Why Build a Custom HR Recruiting Website?

Approaches to HR Recruiting Sites:
Which is Better, Custom or Off-The-Shelf?

There are a constantly expanding number of HR Recruiting solutions on the market. Just about every day it seems there is a new SaaS or Cloud product that claims to provide the perfect talent acquisition solution. Given all these ‘out of the box’ alternatives, why should your company create a custom digital solution for your HR recruiting needs?

The truth is that if all your organization is looking for is baseline functionality at a low cost, one of the ‘out of the box’ solutions may be good enough to meet your needs. Openings will be posted, applications will be submitted, and (hopefully) jobs will be filled.

But, if you want to go beyond the functional baseline, a custom, integrated solution will almost certainly be more valuable, and in the long term will prove to be more cost-effective as well. Off the shelf solutions, by their nature, offer a standard framework and structure which limits the opportunity for customization.

A custom solution provides better integration on the front end (without sacrificing backend functionality), which offers significantly better opportunities to tell the right story, to the right potential employee, at the right time. By showing off your brand, your culture, and your community in an integrated context, your organization is better poised to achieve your recruiting goals.

A Case in Point: DaVita

DaVita Careers HomepageThe1stMovement recently launched the careers website for Fortune 500 healthcare provider DaVita (you can visit the site at careers.davita.com). With over 40,000 teammates (or employees) in locations throughout the United States, and nearly 2,000 positions available at any given time, DaVita needed a solution that would be scalable on the front-end while also integrating seamlessly into Taleo, their backend HR Recruitment system.

Equally important to the DaVita team was developing a solution that tells the story of the company’s unique culture. At DaVita, the company philosophy is summed up in the phrase, “we are a community first, a company second.” Potential teammates need to understand the unique culture to be able to self-select if they may be a fit with the mission and core values, or not.

The solution our team created for DaVita is uniquely successful on a number of levels. First, it serves the needs of the organization by providing a fun, engaging, and shareable site, dynamically updated with real-time and relevant content. Second, it is designed to work for the breadth of the audience by using a combination of responsive web design (where a single site is optimized for devices ranging from mobile to tablet to desktop) and location-based content (based on geolocation). And third, the site works from a business process perspective, as custom APIs allow the site to integrate with Taleo (a popular talent acquisition system acquired by Oracle in 2012) while still remaining on the DaVita site.

In short, this custom-designed careers website allows DaVita to capture more qualified applicants through an interactive storytelling experience and more user friendly application process. Since launch, the website has seen an average monthly visitor increase of over 88% and over 49% increase in mobile traffic.

Key Considerations

A custom HR Recruitment website is not appropriate for every situation. Although there are clear benefits to building a customized solution, it also requires an additional commitment of time and energy from key organizational stakeholders. Someone from within the organization must take responsibility for coordinating and implementing a holistic strategy, and will also need to plan ongoing maintenance and governance of the web application moving forward post launch.

As you go down the path of deciding how to move forward with your recruitment solution, it can be helpful to consider the following:

What are your organizational objectives?

Prioritization is a fact of life, and setting strategic objectives is essential to determining where an organization should invest. Beyond the high level objectives, what are the project success factors and key performance indicators (KPIs)? What is your launch plan, and what is driving the dates?

Who is your target audience?

Of course, every organization has a pretty good idea of who they are trying to recruit, but building out a matrix of your target audience (including role and geography) is an important starting point to defining an engagement strategy. Don’t just ask who they are. What do they care about? What technology do they use? What social networks are they a part of? Who do they respect?

What is your engagement strategy?

Building an engagement strategy is a key part of the process, and generally involves gaining a better understanding of your audience by conducting research and modeling their user journey. User Journey Mapping is a process that involves identifying some version of their values, behaviors, and desires then mapping them to key engagement points.

What technology platform are you utilizing on the backend?

Many organization are looking for a solution that will integrate with their Oracle (Taleo), SAP (SuccessFactors), or other enterprise level talent acquisition solution. Virtually all of the established solutions support integration through APIs, as do many of the emerging players in the SaaS market. But, it’s important to understand what level of integration you are looking to create.

Have you developed a maintenance and governance plan?

Launching a website is like planting a garden. You set out a framework and plan, but will still need nurturing, weeding, and more than a bit of fertilizer from time to time. In some ways, it’s more of a beginning than an end.

So, is custom the right approach for you?

If your organization places a strong value on telling your story in the context of recruiting, if you are looking for a solution that is integrated seamlessly into the overall structure and fabric of your corporate web presence, and if you are looking to increase the quality (rather than just the quantity) of job applicants, then a custom solution is very likely the most appropriate approach.

Note: This article is cross-posted at blog.the1stmovement.com, and will appear in the October 2013 issue of HR Magazine.

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