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Case Study: What Amtrak Gets Right About Its New Careers Page

A great job listing is a good start, but attracting top talent requires much more than that.
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You've already heard that the refrain of "If we post it, they will come" is folly when it comes to recruiting top talent. Job listings on their own are not enough to lure the best candidates to your company; you need good job listings.

Except, that still only amounts to a half-measure. While a strong listing is better than a boring one, even getting people to the point where they'd click through to see your vacancies is a major part of the recruiting process.

A couple months back, Dan Finnigan, CEO of social recruiting platform Jobvite, told Inc. that companies that have mastered online recruiting feature fantastic careers sections on their websites. Finnigan goes so far as to describe recruiting on the web as a marketing job.

So what does a great jobs site entail? For starters, it should be easy to use. But you'll also want content that shows off your company's culture, a look behind the scenes at your company, and a good summary of the company's mission from an employee's perspective.

A good rule of thumb: You should think potential candidates would find your careers page interesting even if you didn't have a single job listing available at the time.

Case Study: Amtrak

This all sounds nice, but really, where does the careers section of a website rank on anybody's priority list? Well, it might register a little higher if you see what a good one looks like.

Amtrak, the train service, recently unveiled its new jobs site, as detailed at recruiting site ere.net. Previously, Amtrak's careers section looked like any other job search engine from a decade ago. Not only was the technology clunky, but it offered little beyond the opportunity to apply for open positions.

Amtrak recruiting manager Kerry Noone tells ere.net, "There was not really any employer brand message incorporated in it. We’ve never had an employee value proposition. We’ve never had a distinct employer brand message."

The new careers page corrects that. It features subpages about Amtrak's values and culture, and its commitments to diversity and veteran hiring, as well as an FAQ page.

While that content makes the careers page more vibrant and attractive, the site's design and functionality also figure to create a better candidate experience.

For example, the new page features big, striking visuals and an easy-to-use interface. And it's going a step beyond that by implementing systems that match candidates, based on the profiles they create, with positions they might be best suited for. As an example, Amtrak is creating a "military skills translator," which suggests Amtrak careers based on veterans' military positions. The site also has increased mobile functionality.

Your resources--both in terms of time and money--might hurt your ability to rethink your careers page, but you should recognize the importance of showing off more than just job vacancies. And if you need some inspiration for what a new site might look like, you could do a lot worse than taking a trip to Amtrak's new careers site.

Last updated: Apr 2, 2014




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