What is your website really saying to potential employees?

Have you considered that almost every potential employee who considers applying for a job with your organisation will read through your website and use it to decide whether to apply for the job or not?

When EthicalJobs.com.au surveyed our community of ethical job-seekers in 2014, they told us that checking out a potential employer’s website was by far the most popular way to assess them, with 87 percent of job-seekers doing it, compared to just 68 percent who said they judged a potential employer by the content of their job ads.

And with your website playing such a crucial role for your potential employees, first impressions count more than ever.

One Mississippi. Two Mississippi. What can you actually convey in 2.6 seconds?

Eye-tracking research shows that users take just 2.6 seconds for the content of a website to make a first impression on them. So what should your organisation’s website say to potential employees in just 2.6 seconds?

For not-for-profits, answering this question can be particularly difficult. NFPs often address complex issues in the community, and it’s hard to distill these down into a single clear message.

So here’s some things to consider:

Your website is a marketing and branding document – so it’s imperative that your first impression leaves no doubt about your organisation’s commitment to its mission.  Think of it as an expanded business card or brochure for busy people.

And you don’t need to spend a fortune on designing or redesigning your site.  Taking the time to plan your content carefully will ensure you achieve a favourable impression.  Involve as many stakeholders as you can – even clients if possible – and you’ll be well on your way to creating an affordable, illuminating website.

You need to get your information across fast, so make your website copy easy to scan and to the point. If you do want to provide further details, consider adding a more in-depth page or allow interested users to download a PDF brochure.

Above all, remember the all important “why factor.”  Inspire potential applicants with images, success stories, and explain how and why their work will be important to you, clients and the broader community.

What will really attract potential employees about your website?

1.     Clean and simple. Begin by ensuring your website perfectly reflects your organisation’s identity and mission.  Go for clean lines, visible headings, and easy navigation. This shows that your NFP is well organised and transparent about its mission, work and ethics.

2.     Look at it from their point of view. Many organisations spend too much time waxing lyrical online without considering the needs of their audience.  The best websites understand who their readers are, what they want, and how to capture their attention the right way.  Got multiple online stakeholders? Consider creating customised sections in your website to target each demographic.

3.     Make your careers page prominent. Visitors to your home page shouldn’t have to hunt around or click through multiple levels of your site to find out if you have any positions vacant.  Make it clear on your home page where to find careers information, or if vacancies are irregular, consider a “position vacant” element right on your homepage.

4.     Employee insights. Potential applicants want to understand your ethos and workplace culture. Include a section on what they can expect when working with you – and don’t forget to focus on positive outcomes.

5.     Informative content.  Potential candidates visit your site to better understand your work and how your story fits in with theirs.  You need to convey this information simply and effectively:

  • Use bold headings to draw their eye to important points and statements that encapsulate your mission.
  • Add bullet points to break up larger chunks of info and make it easier for a reader to scan – rather like this blog.
  • Remember, you’re trying to provide a snapshot of your organisation. Don’t be tempted to throw everything in there and hope the candidate will find what they’re looking for.

6.     Case Studies. Stories are a great way to capture an applicant’s imagination and get them thinking about how their skills might aid your organisation. Create short, sharp case studies that focus on results. Management or staff blogs, if planned and monitored well to ensure they maintain your organisation’s voice, are also a great way to demonstrate transparency and approachability.

7.     Keep it short, sharp, and meaningful.  Too much information and your content won’t be read.  Too little and you risk leaving people confused about what you stand for.

8.     Learn from the best.  Research those not-for-profit websites that are already doing it well. You can see the not-for-profit websites judged “best in the world” at the Webby Awards site here.

And, if you’re in doubt, consult an expert. There’s simply no time to get this wrong – One Mississippi, Two Mississippi – the clock’s already ticking.

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