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Archaic websites are a massive turn off for candidates

Posted: Nov 2023
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In a recent LinkedIn poll, we asked 'When applying for a job with a comms agency and the website is out of date, would you be put off sending in your details to be considered?'

54% of respondents said that they wouldn’t be put off, but a staggering 46% said that they would be – ouch! It’s food for thought that almost half would walk away from a possible employer just from checking out the company website.

We decided to run the poll after we encountered a client’s shockingly outdated website; it made us wonder if we were the only ones who felt bothered by the lack of attention given to what is effectively the first acquaintance a potential candidate is going to make with a company. It certainly doesn’t help us when we are trying to hire for a company if they are hosting a website that comes across as old-fashioned.

First impressions are powerful. If the first impression your website gives is that it hasn't been updated since the infancy of the internet, you're in trouble. An outdated site may well cause new visitors to assume your business is on the way out.

When it comes to websites, it's all too easy to say, ‘It’s good enough’ about design and functionality. After all, if something isn't broke, why fix it? But becoming complacent with your business site is a dangerous mindset. If you're not continuously improving your pages and appropriately updating as trends change, you could be driving people away in droves.

If your website is outmoded, people will start to wonder what else about the company is receiving short shrift. What does it say about your comms practices? Does your website give the impression that you are forward-thinking, creative and innovative in your campaigns for clients? Probably not.

If a potential candidate lands on your website and can’t see who works there and form those all-important first impressions, they aren’t going to hang around for long. If you are not marketing your business effectively on your website, the reality is that people will wonder if the business is stable and start to question if it’s the kind of place they want to work at.

Perhaps you are a small business and don’t have the time, energy or budget to think about keeping your website updated. Big mistake. And don’t be too complacent if you’re part of a large organisation – your website still needs care and attention so that you continue to attract the best talent.

Agencies need to be on top of their website game

Agency leaders, let us remind you that we are in a highly competitive marketplace for high- performing, experienced professionals. How many truly exciting people, rainmakers, exceptional delivery managers have you met in the last year? People who want to remain in agencies are in short supply – an in-house role is still considered 4 times more attractive, as we reported here. The direction of career travel is towards in-house comms teams sitting within a company. It’s viewed as a more manageable lifestyle, a deep-dive into a company and the chance to act as a true advocate for one brand. The appeal for in-house roles cannot be ignored or underestimated; agencies are not getting the volume of applicants they once did. We hear how responses from agencies’ advertising can be dismal, with agency bosses often left wondering why their vacancies have been left open for 6 months. This is not normal – we are telling you now, as the hiring experts, that you probably need to look at how you are trying to fill that role and it may also be time to take a closer look at your own marketing.

What are you doing to attract people to work for you? Stop hiding behind, ‘We are really bad at our own PR as we put our clients first.’ Your people are your business and if you don’t have high performing people, how are you going to do a great job for your clients? Having gaps in your team puts a strain on everyone. And your website plays a vital part in this equation.

How to be a really attractive agency

Have you looked at your employee value proposition (EVP) recently and translated this to your website? Think about what makes you stand out – and start shouting about it!

You need to showcase what it's like to work at your agency on your website – and indeed across your social media platforms – because you want to attract people who would enjoy the culture you have, and the sort of work you do – and the sorts of things you get up to both professionally and socially. Nothing could be more important! If a prospective candidate cannot get a feel for what it might be like to work for your company from your website, they won’t stay on the page. They will move swiftly onto the next one on their list.

This is what we think is great to feature on your ‘Join us’ page:

  • Core company values
  • Testimonials from current employees
  • Photos and videos of your team as well as the working and social environment
  • Benefits offered
  • Training opportunities; learning and development
  • Diversity & Inclusion
  • Recognition for being a great place to work
  • Current job vacancies
  • Links to social media sites, contact email address

And don’t forget – make it easy to navigate, ensure it’s mobile-friendly and you might find that visitors are not walking away from your website.

If necessary, adapt your EVP to ensure it remains relevant; reshape your EVP when required to authentically align with employee expectations. Treat it as a constant work in progress!

Put yourself in a prospective candidate’s shoes and ask:

  • Does the website give me a great idea of what it’s like to work there?
  • Is it presented in an easy-to-understand format?
  • What is the format?
  • Do they feature any jobs?
  • Does the hiring section excite me?
  • Can I see myself as part of the team and the culture?

Final thoughts

No single aspect of marketing is more important than a quality website, your company’s front door. A ‘good’ website isn’t good enough to break through and to convert visitors into engaged customers, brand ambassadors or high-performing new employees. What you really need is a great website.

For a free download of our full Annual Salary Guide 2023, click here.

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The Works Search: a search consultancy specialising in PR and corporate communications. We have unrivalled matching abilities and are known for finding the top 5% performers in the industry - the ones who deliver and make your reputation great. For more advice or market insights, do get in touch with us on 0207 903 9291 or email:

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