How to Build a Post-Social Online Career Center

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Let’s take a brief look at each of them.

Avoiding the Generic Candidate Syndrome

The content on most conventional online career centers is written as if it’s appropriate for and useful to all candidates. In truth, however, a salesperson is likely to have very different interests and questions than a finance professional, and a finance professional, in turn, is likely to have a different outlook than an IT professional. Therefore, to ensure that each candidate feels as if they are being treated as an individual and in a way that actually serves their needs, the site’s content must be (a) organized into separate channels for each of the major demographics an employer recruits and (b) tailored to their particular perspective and information needs.
For example, each of the channels would describe what it’s like to work as an employee in the occupational field which it serves – sales, finance, IT and so on – and might include testimonials from current employees in that field to add human interest and/or conference presentations or publications by those employees to add credibility.

Adding Career Self-Management Content

The content on most online career centers focuses on providing information for active job seekers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, however, just 16 percent of the American workforce is in transition at any time. In other words, current career center content is irrelevant to four-fifths of all prospective visitors to a site. Therefore, to ensure those non-job seekers are engaged and helped by what they find on a site, it must (a) provide the knowledge and skills required for successfully managing a career in today’s turbulent economy and (b) help them deal with the issues and challenges that can derail a career (e.g., a biased boss, an incompetent coworker).

For example, the site might offer a self-study curriculum in career self-management that would keep people coming back to the site continuously and offer assessments and quizzes that could help them gauge their current status in the workplace and the health of their career.

Creating a Career Conversation

Most of today’s online career centers subject their visitors to a “unilog,” a one-sided conversation. The sites do all the talking (through dense, unexciting prose) and candidates are expected to sit back and take it. Of course, most of the best prospects don’t. What they want is a dialogue both with those who would be their colleagues if they went to work with the organization and, equally as important, with their peers. Therefore, to ensure that top talent has the kind of professional conversation that will attract and retain their interest, a site must provide (a) the functionality for an open but moderated discussion of occupational and industry topics and (b) a mechanism for interacting with employees in a representative range of career fields.

For example, the organization might set up a program which enables top employees to compete for a short (e.g., 3 month) assignment blogging on the site about what it’s like to work for the organization in their field. Participation could be promoted by providing selectees with a bump in their next performance appraisal score, a monetary reward or both.

The best talent are almost always employed. To recruit them, therefore, we have to convince them to do the one thing we humans most hate to do: change. Only a post-social online career center can create the psychological connection that predisposes them to do so.

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Peter Weddle is the author of over two dozen employment-related books, including A Multitude of Hope: A Novel About Rediscovering the American Dream, The Success Matrix: Wisdom from the Web on How to Get Hired & Not Be Fired, WEDDLE’s 2011/12 Guide to Employment Sites on the Internet, The Career Activist Republic, and The Career Fitness Workbook: How to Find, Win & Hold Onto the Job of Your Dreams. Get them at and today.

© Copyright 2012 WEDDLE’s LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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