How to Personalize Your Career Site: Advice from a Talent Marketing Expert

Jenn Thomas

If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a thousand times: When it comes to today’s top talent, continuous personalization is key. But what does personalization really mean in the context of your career site and warp speed developments in artificial intelligence? 
 

Reaching best-fit talent effectively requires changes in strategy and approach...especially when it comes to the look, feel, and function of your career site. One talent marketing guru knows this better than most.
 

During our IAMHR virtual event, Ashley Burns, Sr. Manager of Talent Acquisition at Newell Brands, shared her data-centric strategy for showcasing impactful, relevant content candidates care about most — and how HR tech gives the consumer goods leader a leg up on the competition. 
 

Top areas of focus included:

  • Showcasing your values to drive job application rates

  • Building your talent community with customized campaigns

  • Launching and promoting ERGs

  • Enlisting AI and analytics to optimize strategies
     

Being a content fanatic myself, I was fully immersed in this session — and promise you'll grab some great inspiration for your own talent marketing plans.
 

First, The Essentials: Flexibility & Process Ownership
 

As the parent company of a host of popular consumer product staples — Sharpie, Yankee Candle, Marmot, Expo, and Coleman to name a few — Newell is well-versed in the importance of brand management. And because of the fast-paced nature of the consumer goods industry, something is nearly always new or changing at the company. As a result, keeping talent up to date is a big part of Burns’ role.
 

The flexibility and process ownership offered by Phenom’s Talent Experience (TXM) platform is essential to helping Burns stay ahead of communication with candidates, especially across their career site. 
 

“On-the-fly customization is huge,” she said. “Every industry is different, but with ours we’re ever changing, and we needed to be able to own that ourselves.” In 2020, the capability enabled Burns to post immediate updates regarding COVID response, as well as the company’s continued diversity and inclusion outreach.

Example of on-the-fly customization on career site

Not only did this type of agility prove instrumental in keeping candidates informed and up-to-date on the issues that matter most to them — it allowed Newell to showcase necessary pivots in product strategy due to the pandemic.
 

Showcasing Your Values to Drive Job Application Rates
 

The secret to an engaging career site, according to Burns?
 

It must include differentiating content that answers three important candidate questions: why, what, and how. Why is working at your company going to be an experience they won’t find anywhere else? What values set the organization apart? And how will a career there help them grow personally and professionally?
 


“What on your site makes you different than the rest?,” Burns charged TA leaders to ask themselves. “I think it’s a really important question,” she asserted. “There are a lot of sites out there that just have jobs listed or are focusing more on the company related to the jobs, not so much what the company is, what the culture is, and what the values are.”
 

Career sites that simply list open jobs and generic company information risk leaving candidates feeling indifferent (or worse, turned off) to the brand. The good news is there’s a ton you can do to personalize your career site and showcase a unique employee value proposition (EVP) — provided you have the right technology on your side. 
 

For example, Newell worked with the Phenom team to include stand-out customizations on their career site, including:
 

  • Access to the company’s Leaders Live! podcast and Executive Fishbowl video series to provide an authentic view of how the company is being led

    * Their 37 YouTube Leaders Live! videos posted in 2020 garnered 8.14K subscribers — increasing their reach to talent and showcasing Newell as a true market expert and a great place to work!
     

  • A fun Spotify playlist designed with remote workers in mind
     

  • At-your-fingertips lists of comprehensive benefit offerings
     

  • Information on employee resource groups (ERGs) and community outreach efforts
     


Building Your Talent Community with Customized Campaigns
 

Attracting talent with a knock-out career site is a great first step. But then you need to engage job seekers to keep them on the site and turn them into leads. 
 

Newell’s personalized talent marketing campaigns fueled by Phenom’s AI focus on “meeting candidates where they are,” Burns said, through timely, relevant updates. Emails are designed to keep recipients scrolling, with multiple CTAs, and an invitation to join their talent community, which has grown by 27,000 members in just the past year, remarked Burns.
 


Related Content — How Newell Brands Boosted Applications 69% with A New Career Site and Chatbot


“We have been able to grow that by sending authentic messaging that makes people want to join our talent community so they can hear more about what's going on,” she continued. 
 


It’s no surprise candidates are engaged with their content. Recent campaigns have focused on fun ways to use their products during quarantine — from STEAM projects and backyard camping, to food storage and virtual coffee chats — with open jobs in those divisions featured alongside.
 

Because of Phenom’s easy-to-use canvases and back-end AI, these email campaigns can be designed and implemented quickly (personalization and all) by Burns and her team. Personalization is supported by data gathered through the talent community and job alert sign-ups. This allows timely communication on rapidly changing circumstances, such as new jobs related to store re-openings. 
 

Launching and Promoting ERGs
 

Diversity and inclusion (D&I) has always been a focus at Newell, and Burns wanted to communicate this on their career site with authentic messaging from the top. In response to 2020’s sharpened focus on the topic, Newell made D&I policy updates and strengthened its employee resource group (ERG) program even further. 
 

Burns immediately posted a video of Newell’s CEO sharing the company’s renewed commitment to D&I, and she consistently updates candidates on developments related to new ERGs and related events. 
 

“These are key things candidates want to know,” she said. “They want to know that work is going to feel like a home – somewhere they can actually be themselves and fit in the office environment.”
 

Enlisting AI and Analytics to Optimize Strategies
 

A self-professed “data nerd,” Burns can’t stress enough the importance of Phenom’s AI-supported talent analytics to enhance talent marketing strategies. “Analytics tell us how to change the site,” she said. On a daily basis, the tool gives her insight into what candidates are looking for, how much time they’re spending on certain pages, and other insightful data points used for optimization.
 


In particular, Burns uses data-driven insights to:
 

  • Assess featured job performance. With the addition of a “Featured Job” section to the career site, her team can see analytics on that specific role, measuring performance and applies. 
     
  • Measure campaign performance. An engagement funnel helps her measure the success of various types of campaigns, with metrics including how many recipients were reached, the number of apply clicks, and open rates. 
     
  • Make informed site updates. A net promoter score (or happiness calculator) and their AI-fueled conversational chatbot provide a consumer-like experience for career site visitors. 
     


Burns routinely filters ratings and studies comments to see what might be frustrating users, and then makes updates in response. We're getting probably 80 to 90 percent of apply clicks through the chatbot, Burns revealed. “So the numbers obviously prove it’s working.” 
 

Among her team’s future talent marketing goals is a Phenom canvas upgrade which will support even more content and video to keep boosting candidate engagement. “We're ready to take it to the next level,” Burns said, “which we're very excited about.” 
 

Considering their current career site stops me in my tracks, I can honestly say I can’t wait to see what they come up with next.
 


Want more inspiration? Check out Ashley Burns' entire presentation here!