I find it truly remarkable that we are all familiar with the phrase “I swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth” yet pretty much every organization on the planet claims to be a great employer; at least based on their careers websites.
I get it.
As much as we probably don’t like to admit it, we now live in a society that overwhelmingly suffers from a disease… a disease of “more”.
“I want more”
“I need more”
“I deserve more”
Intuitively, it makes sense that organizations typically focus their careers websites on what outsiders get more of by joining their team.
“Hey look! We give our staff free lunches and snacks!”
“Hey look! We offer some cool benefits!”
“Hey look! Here’s a video of a group of culturally diverse (models) employees talking about how much they love working here because of everything they get!”
The sad reality however is that no organization is perfect, and every organization struggles with different things that ultimately lead to people resigning and/or being terminated from the very same roles that hundreds of other people apply to each day.
We all know that, but to me… it seems like organizations are afraid to acknowledge that we know that.
Over the past year I've helped many organizations design or revamp their careers website, and I do my best to coach my customers the importance of not trying to be all things to all people, but to truly differentiate themselves in a way that will speak to their target job seeker audience.
Sure, there are basic fundamentals about an organization's culture, imagery of the workspace, employee testimonials, and demonstrations of how the organization lives their 'values' that fall under common best practice and are commonly found on careers websites, but I've been thinking more and more about the information that job seekers likely want before they apply, but never gain access to.
So here we go!
Here are four things that I'd love to see on every organization's careers website, but probably never will.
1 - The organization’s attrition rate over the past few years.
People and organizations “break up” every day.
That’s (business) life, and it happens.
Specific instances of people exiting an organization are not an indicator of the ‘health’ of an organization as an employer. Distinct attrition patterns that emerge over prolonged periods of time however, could be.
Attrition is normal and is expected, but to me, if an organization has an attrition problem (an attrition rate way higher/lower than industry norms), they have an attrition problem for a reason. A careers website could be a great piece of digital real estate to acknowledge those challenges, and show job seekers what they are doing to address them.
2 - Themes from recent exit interviews.
I’m not talking about word for word transcriptions, and I’m not talking about updates every time someone leaves an organization. I am however talking about themes from exit interviews conducted over the past year. Again, no organization is perfect, and exit interviews provide value if conducted in the appropriate environment and context.
I wouldn’t just want to see what themes popped up; I would also be interested to see how organizations have responded to those themes. Great organizations react to stimuli. Awful ones sweep them under the rug and pretend they never happened.
3 - Summaries of the leadership team’s personal development plans.
It’s a broadly accepted fact that people don’t typically quit jobs - they quit managers.
As a job seeker, don’t you think it would be a huge differentiator to know if the job offer you’re about to sign is tied to a manager that legitimately cares about, and is empowered to develop their team?
To me, if an organization doesn’t have the appetite to/isn’t equipped to develop their leaders, they probably aren’t motivated to/equipped to develop their staff. People are not robots or apps that can be updated by a simple download, and developing talent is the result of an organization’s learning mindset.
By showcasing what professional muscles an organization’s leaders are working to develop, it could be a clear indicator that professional development matters to the organization – from the top down – and that their leaders lead with humility.
4 - Transparency as to how successful hires will be chosen, and subsequently evaluated 90, 180 and 365 days in.
This one boggles my mind.
If you look at a random sampling of 10 careers websites, I guarantee you that none of them actually articulate to job seekers how successful hires will be chosen, and subsequently how their performance will be measured once onboard. If a typical selection process involves say 3 or 4 hours of conversation via interviews, don’t you think those 200 minutes could be much more effective for both parties if they had a clear understanding of what success looked like and how it would be determined post hire?
I get it...
These ideas are (potentially) scary.
We are so accustom to advertising now that it takes something really different to stand out.
The problem however is that standing out and doing something outside of our comfort zone of ‘best practice’ takes guts!
At the end of the day however, signing an offer letter shouldn’t feel like buying a used car, and in life there are no warranties.
From my perspective, job seekers are going to discover all of the skeletons hidden in an organization’s closet within weeks of signing on the dotted line, so why not make those challenges visible from day one so applicants can make an educated decision re whether they enter the selection process or not?
Sure, if an organization were to implement these ideas, it would likely result in a dramatic decrease in the number of people that apply to an organization.
If implemented, these ideas could (potentially) make an organization REALLY stand out and only attract job seekers that are fully vested in joining the organization - warts and all.
I suppose the only way to know for sure is to have A Few Good Men step up and give these ideas a try.
Talent acquisition pros:
Do you swear to tell the truth on your careers websites, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, or are you like my boy Jack?
That’s for you to decide.