7 Essential Elements Of An Effective Staffing Agency Website
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The Successful Staffing Agency Website
So, you’re ready to build a staffing agency website and you’re wondering how to best go about it. It’s a worthy challenge and, while it is really very hard to differentiate one staffing agency website from another, it may be even more difficult to differentiate your staffing agency from your competitors. That’s where having an effective website can begin to add value.
Ubiquity is not on your side
If you are venturing into the world of staffing, you have probably done some research and know that it is a competitive playing field. If you are a veteran in the industry, you certainly know how competitive staffing is, and if you’ve lasted in the industry, you’ve probably figured out an approach that works in your favor, over time.
Staffing, regardless of the niche, has become ubiquitous to the point that many believe that anyone can do it. In fact, the bar to entry has become so low that professionals who dedicate years to the profession often get a bad rap from being lumped in with the multitude of entry level recruiters, and have to fight uphill to prove themselves to worthy candidates.
The profession of recruiting has become undervalued because so many are given the title who have not earned it and have no business doing it. If you’ve ever looked for a job publicly, you may have experienced what I am talking about.
Use your website to differentiate
It’s difficult, at best, to stand in front of a prospective client while representing your agency and convince them that you are better than your competitors. After all, you both promise to deliver high-quality talent for their hiring consideration. The only way to really prove your superiority is through demonstration. Even then, it’s a hard sell to get that shot. It means you probably have to have competitive rates, a stellar reputation, great talent at your fingertips, or lots of luck — or all of the above.
Another way you can differentiate yourself from competitors is by creating a website for your staffing agency that provides a stellar user experience, letting prospective clients know exactly what it’s like to do business with your agency. By creating content that is useful to prospective clients, you can begin adding value before you ask anyone to sign your agreement or introduce a single candidate.
An effective staffing agency website should be focused more on adding value and less on talking about what you do. Your prospective clients already know that you are the best recruiter on the planet and that you recruit the best talent they’ve ever seen. Why do they know this? Because that’s what the last 100 recruiters or staffing sales executives told them, so why would they think you’re any different?
Lead with value, not talent
While many veteran headhunters still believe leading with talent is a winning formula, leading with value works even better. What does leading with talent mean? It is simply a method of opening the door to work on a client job order by presenting unsolicited candidates — usually one or two really good ones — to prove your worth. The flaw in this approach is that you have to assume what the client requires in a successful candidate and you run the risk of missing the mark by a mile. If you know the type of candidates the client hires, it’s possible you can use a great candidate to open the door, but it’s an overused and tired approach.
What if, instead of spending the time on finding candidates for job orders that may or may not come to fruition, you point the client to a great article on your website that talks about how to create a flawless interview process, or information on changes that are coming up in laws that may affect the use of contract labor? The idea here is to provide valuable content that your prospect (or client) can use. Make sure that the content is current, accurate, relevant, and easy to follow. And, make sure YOU know the content cold.
Adding value to a client may be a slightly longer runway to opening a door, but it’s a sure winner, and only an effective staffing agency website can help you accomplish this in a way that shines light on your value without telling.
The Essential Elements of a Staffing Agency Website
Staffing agencies only need to do a few things really well online, so as you begin to imagine (or reimagine) your staffing agency website, don’t overthink it. It’s about telling a story (not yours — the clients’). It’s about providing an exceptional user experience so when a prospect, client, or candidate lands on your website, they know exactly what to do without any guesswork.
So let’s look at the elements that will make your staffing agency website effective.
1. Modern Design
I can’t count the number of staffing agency websites that look like they were built in 1999 and left for dead. In some cases, these agencies are still updating open jobs on the website and expect clients and candidates to navigate the archaic design that rarely works at all on mobile devices. This is a massive faux pas. Your client will have an expectation that you’re on top of your game and your website should meet that expectation because it speaks volumes. Same for candidates.
Modern design should be responsive (mobile-ready) and it should seamlessly integrate with other external systems like your applicant tracking system, payroll portal, CRM, or other enterprise software you use as part of your agency business process.
Your website design should also clearly convey your staffing agency’s brand and value proposition. If you’re in medical staffing, technical staffing, general staffing, or some other vertical, your staffing agency website should clearly say that in its design. Go easy on the temptation to overdo it with bells, whistles, gadgets, and especially non-standard design practices. As humans who use websites daily, we expect certain things and mostly repel when those basic expectations aren’t met.
Focus on navigation for your primary audiences (usually prospects, clients, candidates, and sometimes employees/contractors). Performance is key and clear navigation is crucial.
2. Search Engine Optimized
This may be the most overlooked element of the staffing agency website. SEO (search engine optimization) is the process that allows your site (your business) to be found online by those who don’t know you. Creating optimized content for your website is critical, and no matter how great the user experience is, if people can’t find you, it simple won’t matter.
SEO matters, especially if you are a newer staffing agency and working to build an audience, attracting prospective clients and candidates alike. Your website pages should have the following at a minimum:
If you are posting jobs on your website, they should also be optimized for the keywords and phrases that candidates search for those jobs. If you are posting jobs on an external platform, make sure each job posting has links pointing back to your website. Ideally, your external provider should allow you to have follow links that give you SEO credit for the postings on their platform.
3. Avoid Self-Promotion
While it may be tempting to talk about yourself, your agency, and your accomplishments, don’t put it out front. The reason, bluntly, is that no one cares about what you’ve done for others, especially prospective clients. They only care about what you will do for them, and most people realize that self-promotion is usually biased and does not equal future success.
Instead of promoting yourself, promote a client that has a great success story, in which you participated. Instead of talking about your accolades, talk about a learning experience that made you better. rather than tooting your own horn, toot someone else’s horn. You’d be amazed by the perception this creates in the eyes of a prospective client or candidate. It lets them know you are about giving and not taking.
Aha! Now is your chance to do a little horn-tooting, but let others do it for you. Written reviews, testimonials, recommendations are all fair game. And, as long as you have permission to use the horn-tooter’s name, make sure you include it. Otherwise, it’s common to use something like General manager, ABC Company.
The jury is out as to the weight that testimonials add on your staffing agency, but we do know they don’t hurt, so use them if you have them. If you can integrate reviews directly from a platform like Google, Facebook, or LinkedIn, that’s usually better because you get effective real-time updates as reviews come in.
Last point on self-promotion. It is very likely you will have a page on your website titled something like About. Use this page to describe your background, maybe backgrounds of others on your team, and your company history if appropriate. Once again, avoid self-promotion here. Check out some other about pages on similar websites that stick to objective content and use that as a guide.
5. Jobs, Jobs, Jobs
Using your website as a place to house jobs is great. It is very likely that your agency may use an external applicant tracking system (ATS) and your job postings may be managed there. The good news is that most modern ATS platforms are pretty flexible and have integratabtle architecture. Many allow you to seamless integrate their platform with your website so the user detects no difference when visiting the job posting site including their personal profile, the application process, and other functionality.
A few tips on your job postings that will make a difference in the way visitors to your site perceive your staffing agency.
While much of the above seems obvious, it’s not what most agencies do. You can find outdated jobs on most agency websites. You can surely find job descriptions that are vague, inconsistent, or worse, have typos. And, you can most certainly find job postings that have no clear call-to-action or a clear and concise way to express interest.
Whatever you do, focus on the last one. In this day and time, candidates are reluctant to complete a rigorous resume/application submittal process without first having kicked the tires a little. before you subject a candidate to a process reminiscent of taking out a mortgage, give them a “lite” path to get more information.
Here is a list of a few popular Applicant Tracking Systems (in no particular order) that all have staffing agency website integration capabilities:
6. Data Capture
Your website should promote value, period. In turn for receiving that value, it’s OK to ask for a name and email address. Using your website to collect email addresses so you can send out regular updates is not only acceptable, it’s critical.
Granted, you will likely be taking candidate information on a regular basis. Make sure you also have a way to capture as much information as a possible on prospects, clients and candidates so you can send them updates with valuable tips on how to be successful in hiring, staffing, and related topics.
Be sure you segment your list appropriately so you aren’t sending the same information to clients and candidates. This is very easy to accomplish in most email management systems using tags or other labels.
7. Include These Key Sections
At a minimum, your staffing agency website should have a few compulsory sections. It’s pretty easy to envision what these might be, but creating a user experience to ensure an optimal journey is often the more challenging part, which is where professional website design comes in to play.
Here are the sections (or pages) your website should have, as a minimum.
In addition to these specific elements, your staffing agency website should include a persistent header and footer with your brand logo, a persistent call-to-action, menu navigation, relevant social media links, and basic contact information for your company. Your footer might even contain an email signup form so that it appears on every page (similar to this page at the bottom).
Very simply, these are really the high-level content elements that should be on any staffing agency website. Your specific staffing agency website may vary slightly and it is an easy to assume that you will ultimately have sub-pages to these high-level landing pages. It is also likely that you may create very specific landing pages for specialized content, promotions, or for other reasons.
Think of this a basic blueprint as you begin to envision your sitemap. Remember that user experience is key. That usually means less is more, especially when it comes to bells and whistles on your website. You can’t go wrong with well-written content that is presented in a modern, responsive web design that performs well in all browsers and on all devices. Solve that problem and you are already way ahead of most.