In searching for a new job recently, I've seen many companies disregard the users of their career website pages. Most clutter this section of their websites with mission and branding statements, meaningless photos of smug professional people, even slick video animations.
None of this matters to job applicants unless they know the company has a job opening for them. So why do so many companies put it first?
Qualcomm's careers page is typical of the user-unfriendly breed. Primary billing is reserved for a Flash animated tag cloud of corporate buzzwords, and promotions for the company's presence on Twitter and Facebook capture the rest of the content area. The tasks users actually come here to do -- look for job openings -- are squeezed into terse links at the left.
Another frustration arises when a careers page doesn't have a job search field, instead requiring users to select a hierarchy of the company's internal divisions. To outsiders, however, corporate business group names are cryptic and ambiguous. If I'm seeking experience designer openings, do I look under Consulting? Marketing and Communications? Technology Solutions Group? These are real categories at EMC. Fortunately, EMC allows keyword search without selecting a business group first.
The Staples.com careers page does a much better job for me. Under the huge branding area, the page fits in two key calls to action. One is vaguely titled Own Your Own Success, but the other, Search Jobs, couldn't be clearer. I'd be happier if the page didn't play audio automatically, but you can't have everything!