Advice for Startups: Careers Sites Are Landing Pages
1-minute 30-second read
If you're an early or mid-stage startup, your careers site should be a landing page.
Think product → landing page → sales asset → conversion.
It’s the same approach to launching a new product.
In simple terms: Your buyer (candidate) needs key information in order to make an informed decision about whether a call with your company is worth their time, or not. Put all of that information in one place. Aka, a landing page.
Information first. Personality second. Design third.
Most companies put design first. That’s a misguided approach. Design means little without the right information.
Tactically: Think in terms of a linkable page that your recruiters can send outbound to candidates and share on social.
Here’s why this approach works for companies at this stage:
Early and mid-stage startups recruit differently from late-stage startups and mature orgs.
Their recruiters are going outbound to high-demand talent at other tech companies who don’t know they exist. Startups have little to no brand credibility or track record—and this talent is not searching for their careers site.
This type of worker gets hired by referral, through good sourcing, when believing in the product and mission, and when engaging in highly productive conversations that are worth their time. Not through a careers site.
But what startups want to do is take some of that VC money and overspend on a fancily designed careers site filled with high-level culture fluff, value props, and diversity photos because they think it makes them look like they have their shit together.
I get why they do it. But candidates don’t care. Especially the highly technical ones they’re trying to recruit.
These candidates are buyers of a new and different experience: growth opportunities, an inspiring product and mission, and a culture that is very different from the one they’re currently in.
And in order for them to even entertain wanting to experience a new experience, they need information.
No shine. Not fluff. No posturing.
(In most cases) a careers site is purely for optics—so the leader of the recruiting team has something to hang their value on and the company at least looks like they care about recruiting on the outside. It's not a conversion mechanism. It's a shiny object.
Shiny objects are Ok. So long as you know what they are and why you’re creating them.
(FYI, nobody is buying optics anymore.)