How to Get Candidates to Apply Using the SAP SF Career Site Builder
Boost Applicant Quality: Tips to enhance your career site & attract more candidates.
Many professionals are considering leaving their current jobs to pursue roles that offer an improved work-life balance that’s more aligned with their values. They’re comparison-shopping and researching multiple opportunities before deciding on their next roles.
At the same time, many employers are struggling to attract top talent, while the candidate’s attention is getting increasingly dispersed. If job postings seem generic, if career sites don’t provide a clear idea of the expected work assignments as well as the company culture, or if it’s difficult to understand how to apply for the job, the inertia to submit a job application will likely increase and candidates will move on to another employer’s career site.
In this article, you’ll learn how to leverage a great tool inside the SAP SuccessFactors Recruiting module: the Career Site Builder. It will help you boost your employer branding strategy and online presence, and increase the number of candidates applying to your job opportunities.
What Is SAP SuccessFactors Career Site Builder?
The Career Site Builder (CSB) is an SAP SuccessFactors Recruiting Marketing functionality that allows companies to build and manage their own career site and drive job applicants through their recruiting processes.
This tool allows companies to shape the candidate experience from where it begins: the job application. The career site design makes it possible to facilitate:
The publication of job postings
The creation of career-related content—for example, company culture, day-to-day visibility, recruiting process overview, and FAQs
The different ways of collecting candidate data—for example, the creation of candidate profiles, data capture forms, and job applications
Continuous communication with candidates—for example, job alerts and email campaigns
Because CSB seamlessly integrates with the SAP SuccessFactors Recruiting Management module, it’s possible to retrieve the relevant candidate information when applying and continue the recruiting process in its different stages. This includes scheduling interviews, accepting offer letters, or requesting additional information at a later stage.
Standard, but still customizable, out-the-box components make it quick and easy to produce content and build web pages from scratch while respecting recruiting best practices and brand guidelines.
You can implement the CSB for both internal and external candidates, making it possible to create a similar experience for both types of candidates while still having targeted and customized content displayed for each group.
Today, many candidates use job boards when browsing job postings. With SAP SuccessFactors job distribution tools such as Recruiting Posting or XML feeds, you can drive candidates from multiple job boards to your career site. Additionally, using the Advanced Analytics functionality, you can enable performance analysis of each candidate source based on multiple metrics.
The Different Types of Career Sites
Nowadays, most companies have a corporate website, and some already have recruiting/career-related content available. If we look at it on a spectrum, you’ll see that companies either (1) don’t have any recruiting content; (2) have a lot of information available for potential candidates, publish job postings there, and even allow direct job applications; or (3) fall somewhere in the middle.
This distinction is relevant because it will have a direct impact on the implementation of the Career Site Builder. If the company is in situation #1 and doesn’t have any recruiting content, then that content can be created and included in the CSB implementation. We call this a CSB fully hosted career site.
Suppose the company is in situation #2 or #3. In that case, it usually means that there’s no gain in replicating all the content already created, and it would be better to try to integrate both websites. We call this an Integrated Career Site.
How you integrate the corporate site with the CSB site will vary depending on what should remain on the corporate site. The most common option is to link the corporate site content pages in the header or footer of the CSB site and maintain the job posting and job application process on the CSB site.
Remember that even if it’s a CSB fully hosted site, there should be links redirecting the candidate from the corporate site to the CSB site and vice-versa. This is also important from a Search Engine Optimization (SEO) perspective, a topic we’ll return to in the last section of this article.
The 4 Types of Career Site Pages and Their Purpose
There are four types of pages: the home page, content pages, category pages, and landing pages. Let’s delve into each.
1) The Home Page
The home page is self-explanatory. There’s only one, and it’s the default page where the candidate lands when accessing the career site. Given that the user’s average attention span is limited to just a few seconds, home page content needs to entice candidates to learn more about the company’s job opportunities. It should also provide multiple call-to-action opportunities—for example, either applying for a job or, at least, creating a candidate profile.
2) Content Pages
Content pages share any career-related content that candidates might use to make informed decisions—in this case, the decision to apply or not. Examples of content shared on these pages include:
Recruiting process overview (how many steps are expected from application to hire)
Awards/recognitions showing the organization is a great place to work
Content pages are an effective way to strengthen the company’s employer branding strategy and provide convincing arguments as to why candidates should join.
3) Category Pages
Group job postings for a specific category on a single page. There are many reasons for job grouping, including:
By job function or business unit—for example, engineering, sales, or marketing
By level of experience—for example, junior, mid-level, or senior
By employment type—for example, full-time or part-time
By seasonality—for example, summer or winter
The criteria chosen should help candidates navigate the career site and find job postings that better relate to the role they’re looking for, thus increasing the probability of a submitted application.
Category pages can also use some content, but not to the same extent as content pages. Typical content could be to clarify the role. For example, a candidate looking for consulting roles might find it particularly useful to see an explanation of the responsibilities of the consulting business unit, which can also include links to other company resources/pages.
4) Landing Pages
Landing pages are promotional/campaign-specific pages used during a specific timeframe to get candidates to apply. Recruiting events or email campaigns are good reasons to create a custom landing page directed to a particular group (for example, science graduates) and get candidates to notice the page and apply through a data capture form.
Companies can use Advanced Analytics in combination with the Source Tracker tool to see the number of visits, applications started, applications completed, as well as qualified candidates.
Branding and Styling
A common mistake when designing a career site is to attempt to make a replica of the corporate site. The purpose of the career site is twofold: to add value to the corporate site by adding functionality that provides information to job seekers about career opportunities and company culture, and helping candidates apply for jobs.
That doesn’t mean that the look of the career site must precisely match the corporate site. Of course, the design and styling must follow the brand guidelines and provide the same look and feel as the overall company environment.
However, achieving a look that’s almost identical to the corporate site will require a lot of customization, with code developed from scratch and a lot of effort when evaluating the site's usability.
The 4 Dos and 4 Don’ts of Building Career Sites
Do #1: Use Quick Apply Whenever Possible
The Quick Apply functionality allows candidates to submit a job application and create a candidate profile with the minimum number of fields required. This creates less friction to apply, decreases the time needed to submit the form, and, as a result, increases the likelihood of completion.
Top Tip: Want Quick Apply to be permanently enabled? Automate it using a business rule that triggers when saving a job requisition!
Do #2: Have Multiple CTAs on Every Page
Every page has an intended purpose, and the candidate needs to know which actions they’re expected to perform. One of the most common calls to action (CTAs) is the action of submitting a job application or an unsolicited application. Other examples of CTAs include an alert for future job openings, or incentivizing the candidate to share a page/job or to learn more about the company and follow it on social media. The bottom line is don’t leave the candidates guessing. Instead, lead them to the expected outcome while navigating that page.
Do #3: Include Relevant Filters for Your Ideal Candidates
Consider your available job openings and identify the criteria that candidates will use to find those jobs. Examples of relevant filters include location, job category, level of experience, remote/on-site, pay range, full-time/part-time, and hybrid/in-office. Go one step further and create job category pages for one (or multiple) combinations of job criteria so that candidates can quickly identify where to look for relevant opportunities.
Do #4: Drive Candidates to Your Career Site by Using Other Platforms
Job boards, social networks, job ads, recruiting events, your corporate site, email campaigns, and blogs/articles are all places where candidates spend time and might be persuaded to apply. No matter how well-designed your career site is, if it’s hidden away on the internet, it won’t fulfill its goal: getting candidates to notice the available career opportunities and overcome the inertia of applying.
Don’t #1: Let Your Career Site Feel Outdated
People tend to choose the easy option, which means candidates will instinctively move on if your site seems outdated and it’s difficult to find the right information. Take advantage of the CSB components and create content relevant to the season or the available job opportunities. Using the image carrousel component to create banners with recruiting-related news is always effective—remember to include a link with the call to action.
Don’t #2: Go for Complex When You Can Choose Simple
Creating a big career site with multiple pages containing tons of information can be tempting. However, this will become hard to digest for a candidate jumping from a career site to job boards or other pages, often on a mobile device. A critical balance between too much and too little is required. Maintain focus on the candidate experience and try to provide only information relevant to candidates. Use candidate feedback from the recruiting process to discover and make enhancements you haven’t thought of.
Don’t #3: Think of the Career Site as Being Solely for Job Applications
As we’ve highlighted so far, your career site is the first touchpoint and the beginning of your relationship with candidates, so it’s wise to leave a good first impression. After the first encounter, the relationship will continue to be nurtured during the recruiting process using the career site. The candidate can access interview scheduling, offer letters, and application status in the candidate portal. Internal candidates can also monitor the employee referrals made and have visibility of the status of those recruiting processes, such as screenings, interviews, and offers.
Don’t #4: Neglect the Power of Advanced Analytics
Your career site shouldn’t live isolated on the internet. If you want to understand and measure the number of candidates from each source, whether they’re a good fit, and how much it costs to publish jobs vs. the return on that investment, you need a system to feed information into Advanced Analytics. If you use Recruiting Posting, this happens automatically. However, if you publish manually in other places, you’ll need to use the Source Tracker to build unique URLs that will feed information to Advanced Analytics.
Standard or Custom Career Site?
One of the first questions our customers ask when they see the first iteration of their new career site is: “Can we customize it?” The answer is usually yes but to a certain degree.
The second question they usually ask is: “What’s the limit to that customization?” The answer leads us back to the advantages of implementing the career site with CSB.
Let’s quickly recap a few:
It’s integrated with SAP SuccessFactors Recruiting Management and with the thousands of job boards using Recruiting Posting.
SAP’s biannual releases can bring great new features to the career site.
It’s a faster implementation than creating a site from scratch.
Ready-to-use standard components help to update the career site, even after the implementation is finished and by someone that doesn’t know how to code.
Firstly, the customer owns any custom code inserted in the career site using the custom plugin component or placed in the header or footer, meaning that SAP won’t take responsibility for support if something breaks. Even though the code works fine today, SAP’s biannual releases might impact the current career site configuration. That’s why it’s essential to have a system to test the career site during the release period to catch errors in time to fix them.
Secondly, your implementation efforts will increase considerably—not just the development effort, but the cost associated with a longer implementation timeline. Even though some changes seem very small, they will still need to be tested in all browsers and on different devices to guarantee usability and site consistency. Custom changes add up quickly, and so does the effort of guaranteeing that they’ll work everywhere.
Lastly, custom code will lead to increased complexity. If a career site is built mainly around custom code, how likely is it that it’ll be updated frequently? It’s advantageous to allow non-coders to update the career site content frequently without relying on development teams or external vendors to code and test.
To summarize, consider the above arguments when assessing your need for custom code. If you have the resources (a team that can develop, test, support, and update the content) and if it fits your implementation timeline and budget, it might be worthwhile to pursue the customization path. If you want a more agile and lean approach, the best advice is to stick to the standard.
Importance of Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
A massive amount of information is being added to the Internet every day. No one knows how much (since the volume is so large, it’s nearly impossible to keep track of), but it’s estimated that by 2025, the amount of data generated each day will reach 463 exabytes globally. And just how big is an exabyte? We’re talking about one billion gigabytes!
Your career site is competing with other sites for a ranking in the search results of the candidate’s search engine (usually Google but not always). If you have poor content and a bad ranking, it will be increasingly difficult for candidates to stumble onto you.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) should be a high priority when designing a new career site so that it ranks higher in search engine results, driving more traffic without sponsored ads.
SAP already puts considerable effort into getting the career site in the first few search results. Tools such as daily sitemap updates, crawler-friendly features, relevant URL structure, auto-generated pages, and job posting updates every 29 days help the career site stay relevant for candidate search results.
Follow the tips in this article to start leveling up the quality of your career site and get more candidates to apply.
If you want guidance and assurance that your career site will get the desired results, reach out to our experienced team. Again, a career site should not be an isolated web page. Our team focuses on designing great, responsive career sites while prioritizing getting them in front of candidates, so you get the applications you need to start recruiting.
Our consultants have hands-on experience implementing and re-implementing SAP SuccessFactors Career Sites, bringing together the company’s hiring needs and candidate experience. Talk to us to see how we can help you get started.
About the author
Joao Caldeira is an SAP SuccessFactors Recruiting Consultant at Effective People.
Joao is deploying his combination of people and IT skills into helping companies design and implement HR digital solutions in order to improve internal efficiency and maximize both user and candidate experience.
Joao writes about human capital management, HR strategy, recruitment, selection, training and development, performance evaluation, onboarding, HR data and analytics, coaching, and HR in general.