What is the number one challenge voiced by many franchisees today? Hiring. And rightly so: employees are the fuel that grow your business. Hiring the right hourly employees drives franchisee growth, a positive, employee-driven culture, and a virtuous cycle for future recruiting efforts.
However, today’s booming economy combined with cultural technology shifts make it hard to hire rock stars. With a current unemployment rate of 4.1%, attracting top talent is an uphill battle. And capturing candidates’ attention is a much more challenging prospect than it used to be, given the colossal rise in mobile usage. As of 2014, over half of job searches took place on mobile devices. And that was 4 years ago!
Candidates today are in high demand. They’re not willing to spend tons of time traveling to your franchise to learn about openings, or digging through your website to piece together the information they need to make a decision. You’ve got one chance to make a great first impression. To do that, you need to reduce barriers to entry as much as possible.
Here’s a hit list of franchise best practices to make sure candidates look at your careers page and say “Yes!” instead of “Next!”:
Establish an Online Careers Presence With a Franchise Careers Page
Does your franchise currently have any information online about hiring? If not, it’s time to get to work. Online job site Indeed reports that over 75% of job searches take place online, and 80% of candidates will look for a careers page for research purposes. If you want to reach the highest percentage of prospective candidates, you’ll need to put relevant careers information where they are looking.
Before you dive into building an online careers presence, remember the many benefits of franchising, which frequently include resources passed down from corporate. A careers page template, pre-written job descriptions, and even an applicant tracking system may be available to you. You can take these resources and use the templated version, or customize them for your local area.
Maybe you’re one step ahead of us and you already have a careers page. That’s great! So, what happens when a candidate lands on your careers page? Will he or she be able to find all the necessary information to make a “go or no-go” decision on applying? Is there information about specific job openings, or just a general call for hiring? Can candidates easily find data on pay scales, benefits, and other perks? At a minimum, your careers page should have the following components:
- A compelling description of your company
- Images or videos sharing corporate culture and employees at work
- A list of detailed job openings for your franchise, including hourly rates
- And a description of benefits including health insurance and any perks.
Bonus: if it’s a corporate careers page for all franchisees, offer a way for candidates to enter their zip code and look at only location-specific openings. Here’s an awesome careers page for 9Round Kickbox Fitness, with a location pop-up to get you started:
Candidates require a 360-view of your franchise. Give them the critical data they need to proceed to the application process.
Create a Visually Pleasing Browsing Experience for Applicants
It’s one thing to build a careers page with all the relevant data candidates need. But the next question is, how easily can they consume it?
Consider the format of websites as the internet was just coming to life. Many of them had giant, run-on text blocks that made all of our eyes glaze over. It was acceptable at the time, but not anymore. Modern web users expect a pleasing visual flow on any site they browse.
Just like a business’s storefront, the visual presentation of your careers page will help persuade candidates that your franchise is the right one for them. That means breaking up content blocks carefully with design best practices in mind, optimizing your site for mobile devices, and using a combination of text, images, and videos to tell a visually compelling story.
Enterprise Holdings has an entire section of their website dedicated to employment opportunities. Each section showcases the type of opportunity with images, text descriptions, employee testimonial videos, “learn more” links, and a way to search current openings. Take a look at the “Accounting and Finance” section as an example:
Enterprise’s detailed, consistent format with attention to design best practices shows candidates how highly they value the hiring process. And Enterprise isn’t unique in their efforts. The visual display associated with any franchise’s careers page will impact candidates’ perception of the company. A sloppy or outdated careers page implies a sub-optimal experience once they’re hired.
Offer a Fast, Easy Online Application Process
Once candidates have found all the necessary employment information in an easily digestible format, their next question may be “where do I sign up?”. Make sure they can find the answer quickly with an applicant tracking system.
Your current process might have candidates print off an application and fill it out, with the onus on the candidate to physically deliver it to your franchise. If you stick with this outdated method, you’ll likely lose out on the best candidates. Today’s applicants just don’t have the time.
And speaking of time…with any applicant tracking system you choose, the application process for candidates should take no more than a few minutes. In January 2018, we visited 46 careers pages and applied to one job for each. What we found was staggering. The average time to apply for a job on one of these 46 careers pages was 14 minutes and 21 seconds!
However, there was a wide range within the group of careers pages – from as low as 2 minutes and 16 seconds to as high as 28 minutes and 59 seconds. In the applications that leaned towards longer completion times, we found the following three attributes:
- The candidate was required to create a login.
- The application process required the candidate to answer 50+ questions.
- The candidate was asked to fill out a full employment history.
The data you need to initially evaluate a potential employee is not that extensive. Creating a login isn’t necessary when you don’t know if the candidate will make it through the process, and neither is a full employment history nor an extensive questionnaire.
And what’s more, that exhaustive list of questions could be driving applicants away. Indeed reports the following reduction in applicants based on the number of application questions:
- 10 questions = 17% reduction
- 30 questions = 50% reduction
- 45+ questions = 88% reduction (!)
Think carefully about the questions candidates must answer to give you the ability to say “pass” or “fail”. And if you really do want extensive information, make it easy for the candidate to give it to you. Allow them to upload their resume from Indeed using the “Apply with Indeed” button.
Remember, people are the key to growing your franchise. A smooth application experience is the jumping off point to hiring good employees who stay, refer their friends, and allow you to grow your brand.
Broadcast Your Online Employment Information Wherever Appropriate
You’ve taken the time to build out a comprehensive, visually appealing careers page with a straightforward, fast application process. Awesome! Now take on the role of town crier and tell people about it.
Fortunately, this process has gotten a whole lot easier (and less costly) in recent years. With an applicant tracking system, you can plug your job posting updates directly into sites like Indeed. And with a few clicks, you can create a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Snapchat presence for your franchise.
Take the time to share job openings, employee reviews, and even exciting news that might drive interest in joining your team. You can also leverage employee referrals by providing pre-formatted links for social media.
Giving employees an incentive (maybe a bonus) and an easy way to share can be an incredibly lucrative funnel for candidates. A survey of 45,000 job applicants conducted by The Talent Board found that 61 percent of respondents would encourage others to apply – IF they had a positive experience with the employer.
Launching Your Online Careers Presence is a Good Start – but There’s More
Establishing a comprehensive online careers page with a pleasing aesthetic, a convenient applicant tracking system, and regular broadcasts lays the groundwork to bring more candidates into your hiring funnel. But, just because it’s easy doesn’t mean they will apply – they need to be “sold” on the company. And the way to do that is to use genuine, meaningful content to show exactly what’s it like to work there. Check out our post titled “6 Ways to Improve the Content on Your Careers Page” to learn more.