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What career websites are made of: top 5 features and 4 months of development

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#Development 08 december 2023
  • Daniel Solovev

    Head of PHP Department

Recently, we developed our own off-the-shelf solution — a universal backend for career websites on Laravel. We can develop one in four months. In this article, we’ll go over what prompted us to create this solution, what it consists of, and who might find it useful.

How career websites became popular

Over the past two years, the demand for IT specialists has increased. At the beginning of the year, statistics represent a growth of 63% compared to 2022. However, as the market shows no signs of slowing down, the need for skilled professionals is likely to persist. Many companies have taken note of this trend and have started actively working on their own career websites.
We have seen this trend ourselves. Just this year, we have developed six career websites and have two more in progress. All these companies are major players actively recruiting in the IT sphere. Each one of them aims to quickly create a user-friendly website for finding specialists, one that aggregates job vacancies and conveys corporate values.

Here's how one of our clients explains this need:
  • We need a career website to eliminate dependence on the behavior of external platforms, both financially and technologically. Sometimes, custom modifications are needed, and on familiar platforms, it's not possible to use formats and ideas for promoting the employer's brand: from event announcements to working with universities. Often, extended analytics and rapid revamping of structure and content are required. Having our own functional and well-designed page creates a stable point of contact and initiates direct dialogue with applicants.
One of these projects we developed from scratch was a full-fledged employment website, after which we realized that we could optimize the process further. Career portals are structured quite similarly, which means we can save time and money for our clients by using an off-the-shelf solution. We gathered a set of universal HR features, combined them, and obtained a ready-made product.

Who definitely needs a career website

Career websites are a kind of must-have for large companies actively recruiting. If a small company is hiring 2-3 employees per month, investing in such a website might not be cost-effective. However, for a huge corporation constantly having 150-300 vacancies, a career website will quickly justify the invested resources.
We can see this from our clients. These are companies with thousands of employees and large IT departments. Just on one of the websites we’ve developed alone, there are more than 400 job offers every day:
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For each vacancy, a recruiter invests time and money. It needs to be posted on career platforms like Glassdoor, Linkedin, Indeed, or JobAdvisor. After that, each vacancy needs promotion: writing posts, social media seeding. The cost of attracting one specialist can reach up to 25% of their annual salary.
We've accounted for this in the functionality of our solution. We added integration with the Huntflow service—thanks to which, vacancies automatically spread across platforms. Additionally, it allows for gathering analytics: tracking the funnel of responses, offers, rejections, and so on. Hence, identifying weak and strong points in recruitment through the career website becomes easier.

For companies that infrequently recruit employees, these analytics may not be necessary. They already know how many vacancies they've closed in a month and how long they've searched for each employee. However, the higher the volume of recruitment, the more important analytics becomes. That's why we've embedded this functionality into our solution. Other options help increase response conversion. Here they are:
Main features
1. The main function is integration with Huntflow. It's a platform for managing a candidate database and automating all recruitment processes. Many companies, including ours, use it as their primary tool. When a person responds to a vacancy, their data automatically enters the Huntflow CRM system. From there, managing the candidate becomes much easier for the recruiter.

2. We created an admin panel that allows for constructing landing pages. If a company has many departments, it's possible to create a page for each one and showcase their tasks, values, and specifics. Moreover, the built-in visual editor operates on the principle of WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get). Although, we'll further customize it according to the specific needs of each customer.
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In order to work with the built-in editor, no special skills are needed — everything is intuitive & understandable

3. Another feature is integration with the Elasticsearch search engine using synonymous search, allowing candidates to quickly find a job vacancy. For instance, if the job title on the site is 'PHP Developer,' an applicant might type 'PHP' or simply 'developer' or 'PHP dev.' In any case, the system will display the relevant vacancy.
4. We've added a news block to the solution. It's not mandatory, but some clients need to write about their events or maintain a blog. If necessary, it can be disabled or reinstated.

5. Later on, we'll add an image rendering feature to the solution for sharing purposes. It's quite straightforward: if someone shares a link to a job vacancy on social media, an image will automatically load alongside it. This means the link will be visually appealing; the image will likely include the company’s logo, the job title, and some tags.
This functionality covers 90% of recruiting needs; the remaining 10% involves custom solutions. With proper SEO optimization, it will appear higher in searches compared to already-existing hiring platforms like SuperJob. Candidates will learn precisely what the company wants to convey, presented in a bright and dynamic manner.
Moreover, maintaining such a website requires minimal resources. Creating landing pages and publishing news can even be managed by a single content manager, depending on the workload. Also, posting vacancies and collecting responses from all popular platforms and the career website can be done through the same Huntflow tool. This takes less time than posting each vacancy separately on multiple platforms.
  • On average, publishing a single job vacancy on job sites takes from 30 minutes to an hour. This also includes forwarding resumes to clients, sending emails to applicants, scheduling interviews, and so on. Let's assume there's one recruiter in the company who manages to find ten relevant resumes per day. In just this scenario, integration with Huntflow would save around 19 working days per year.

The tech stack we chose

We've chosen PHP and the Laravel framework as our main tech stack.
In technical terms, career websites are lightweight. They don't experience high loads or massive traffic as seen on large e-commerce projects. People search for jobs less frequently than, for example, vacuum cleaners. Therefore, we could have chosen any stack. However, Laravel deploys quickly, has a large community, and numerous modules that can be added if needed. That's why we opted for it.

For the admin panel, we initially chose Twill — a CMS for Laravel with a built-in WYSIWYG editor and block editor. In the initial projects, the admin panel worked based on it. However, while preparing the article, we found a more current and modern solution — FilamentPHP. It offers the same functions as Twill but is easier to use. In new versions, we will be using FilamentPHP.

The solution’s advantages

1. The off-the-shelf solution is advantageous for both us and the clients, and the main reason is money-related. We will spend fewer resources on such a website, which means the cost for the client will be lower.
2. An off-the-shelf solution is quick. We start working faster because we already have a deployed environment. We also proceed with tasks quicker as many components are readily available.
  • An important clarification: an off-the-shelf solution does not mean that we will simply change the design according to the client's wishes. Each website remains unique; we tailor the backend to meet specific requirements and consider nuances. But even in cases where we need to undertake a comprehensive scope of work: UX, system analysis, web design, backend, frontend, DevOps — even in these scenarios, development will take 4-6 months. However, the exact timeline can only be provided after a preliminary project assessment.
3. Maintaining an off-the-shelf solution is simpler. We already have a knowledge base, and it will continue to expand over time. We provide this knowledge base to the client, and it contains answers to all potential questions that may arise.

Key points in short

To reinforce the points made, I'll reiterate the main ideas. Not everyone needs a career website. Small companies with infrequent hiring might be better off not investing money into it. According to our observations, clients who typically invest in career websites are those simultaneously managing no fewer than 100 job vacancies.
To make it easier for you to decide, below is a questionnaire with three points. If at least two of them apply to you, it is likely that you need a career website:

  • You hire frequently, with a consistent workload of 100–150 job vacancies;
  • You lack opportunities from hiring platforms to showcase the company's face;
  • You need detailed analytics regarding personnel recruitment.
Creating a career website from scratch can take a maximum of six months. However, if the design is ready, four months should be sufficient.
  • Daniel Solovev

    Head of PHP Department

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