the users who would view these career sites, and created user flows to match.

The first user flow features an applicant who needs to be convinced to apply for a job at that company. After arriving at the site, they explore and read about employee benefits or workplace accommodations. This information compels them to apply. This user requires a site architecture that is easy to navigate to find the information they most want to know.

We also mapped out a user flow for a job applicant who already knows they want to apply to the specific company that owns the career site. They are more likely to skip over pages that contain information they already know. This user requires the shortest path to a list of open jobs, and then to an application.

Design

With these things in mind, I broke up all the information we would normally include on a career site into individual sections. For each section, I mapped out which layouts or mediums could be used to convey that information.

This stage was important, as I wanted to focus on a solution that was flexible and had the capability to scale as our career site offerings grew. I knew that because our clients varied, so would their career sites. The number of sections, the methods of presenting the given information, the order they would want to present them in, would all be different. An auto dealership’s career site would vary from the career site of a fitness studio.

As I worked on each individual section and looked at the array of different methods the information could be conveyed, I realized that what we needed wasn’t so much a template as a new way of building our career sites. A rigid template would not fit all cases, and would simply be perpetuating the same issues we were trying to solve for.

What we really needed was a selection of pre-designed building blocks that a site manager (or even potentially the customer themselves!) could pick from. These building blocks could be customized as necessary to build a site according to the customer’s specifications – preferably with the click of a button or a settings toggle that didn’t require the additional time of a developer.

A browser window displaying a diagram of Germain's site map
U

I broke up all the information ideally included on a career site into individual “blocks”. With each block, I diagrammed different ways that information could be conveyed. This way I would be able to tell if it was realistic to have one central career site them, instead of the multiple themes that currently exist. 

The Building Blocks

Putting It Together

A wireframe example of a full page desktop career site built out of blocks

With building blocks for each section, every block can be carefully optimized for a variety of screen sizes. Mobile and tablet access can be equally as simple and beautiful for users to navigate.

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The site’s accent color can easily be changed to match the customer’s main marketing color. Careful designs also ensure that any text is accessible in size and color, and can’t be manipulated by site managers.

A simple, one-page site design ensures that users focus on the content and are capable of easily navigating to the relevant sections.

Each building block is designed to display content in several variations. Building blocks can also shift vertically up and down the page with a simple drag of the mouse. These changes are easy and quick to make, increasing the speed at which customer requests can be fulfilled.

Eventually, the simplicity of this new site building tool could actually be moved to the user-facing platform. This would enable customers to launch their career sites on their own, instead of having to send all information to a site manager. This could potentially decrease the time-to-launch. It would also be a more sustainable way to scale the business side of career sites.

Conclusion

Researching, brainstorming and designing a new process with which to create career sites is only the beginning. A long project exists to transition current tools and experience to the updated process.

A laptop and mobile phone displaying the same career site mock up with different resolutions