How to Keep Up With The Joneses’ Online Career Center

By • December 15, 2016

Kim Howells
Kim Howells, Naylor Career Solutions

As part of associations’ goals to provide tools that help members grow in their careers and propel their industries forward, online career centers can become a hub of invaluable information and networking opportunity.

Maintaining and improving upon the functionality of an online career center, or any website, can feel a little like keeping up with the Joneses. Technology and member needs continually evolve, and with the number of career tools available on- and offline, getting and maintaining a prominent place in members’ minds is difficult when there are many other Joneses (websites, groups, organizations) also vying for their attention.

Associations who host job boards or full-fledged online career centers should regularly review their sites’ performance metrics across a number of key areas, including but not limited to:

  • Overall job board/career center visitors
  • Revenue earned from employers
  • New employers participating on the site
  • New job seekers registering and using the site
  • New jobs posted
  • Job listing views
  • Clicks to apply to jobs

Regular review of your site’s metrics will offer an ongoing picture of how well users are responding to the content (job listings, career placement resources) your association offers as well as which areas of your site could use some improvement. For example, seeing plenty of site visitors but not as many as you expected? Review the different ways individuals can access your job board and how visible those links are. Or, not seeing as many job application clicks as you’d like? Check on the functionality of the online job application process. Walk through it yourself – if you can’t easily figure out how to apply for one of your advertising employers’ positions, job seekers likely cannot either. Task someone who doesn’t visit your association’s website every day to find the job board, poke around and give feedback about how it can be improved.

Another way to assess your online career center’s health is to ask your provider how your metrics compare to your career center peers. At Naylor, we hear this request all the time in the form of the question, “Well, how does my site compare to others like it?” Quality providers will know how their clients’ career centers perform in aggregate, and many are able to offer breakdowns of data by industry, membership size, revenue generated and more. A monthly or quarterly comparison of career center performance within similar industries can offer an especially meaningful comparison because those associations are likely serving the same population with the same motivations and qualifications.

Online Career Center Data - Compare your career center to others' to gauge how well you're attracting traffic to it.
Compare your career center to others’ to gauge how well you’re attracting traffic to it.

With the implementation of the Dynamic Benchmarking Platform, Naylor’s Boxwood-powered technology now provides a vehicle for career center clients to compare themselves to their peers any time they’d like.

Comparing your online career center to others in the same space is a useful way to assess your strengths and weaknesses. But peer comparison is useful to a point. Benchmark your online career center against your association’s mission and goals to ensure the career center is fulfilling the role you need it to fill. How is your career center enhancing the membership experience? How is it positioning your association as an invaluable part of a career path in your industry? Numbers gleaned from your online career center’s data reports can still play an essential role in showing how the site fulfills your mission, but keep in mind: Not every association has thousands of members or hundreds of employers ready with available positions.

You could be a small, localized association in a lucrative, very specialized field that can still provide a valuable, in demand connection between employers and members without having thousands of website visitors or dozens upon dozens of postings. So before it becomes an un-winnable goal of keeping up with the Joneses, career center benchmarks should be set with respect to the association’s mission and goals for a given time period. Your mission and strategic plan, and how a career center can support those, should be the No. 1 benchmark for success.

Compare your site's revenue to what other career centers in your industry earn, but keep in mind that site success and revenue depends on a number of factors.
Compare your site’s revenue to what other career centers in your industry earn, but keep in mind that site success and revenue depends on a number of factors.

Armed with this data, your association can put a plan in place to improve your online career center’s performance. There are a number of industry best practices that can help drive increased performance in addition to regular data reviews of your site.

While keeping up with other association websites’ bells and whistles can be a powerful motivator for improvement of your own, rely on your data to guide you toward enhancements and promotions that will make a real difference with your members and employers. Relate these numbers back to your mission to ensure the story they tell ends in the same place as your strategic and revenue goals. Data creates a powerful comparison. What you compare the data with and how you put it into action will determine just how well you’re able to keep up.

About The Author

Kim Howells is a director of business development with Naylor Career Solutions.