Top Corporate Recruiting Websites Named in New WetFeet Report

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Website Experience Dramatically Influences Candidate Employment Choices, Report Finds

While employer websites used to be a convenient backup source of information for candidates, today’s websites have evolved into the central tool in the recruiting process, according to a new report by WetFeet, Inc.

“Corporate Recruiting Websites 2005: Guidelines for Building a Top Site” is the first comprehensive report based on actual focus groups with dozens of entry-level and experienced job seekers who analyzed top-rated corporate websites. The findings explore the needs of job seekers who visit websites, the impact of specific site features on candidate interest, and the tactics used by the highest-ranked websites.

Goldman Sachs received the top rating for the best employer recruiting website; Boston Consulting Group was second; and Bain & Co. was rated third. Others in the Top 10 included: 4) McKinsey & Co.; 5) IBM; 6) Microsoft; 7) General Electric; 8) Citigroup; 9) JP Morgan Chase; and 10) Procter & Gamble.

“Today company recruiting websites dramatically influence candidate perceptions of and interest in employers,” said Steve Pollock, president of WetFeet Inc. and author of the study. “This report is designed to help companies turn their site into a top performer based on input from the real experts – actual candidates.”

Participants were asked to rate the sites in four key areas: navigation, branding, content and functionality. Among some of the compelling findings:

Recruiting Websites Strongly Influence Candidate Applications

A visit to a company’s website is one of the very first steps as a candidate considers whether or not to pursue employment. Websites have the power to draw candidates in or cause them to turn toward competitors. Top sites offer a recruiting section that is easy to find and use, and contains candid information that allows candidates to find appropriate opportunities and assess their fit.

“If the website is not impressive, you start to rethink why you thought you’d be interested in this company in the first place,” said one focus group participant. “The website is one face of the company, and first impressions do matter.”

Faulty Online Application Process is the Most Frequent Critical Flaw

The online application process is viewed as a necessary yet aggravating function of the recruiting website for candidates who have decided to pursue employment. Surprisingly few companies offer systems that are designed to meet candidate needs. Candidates have little trust that their applications will be reviewed and rarely get confirmation that they were even received. Top sites have applications that take 5-10 minutes to complete, low error rates, and set candidate expectations with regard to follow-up.

“I couldn’t complete the application process,” said one participant. “It had too many confusing things. It took more than three minutes to load. I had no confidence in the process.”

Content Should Be Organized Around Candidate Needs

The information and how it is presented have a strong impact on candidate interest in the firm; candidates consider the website as a direct indication of the firm’s culture. Undergraduates, MBA’s and experienced job seekers all see themselves as having unique needs for information. Top-performing sites package the right information for each audience, make it very easy to find and use, and communicate an honest interest in the job seeker through the tone and candor of the site.

“The best websites are those that give a strong image of the company, get me information for the interviews, describe their business style, and answer all of the extra questions I might have,” said one participant.

In addition to presenting the results from the focus groups, the WetFeet report provides detailed case studies from the top-rated sites along with recommendations for how companies can integrate best practices to evolve their recruiting websites.

The Corporate Recruiting Website Report 2005 is available for $2,495 at http://www.wetfeetresearch.com.

About the Author

Steve Pollock is president of WetFeet Inc. and also leads WetFeet’s Research & Consulting division. Steve is a sought-after expert on the world of recruitment and talent management – his research findings and opinions are frequently cited in national media including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Fortune, and CNBC. Steve earned an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business and holds a BA from Harvard College, where he graduated summa cum laude.

About WetFeet Research & Consulting

WetFeet Research & Consulting is the authoritative resource for factual data, emerging trends and informed strategy on effective talent recruiting including sourcing, screening, evaluation, campus recruiting, diversity and retention. WetFeet has conducted extensive consulting engagements and customized research for many of the world’s top employers such as Merrill Lynch, Procter & Gamble, Federated Department Stores and Deutsch Bank. HR leaders look to WetFeet analysts to help them stay in front of oncoming trends, manage through change, align with current candidate needs, and get a healthy return on their recruiting investment. For more information on other available research, upcoming research or strategy consulting, visit http://www.wetfeetresearch.com or call (415) 293-7313.

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This press release was distributed through eMediawire by Human Resources Marketer (HR Marketer: http://www.HRmarketer.com) on behalf of the company listed above.

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Suzy McKee