The power of a strong digital presence to grow your business makes learning how to design a recruitment website critical. Whether it’s passively attracting candidates, showcasing values to potential new consultants, or proving credibility to new clients, a professional recruitment website makes your agency stand out.
We’ve created this guide to go over why investing in a website matters for your agency. On the practical side, we’ve included an 8-step plan to design and build a recruitment website from the ground up.
If you're wondering how long it takes to build a website, or want tips to keep costs down, we’ll cover that too.
At Access Volcanic we've helped hundreds of agencies launch their recruitment websites. With this guide, we’ll take a look at steps to creating and evolving one of your own.
Why is a website an important tool for your recruitment agency?
A recruitment website can promote your agency’s brand and win more business. New candidates, clients and consultants will be sure to research your digital presence to help decide if they’ll work with your agency.
A recruitment website's benefits are also internal. Agencies can use them to automate candidate sourcing and onboarding, while website analytics can quantify recruitment marketing.
Not all agencies will be equally reliant on a website. For example, exec search agencies might choose active headhunting techniques over online candidate attraction. But even an exec search firm can showcase their credentials with a website. Potential applicants might be contacted first by head-hunters, but they’ll be sure to look up the agency’s reputation. They'll want to feel confident that the business is trustworthy and professional, and a website can lend proof of that.
For every other type of agency, a website is crucial to candidate attraction and building a talent pool. Keeping job boards in-house and syncing data to their ATS can make their operations much more efficient.
We strongly recommend building a recruitment website. Getting all your digital operations under one roof and building your agency’s online reputation are benefits too important to miss out on.
The unique requirements of recruitment agency websites
A recruitment agency website should focus on the 3 Cs: candidates, clients, and consultants.
Attracting new consultants takes good branding and company values. With a well-designed About Us page that showcases your mission, plus SEO best practices to make your site visible, your agency can stand out.
Clients will want to know what your agency can offer them, i.e. your specialisms, teams’ capabilities, and access to top talent. You might show them:
· Landing pages to showcase featured candidates and display the potential of your workforce
· Consultant profiles to spotlight your teams' expertise
· Specialism subpages to organise your agency's services
But to keep your recruitment pipeline healthy, optimising the candidate journey will be critical.
To optimise user experience – and therefore candidate experience – keep these points in mind:
· Ensure that headlines and copy appeal to people over search engines, encouraging readership and clicks.
· Using H1, H2, and H3 tags makes content interesting and relevant to the all-important search results.
· Ask for website feedback from candidates and walk them through the website journey to find any potential weak spots.
· Use Google Analytics to track and measure success. Bounce rates and click throughs will help you evaluate whether you need to make alterations.
· Take steps to ensure your website is welcoming to all. Making your website accessible will make visitor experiences significantly better.
With optimised user journeys implemented at the start, it will be that much easier to attract and engage all 3 Cs.
8 steps to design and build a recruitment website
Recruitment websites are specialised and will require some extra design considerations. Here are some recommended steps you’ll take along the way to completing a new build.
1. Decide on the requirements of the site
First, you'll have to decide how simple or complex the website will be. Will it be a few pages with a contact form, or are you creating an interactive enterprise website with hundreds of pages?
Some recruitment-specific features should also be part of the plan, like:
· Job boards
· Candidate portals
· Connection to your CRM or ATS
Our recommendation is to plan for SEO at the beginning. The way you lay out a website at the start affects a website’s ranking, not just the content added later.
· Do keyword research to prioritize the right terms in your site architecture and content
· Map out the website’s hierarchy to be logical and user-friendly
· Plan to assign teams and structure to SEO content management
We’ll go over these steps in some more detail below. Just ensure that SEO is top of mind when you’re making initial plans.
2. Choose a CMS platform with an easy-to-use backend
Many recruitment websites will have a CMS (content management system). This is the tool with an easier interface to help post text, images, and other content to a website.
Many CMS platforms (like WordPress) are highly technical to use and don’t offer customer support – just tutorials. Using online tutorials and guides isn’t always straightforward. This means you’ll need an internal team with the capabilities to build, update, and maintain your website via the platform. If you do have a team with the right skills, the benefits of a more DIY CMS are more customisation and control over website structure.
If all that sounds daunting, you could outsource and let a website design agency take on the work and choose your CMS for you. This option is typically more expensive, but an outside team could add extra features and functionality that would otherwise be out of reach.
There are middle-way options like SaaS website builders. These providers can include a CMS that lets your internal team build the website. But it can also come with templates, recruitment website features, and technical support that should save you some trouble. To learn more about making this key decision, read up on the best website platform for recruitment agencies.
3. Plan out the site structure
A well-organised site map makes site visitors’ journey – and user experience - much easier. It’s also important to improve your website’s SEO, as search engines will crawl your site and analyse its structure to help determine ranking.
Mapping a website starts with laying out a series of folders, which represent your "main" pages, and then subfolders for related pages. As an example, you could have a "Clients" folder page, with subfolders within that page for specialisms, case studies, and a contact form.
Getting direction with pre-existing visitor journeys can save some effort. If you work with a recruitment website builder, the platform will already have options for jobseeker journeys, from candidate attraction with social media posting to data syncing between website job boards and your database.
No matter which option you choose, careful planning of the website’s structure will lower the time to website go-live day.
4. Consider how job posting will be managed
Part of a recruitment website’s ROI depends on candidate attraction, and ultimately placing applicants into roles. Posting open roles on your website's job board can be a great benefit to the business if it’s managed well.
There are a few recruitment website features that can increase the impact of your job postings:
· Integration between your website your CRM to easily sync data on job postings and applications
· External job board multi-posters to promote jobs on high-traffic sites
· Social media sharing to share the news of open roles across multiple channels
If you do focus purely on a website job board, it can streamline your sourcing process and sync data between disparate systems. This increased speed and efficiency makes it less likely that key info will be lost, and gets candidates to placements faster.
Still, having consultants write role descriptions and post them to external job boards is always available as an option. It can work either as a main strategy or as an addition to a job board on your website.
5. Adopt a simple, clean layout
A simple, well-organised site design is best for both accessibility and user-friendliness.
Some tips to incorporate these principles into design are:
· Incorporate plenty of white space
· Limit the site’s colour palette
· Choose 1-2 fonts for site text
It’s also important to implement clear website navigation. Both the navigation menu and buttons should be easy to find and organised in a logical way.
There are also other important steps to keeping a website accessible and inclusive to all:
· Add alt text descriptions for images
· Use a colour contrast of foreground and background of 4.5:1
· Keep a minimum font size of 16pt
· For the site’s mobile version, have a minimum tap target size of 45x45 pixels
These are just a few points to consider. To learn more about accessible website design, read up on our guide to Creating an Inclusive Candidate Experience on Your Recruitment Website.
6. Prioritise site performance and mobile usability
A good rule of thumb Is to keep your website "light." Don't add too many "heavy” elements like video or animations, which will lower website speed and frustrate visitors.
Even images, which load faster, can be a weight on your website. Ensure that site images are optimised and compressed to improve site speed.
Any clutter that doesn’t help the user journey – like excess images, forms, text or other elements – will not translate well onto small mobile screens. Design all the necessary elements on your website to be optimised to fit any device.
To analyse, identify, and find fixes for website performance issues, consider using a tool like Google PageSpeed Insights. Here you can measure your website on user-centric metrics for both desktop and mobile experiences. And where your website falls short, it offers practical suggestions to improve.
7. Do your research and create a keyword targeting map
A keyword targeting map is part and parcel of your SEO plan. It lists the keywords that you want to rank for and sorts them to the right pages on your website.
First, you’ll have to do some SEO research. To choose the best seed keywords to rank for, you can search for variations on the term with research tools like Ahrefs.
Then reference your website structure from Step Three and look at how the content is grouped together. Most pages can be mapped to a seed keyword, which is the primary term that you want that page to rank for. Choosing the right seed keyword should be intuitive, as it will relate to the content that’s on that page.
If your website has many pages, we recommend mapping just the ones that will be more likely to win business. Examples would be the homepage, job boards, or other high-traffic pages on your website.
8. Populate the site with content and graphics (with SEO in mind)
The final stage is getting your website set up with content. Images and text uploaded with SEO best practises are another chance to increase your recruitment website’s rank, which is a key step to passive candidate attraction.
For content optimisation, there’s one rule to keep in mind: write for humans first. Mapping keywords to appeal to search engines is important. But if readers don't find the content engaging and useful, your website’s ranking can still suffer.
Internal links refer between pages on your website and signal to search engines that your website is more trustworthy. They’re also within your control to change and improve SEO, so it's always a plus to include relevant internal links in your content.
Images should also be optimised as a best practice. The main ways to accomplish this are:
1. Compressing images for the lowest reasonable resolution and file size
2. Adding a relevant file name for each image as a description to help search engines
3. Including an alt text tag for images
4. Writing captions or relevant surrounding text where appropriate
The real last step is to continue refreshing your website’s content. Keeping content up to date isn’t just useful for visitors, but also gives an advantage with Google’s SEO algorithm.
How long does it take to build a recruitment website?
Depending on your methods and requirements, a website project could take anywhere from a few weeks to several months.
Looking for a website builder, website platform vendor or a design agency.
1 week – 1 month
Planning the layout of the website (DIY) or working with a vendor or agency to map out the project.
Working with a design agency to give feedback on the website layout and graphics.
Implementing the website and working towards go-live.
1 week – 2 months
Website Testing & Revision
Checking the website for bugs and making final edits.
Total: 1 – 5 months
If you build a website yourself, it could take as little as a few weeks to set up. A generic website builder will have some templates to publish faster. You'll save time on feedback and revision. On the other hand, your site will be limited by available features and templates, and it requires the right technical skills to set up.
Then there’s working with a website design agency, which could take several months. It will take more time to develop a plan together with all stakeholders, check in on project updates, and work on revisions. It can be the right choice for a complex enterprise website or an agency with fewer internal resources.
A middle-of-the-road option is working with a SaaS website platform that includes design and tech support. It does add some time to work with the vendor to set requirements and go over design feedback. But using templates and inbuilt hosting can be faster than starting a website from scratch. A recruitment website platform may offer the right balance between outside support and the flexibility to self-serve.
Access Volcanic’s SaaS recruitment website platform offers support for a variety of features and can work with different specialisms and requirements. To see what our websites have to offer, take a platform tour here.
Keeping costs down when building a recruitment site
In 5-6 paragraphs, discuss ways to reduce the overall cost of launching a new recruitment agency website. Include some discussion on whether it is cheaper for a design agency to develop the site vs building your own. Spread the cost with SaaS model rather than upfront spend.
A common question we get is: Is it cheaper to build a website with a design agency or on your own?
In general, it will cost less to build a DIY website. But don't underestimate the cost in time and resources it takes to do it all yourself.
We’d tell a one-man band or small agency to not spend too much time and money trying to get a bespoke website with an agency. Setting up quickly with a website builder (generic or recruitment-focussed) will let you get back to winning more clients.
For an enterprise agency, it’s usually better to not tie up resources trying to develop a website internally. Hiring an expert agency or using a website platform will simplify a complex process. While the upfront costs can be high, it makes more sense for an intensive commitment to be managed by the experts – saving your agency time and money overall.
Another way to reduce costs is to use a SaaS website provider over an agency-designed website. When you work with an agency, the costs could run between £4,000 - 15,000, with a 25-50% payment required in advance. By contrast, paying monthly for a website should run you £250-699 per month with no upfront payment.
When an upfront payment is too much, managing cash flow over time with a SaaS model can be more sustainable for your business. To cover the nuances of website project planning, we’ve created an extensive guide on how much a recruitment website costs.
7 tips to build an affordable recruitment website
1. Decide on the features you need to minimise the project timeline and costs
2. Leverage the abilities of your in-house team for design, technical needs, and content when possible
3. Use templates and pre-existing themes when possible
4. Only add the essential pages and content to your website
5. Look for inbuilt SEO and marketing tools to reduce outside spend
6. Connect with freelancers to outsource important updates and write copy
7. Leverage online tools such as Canva, Pexels, and Unsplash to discover royalty-free images for inclusion on your website
We’ve covered a lot of ground. Here’s a recap on the general best practices of how to build a recruitment website.
There are a few reasons you might invest in a recruitment website. They tend to be the most efficient way to make your agency visible in a digital-first world and help you win over clients, candidates and consultants.
There are eight recommended steps to building a recruitment website:
1. Decide on the site requirements
2. Choose an intuitive CMS
3. Map out the site structure
4. Make a plan to manage job postings
5. Implement a simple website design
6. Prioritise website performance and mobile optimisation
7. Create an SEO keyword targeting map
8. Populate the site with content and images (with SEO in mind)
It could take you anywhere from a few weeks to several months to build your recruitment website. This will depend on whether you go it alone or work with a platform or agency, and your website’s complexity.
If you’re concerned about costs, we’d recommend trying a middle-of-the-road option. For most agencies, a generic website builder may be too simple and cost in time and resources to DIY. And a bespoke website created by an agency could be too expensive or not worth it for you in ROI.
A website platform provider that offers support tailored to your needs may be the most appropriate (and easier to budget for with monthly fees).
At Volcanic Access, we offer a range of templated websites with features specific to recruitment. Our design and technical support teams can work with your agency to offer the right level of support.
To see what a Volcanic Access recruitment website can do, try exploring our Knowledge Centre for more insights...
You might be interested in:
· How to integrate your recruitment website with your CRM and other back-office technologies
· Creating an Inclusive Online Candidate Experience
· What is the Best Website Platform for Recruitment Agencies
· Constant Evolution of Recruitment Website Design