SignalFire’s Startup Recruiting Guide
Chapter 2: How To Make A Startup Careers Page
By Josh Constine, edited by Heather Doshay and Corey Richard, drafted by Crystal Guerrero
Best practices for building a careers page that attracts top job candidates and reduces your outbound recruiting workload
Just 13% of careers page visitors actually clicked through to apply for a job in 2017. You can do better…with a little help. In this second chapter of SignalFire’s Startup Recruiting Guide, we’ll teach you to convince talent that your startup is a rocketship opportunity with an inclusive company culture.
A “careers page” is defined as a page of your website where you show off why people should want to work at your company, and provide your open job listings. The ten essential elements of a careers page are:
- Company Intro – A quick preview of your employer brand
- Mission / Story – How you’ve made a positive impact
- Values – Your morals and philosophy
- Growth – Why you’re a rocketship with valuable equity
- Company Culture – Your work environment and how employees interact
- Benefits – Non-wage compensation and perks
- Diversity and inclusion – How you’re recruiting a team with broad perspective
- Employee reviews – What staff says about working for you
- Job listings – Open positions candidates can apply for
- Stay In Touch / Resources – How to keep close to the company before applying
We’ll give you strategies for each section and example screenshots from the careers pages of top startups. Follow our tips, and you’ll have one link you can send to anyone to get them excited about working with you.
This Careers Page chapter builds on our previous Employer Brand Strategy guide that defines how you represent yourself to job candidates. If you’re not clear on your mission, values, and company culture, start there before learning below to communicate that info through your site.
Why spend time building a deep and vibrant careers page? Sure, you could just have a link in your site’s menu or footer that leads to your job postings, or a dead-simple page with just a brief overview of your company…
…but recruiting is the #1 time-suck for most startup founders. Putting a bit more effort into your careers page could speed up your hiring process by improving applicant quality and quantity. It takes the pressure off your recruiting team so they don’t have to start from scratch when selling candidates on the company. And it makes interviews more efficient by answering obvious questions about your company culture upfront. Done right, a careers page can attract talent that wasn’t even looking for a job, and collect their contact info so you can tell them about future openings.
Show, Don’t Just Tell
If anyone is interested enough to check out your careers page, you want to be sure to reward them with content that’s unique, meaningful, and memorable. That means using lots of visuals. Even if you’re a small team in a smaller office or all work remotely, photography and graphics help job candidates imagine what their day-t0-day will be like, and who they’re building for.
Invest early in imagery. You’ll find yourself reusing it for fundraising, marketing, and PR as well as recruiting. The most useful types of startup visual materials are:
- Founder portraits: Headshots are fine, but magazine-style portraits and shots of them inspiring your team are better
- Candid/plandid team photos: The “everyone standing next to each other” shots are tired. What does it actually look like when you collaborate?
- Product shots: Screenshots are great for clarity, but you’ll want photos of customers using your product in the wild too
- Office pics or looks at employees’ at-home set-ups: Where and how will employees spend their time? If that’s all remote, show off the ergonomic setups and company swag you offer your team
- Flavor imagery: This includes pics the convey your mission and values, charts showing off your growth or impact, and illustrations that make people remember your brand
At the earliest stages, investing in imagery might just mean taking the time to work with a photography-minded friend to adjust lighting and get some artful angles. Once you have some funding, hire a professional to shoot and edit. Later stage, you can hire design agencies to jazz up your branding and build you a comprehensive set of visual materials.
Now, let’s dig into each of the major careers page sections. Here’s a quick description of what should be included, sample text, and some example screenshots.
Careers Page Intro
Use imagery or video to immediately grab job candidates and give them a taste of your purpose or culture. You can also sprinkle in statistics about your customers, growth, funding, or footprint to convince visitors that you’re a rocket ship whose equity will be valuable.
If you’re a scrappy, very early-stage company this intro plus you job listings might make up your whole Careers Page. But adding more of the sections below can widen your funnel, persuade the interested to apply, and get the basics laid out so you don’t waste recruiter or interview time repeating them.
Mission / Story
What do you do and why do you matter to the world? Don’t be afraid to add a little personality. When employees feel good about what they’re building, they work harder, stay longer, and help you recruit.
Sample text: Hi. We’re Company X. We love dogs so much that we decided to open a spa just for dogs. It’s our mission to make our furry friends more comfortable. We’re hiring right now!
We work out of dog-friendly offices in New York, London, and San Francisco. Everyone who works here is paid well, gets a comprehensive benefits package, and enjoys puppy hours every Friday. Want to be a part of a “pawsome” team that’s making a difference for dogs? Come join us!
Job candidates want to feel aligned not only with the mission, but how their companies executes on it. Sharing your company values helps prospective candidates decide whether they’d be a good fit for your company. Consider adding in explanations if any of the values need a little extra context.
Sample text: At Company X, our values drive everything we do. These are our values:
- Be eXcellent to each other
- Treat customers like friends
- Laughter makes everything better
Share some highlights and photos of your work setting and company culture. This can include office pics, offsite events, and online team building activities, as well as
Sample text: We want you to feel empowered to do your best work and excited to show up, whether or not you’re coming to our brand new headquarters. That’s why we offer a remote-friendly, flexible working environment with plenty of in-person and work-from-home social events. Check out these photos to learn more about what it’s like to work at Company X.
Clearly list your benefits and perks, especially anything you offer that’s particularly special or aligned with your values (e.g. giving time off for volunteering or a stipend for travel). This shows candidates that you care about your employees and gets them excited about the prospect of working for you.
Be sure to highlight any wellness benefits that you offer since these are especially important to millennial employees. Try to be as inclusive as possible, considering not just gym memberships but other ways of promoting well-being such as meditation or acupuncture.
Sample text: At Company X, we believe that happy employees are the best employees, which is why we offer a full slate of benefits.
- Financial Benefits at Company X
- Competitive salary & equity packages
- 401(k) plan
- Pre-tax health care, dependent care, and commuter benefits (FSA)
- Health & Wellness Benefits at Company X
- Medical, dental, and vision benefits for you and your family
- Employee assistance programs
- Life insurance & disability
- Maternity & baby-bonding leave
- Fitness discounts
- Perks at Company X
- Mentorship & leadership opportunities
- Unlimited PTO
- Free catered lunches and dinners
- Unlimited in-house snacks & drinks
- Fun quarterly offsite
- Office activities including happy hours and community service outings
- Fully paid parking pass, Clipper card, Caltrain pass [NY: MTA pass]
- $5k internal referral program
- Apple laptop w/ personal retrofitting
- Employee-led activity clubs [Runners’ club, Bakers’ club, etc.]
Diversity & Inclusion
Diversity is critical to building great products for everyone, as well as developing an inviting workplace. Focusing on inclusive recruiting and communicating that priority to candidates will draw a broader range of voices to your company. Use this section to discuss employee resource groups, inclusion initiatives, your diversity progress reports, and how you’re moving towards an ever-more equitable workplace. You can also link from your diversity section to a whole page about your efforts.
Sample text: We want Company X to reflect the world around us and our customers, which means we hire people from a range of talents, experiences, and backgrounds. We’re committed to diversity and inclusion. Click here to learn more about our D&I efforts, and check out or latest diversity report on our progress.
Candidates are much more interested in what your employees have to say than what you do (sorry, but it’s true). Be sure to share social proof, whether it’s in the form of quotes from employees, video testimonials, or links to your Glassdoor site.
One simple way to do this sort of “Meet the Team” feature is to introduce an employee with a photo, their name, job title, and a short quote. Here you can also introduce different departments and share some of their unique challenges and personalities. You can highlight particular values or work styles specific to your engineering, design, or sales squads. Let candidates picture what it’s like to work on different teams at your company.
Sample text: Work in a place that employees are raving about. Check out our awesome reviews on Glassdoor, or see what our employees have to say!
Introducing the engineering team – Want to work with new technology and infrastructure? Love cracking complex challenges? Look no further!
This is what you’ve been building up to with all your careers page content: your open positions. You can either host your job listings on your main page or on a separate page, but either way, be sure to add shortcuts to them throughout your careers page.
You can host job listings directly on your site, or use a platform like Lever or Greenhouse. Some companies even build out whole pages dedicated to the culture or function of particular jobs rather than just jumping directly into the requirements and responsibilities. You’ll want to offer a selection of filters for sorting through your open listings, including:
- Job type (full-time, part-time, etc)
- Search by keyword
We’ll go deeper into the specifics of writing up job listings in a future chapter of SignalFire’s Startup Recruiting Guide. For now, though, here’s our SignalFire Job Description Template outlining what goes in a basic job description for your open roles.
How you write your descriptions and build your careers page will have a big impact on your diversity & inclusion efforts that bring in the breadth of perspectives necessary to build products that work for everyone. You can use anti-bias tools like Textio or the free Gender Decoder to ensure you’re not subtly discriminating in your job descriptions or pushing away certain classes of candidates.
Stay In Touch / Resources
Let candidates connect with you even if they don’t find the job listing or aren’t ready to apply yet. You can offer an email address for general applications, let them sign up for your newsletter (segment this so you can send recruiting-specific emails beyond your general newsletter), and link to your social media accounts (especially if you have recruiting/employer branding dedicated accounts).
This gives prospective candidates the chance to engage with you on the platforms they use the most and stay up to date on your latest news. For many people, it takes multiple touchpoints until they’re ready to fully engage as an applicant, but following you on social media is a relatively low-pressure way to stay informed about your company.
Meanwhile, you want to help those who are applying put their best foot forward. Going the extra mile to provide resources for candidates shows them that you really want them to succeed. You can put together some answers to frequent candidate questions or concerns and link to it from your careers page. Here’s what should go in your job candidate resource guide or FAQ:
- How to get to each of your offices for in-person interviews
- If you cover travel expenses
- What to wear
- Anything candidates should bring or prepare
- What aptitude, potential, and values you hire for
- Your interviewing method, such as the STAR method
- How you remove bias from interviews, such as using a structured set of questions
- The schedule of follow-ups to expect after an interview
- Blog posts or videos that help candidates get to know your product, culture, and philosophy
Sample text: Stay in touch. Check out our presence on these social media platforms to learn the latest about what we’re up to, or join our email newsletter. Interested in candidate FAQs and interview guides? View additional resources here.
Never stop iterating! Once you’ve built your careers page, there are several checkups you can do to make sure it’s reaching the widest possible audience.
- Mobile: Double-check that your careers page looks right on mobile, as it won’t look the same as on desktop where you built it. While more people are likely to apply on desktop where they have access to their resume and it’s easier to type, many will first browse your page from their phone or tablet.
- Links everywhere: Ensure you have a prominent link from your website’s navigation bar to your careers page. Don’t bury it in a minimized menu. And wherever you talk about your team or mission on your website, include a link to where they can apply to become a part of it.
- Competitive benchmarks: Take a look at the careers pages of your competitors and other startups in your vertical. Consider taking…inspiration from any design elements or talking points that make them look more attractive than you.
- Measure traffic: Keep track of your careers page’s conversion rate, which is defined as the percentage of people who visited your career site and then went on to apply. If 5 out of 100 visitors apply, you have a 5% conversion rate and could probably improve your page’s design. Other stats to measure that will inform you about the quality of your careers page, job listings, and inbound candidates include:
- The Click-to-apply rate of what percentage of people who open a specific job listing actually apply
- How many applications you receive for which job listings
- What percentage of applicants via your careers page are invited to interview
- Survey hires: Once your careers page is in use, ask new hires who likely saw it what they liked most and least about it. Was there an exciting piece you should feature more prominently, or something missing they wished you included?
- Refresh content: Beyond keeping your open job listings up to date, be sure to refresh your careers page a few times a year with new photos, values, culture programs, and blog posts so candidates know hiring is a priority.
- Get help: Investigate who is willing to pitch in, whether it’s a social media maven who can manage your company Instagram account, a wannabe writer who’s willing to pen some blog posts, or a company champion who’s open to sharing their story in a video testimonial or interview.
- Access elsewhere: Candidates look for jobs on Facebook and LinkedIn, so make sure you have mirrors of your job listings on those social networks. When people see a great job listing that might be a good fit for a friend, offer a button to let them email it to a friend.
About SignaFire’s Talent Program
Recruiting is SignalFire’s superpower. Our Beacon Talent engine tracks all the top tech talent in the Western world, and can generate reports on the best and most hireable job candidates for any role. SignalFire’s talent program is led by former Facebook executive recruiter Mike Mangini whose team assists our portfolio companies with high-level strategy and on-the-ground recruiting to make sure you score your ideal hires. We helped make over 1000 job candidate intros to our portfolio companies last year — just one of the reasons we receive a net promoter score of 91 from our portfolio founders, over 85% of whom say we’re their most valuable investor.