My friend Andy Hyatt of Bernard Hodes sent me over a link today to a new career site from Barclays that he has been working on with his team. After #truLondon I blogged about the Barclays future leaders career site and social hub, and the results were achieving since integrating social features and channels in to their career site. The big take away from that post was that since switching on the social features in the social hub the number of applications received were significantly down, but the conversion rates of applications were significantly up. As a reminder, this is the important data:

> The visitors that interact with The Hub,  have also proven to be more engaged with the site – proving that social content can attract and retain visitors over paid advertising: they are more likely to stay after viewing the first page (15.9% bounce rate vs. 25.8%), stay for longer on the site (9’ vs. 3’51”), and view, on average, twice as many pages per visit (10.05 vs. 5.01).

> Visits to the site have increased by 51%, applications have decreased by 40% over last year. At first this might seem worrying if not for the fact that the conversion rate between assessment and hire increased by 55%. Ultimate proof that targeted and relevant content can deliver better quality candidates who are also more likely to get hired.

It’s interesting to draw parallels between the results Barclays have achieved here, and the work of Michael Long at Rackspace in the States. Rackspace has gone as far as separating out  their career site and a culture site featuring staff bloggers, video, pictures, a cartoonist and plenty of other great culture content, and it’s all very social. I posted about this after seeing Long speak at #TalentNetLive in Austin. The results Long has been achieving:

> The Rackertalent site attracted 37% of the traffic to the career site and ATS, but an incredible 60% of total hires

Looking at the results from these 2 examples, it’s easy to see how taking a social approach to the career site, focussing on culture content told by real employees is not about delivering volumes of applications, (the opposite is in fact the case), but great improvements in the quality of applications and recruiter efficiency. Given the results of the Barclays Future Leaders social hub, it’s no surprise that Barclays have chosen to take this approach to all their recruiting effort visible in the career site launched last week.

Not surprisingly, the site is fully optimised for mobile through a browser sniffer that identifies what device all visitors are using and delivers content in a compatible format. This shouldn’t really be exceptional, all sites should be built this way, though for the moment it is in the minority. If your planning a new site, this is where you should start in your tech plan. The other notable features is that the site is very easy to navigate with unambiguous tabs, and that all sections are interactive. The visitors can engage with each section as little or as much as they want to.

The home page has a welcome message and image. the top tabs are Home, Our Business Areas, Meet Our People, Our Locations and More About Joining. At the bottom of the page is 4 larger widgets. Start job search with the options to choose job sector with a pull down menu, Role and Location, which links direct to job search results. The results are returned with job title, opening paragraph of the job spec and location, with the option to view the job. Jobs are displayed on a single page with displayed by:

> Job Title

> Business Area

> Hours

> Shift Type

> Posting Date

> Expiry Date



>”What you’ll give our customers” related to the role

> “What you’ll get in return.”

> “What you’ll need.”

The bottom of the page has 3 tabs with the option to: Apply now, Send this job to a friend and Send this job to yourself. i couldn’t quite work out how to get the last 2 tabs to work, although they appear to be e-mail functions. I’m sure this is a glitch that will be fixed quickly. I like the way the jobs are broken down and presented for the visitor. It’s worth a look for good content.

The second button and icon is “Take an interactive tour.” I love the way this feature works. you get the choice to take a tour around a branch or a contact centre. Taking the Branch tour, you get a video greeting from the Branch Manager who walks you through the branch and introduces you to some of the staff. The interactive bit is very neat. Each person featured has a “hot spot” (a blue dot) you can click on to get more information about what they do. As you’d expect, the video is professionally produced, but the people are clearly real and not scripted, and it’s spontaneous enough to be believable. each featured tells a bit about their story, background, what they do and what they like about their job, and the beauty of it is that the visitor chooses what they want to see.

The third icon and button is headed “Explore our business areas.” The opening page has scrolling images for each of the 12 business areas to link to, a brief description and associated image. The bottom of the page has links to search the jobs in that area, with clear images of real people. The icons featured link to pages on apprenticeships, location map, the interactive tour, and another great feature on culture fit. I really like the way the links to the different sections of the site are featured by scrolling icon on every page, without being intrusive. The changing images stay solid long enough not to be distracting and to be readable, but not too long to be fixed or boring. they also don’t dominate the page, but are big enough to read.When you click on a link, the page opens in a separate single screen with a close option at the top of the page that takes you back to where you linked from. Your not likely to get lost on this site.

I mentioned the culture fit as being a great feature because this links to a screen featuring an ATM that has a welcolme screen talking about values in a simple statement. Entering the ATM, first up is 100% energy. The “game” involves reading scenarios, and choosing answers of what you’d do from 4 options, each denoted by an ATM button.

The first scenario:

” It’s nearly the end of your shift and a new customer calls to open a bank account. They explain they are starting a new job tomorrow and need an account to receive their salary.”

I deliberately clicked on the wrong answer to see what came back, and the response was;

“Whilst this is a good answer, we pride ourselves on our colleagues working flexibly to meet our customers needs.”

The right answer brought the response:

“Excellent. We are looking for people like you, who are willing to work flexibly to meet our customers needs.”

This is a simple example, they take a bit more thinking the further you go. Again, I like the interactivity of this feature which will appeal to those who enjoy gaming features. It’s a lot more interesting and interactive than just listing values brochure style.

The last icon and button is “Meet our people.” which links to an intro page with 24 pin images of people. Hover your mouse over each one and you get their name and title. each image has a different type of content from video, static (written text), and a day in the life. The statics are a picture, intro, and personal content using “I” rather than we, talking about what they do and personal impressions about Barclays like ” I didn’t realise how passionate Barclays are about training and development”, which goes on to show what this means in their experience. it reads in a personal way that will appeal to those who like text. The day in a life video names the employee, who then talks through their usual day and images and dialogue about how they see their job. The videos are about a minute in length to keep attention, with links to read more about the role, read the transcript from the film and use the job search widget to find the job and see whats available. If I’m being ultra critical, I’d like to be able to see and apply for the job featured without having to search for it myself, although it’s not a great hardship, an direct link though would certainly work better with mobile visitors in mind. A feature that compensates for this however is additional links to find people by business area, role or media. Using the different types of media is giving the visitor choice over the style of content they view. I really like that.

The “About Us” tab follows the same theme with an intro and image, the 4 icons I’ve already discussed, history in 5 paragraphs (no waffle), and similar tabs for culture, benefits (which includes their double your donation charity support), and development.

The “Our business areas” tab gives a more detailed menu of each of the business areas broken down in to more specific functions. Not heavy content, but great for visitors who want to get inside the content a bit more.  Finally, the “more about joining” tab gives step by step detail about the application process. Step one is a few tips about the application process with instructions, details about the assessment process like how long each step usually takes, as well as format and tips. Step three details the interview process and what Barclays are looking for. Step four outlines the security, running credit checks, the validating reference process and going trough an extensive background check performed by services like these. I think this is a great feature for supporting the candidate through the whole of the process. Application is through Taleo, so you can apply on-line or add to a job basket for later reference. The application process in Taleo is a bit cumbersome without a social sign in or apply with LinkedIn feature. This might be an area Barclays want to give some consideration to in order to give some continuity between the site and the application process, particularly by mobile. I’m sure at this stage most candidates will plough on so the impact will be minimal, but it would help improve the candidate experience further.

When I compare the new site to the future leaders site, it feels and looks a bit more corporate. I understand that Barclays are moving to putting all their sites, not just careers in to one format, look and feel. Given that this site is for all candidates from apprentices and school leavers through to senior managers, i can see the need for this. There are less social features like Facebook content widgets, but this is compensated by links to the live Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn accounts. These are active accounts with a focus on engagement, so the social aspects are not far away. The videos are a little more consistent and polished in style, but the content and presentation is personal. Overall, I think they’ve done a great job particularly in integrating mobile, simple navigation and interactive features. You can feel the culture and values throughout the site. Hats off to Bernard Hodes and Barclays on a great job.




Andy Hyatt