When I was your age, we had to walk 5 miles to a public library computer to access a /careers/ page. And all you got was a list with a search bar!
If you’ve been around the recruiting block a few times, you remember the days before company culture videos and organizational values made up the sheen of a modern careers page. And if you’re one of the eager young recruiting minds of tomorrow, it may surprise you to learn there was a time before there was so much as an “Apply Now” button. In this hopefully recurring segment, your Teamable pals are digging deep in the archives of the Internet Wayback Machine to dredge up the careers pages of yesteryear.
Whether this serves a trip down memory lane or a Hallmark channel soft-focus lens into a decadent past, the evolution of jobs pages, emergence of employer brand, and increasing focus on candidate experience are fascinating to watch develop. Our premiere installment features none other than everyone’s favorite e-commerce, original content production, and web service company, Amazon.
The first stop in our journey is 2003. At the time, Amazon’s jobs page comprised two sections, “About Amazon.com”, and the list of open job listings by location.
There are a few slight nods to candidate experience—you can learn more about why you might want to choose to work for Amazon and what life is like there. But the expectation seems to be that anyone visiting this page has already decided they want to work for Amazon and is just here to search for the relevant job listing.
Flash forward a few years, you can see that while there have been a few cosmetic changes, the overall organization and information on this page has remained essentially the same. There’s some light employer branding with sections on values, benefits, and “Inside Amazon,” but this setup is still making the candidate do the heavy lifting when it comes to learning about opportunities and understanding what makes Amazon a unique place to work.
The 2011 version of the Amazon careers page features two notable updates. First, there’s now a specific selection for “military recruiting” and the page contains an excerpt from the shareholder letter by CEO Jeff Bezos. These changes reflect an increased sensibility to diversity (offering a dedicated recruiting path for veterans) and company values as a competitive advantage.
This version of Amazon’s careers page demonstrates a shift away from being all about Amazon and towards catering to the candidate’s interests and perspective. The slideshow highlights different Amazon office locations and what makes them appealing places to live and work, there’s information on benefits and stock options, and there are links to Amazon’s Facebook and LinkedIn pages. This is noteworthy because it shows Amazon investing in employer branding in places other than their careers page, and also takes into account a more nuanced view of how candidates interact with Amazon. Not everyone who visits their careers page is ready to apply to a job in that exact moment. Previous versions of the careers page, which featured little beyond a giant “Apply Now” call to action, would have lost out on some of these not-quite-ready candidates.
While candidates still have the opportunity to search open jobs and explore office locations, there’s a large emphasis on current Amazon employees and their stories. You read detailed employee profiles that cover what brought them to Amazon, what types of projects they’re working on, and what they love about their jobs. And this type of personal connection is key to the modern candidate experience.
Our little trip to the past shows us a few things about the evolution of recruiting over the past 15 years—companies have begun to realize that it’s not all about them. It’s not enough to talk about open roles or what to expect in the application process. They need to create a way for candidates to connect with the company on a personal level and create ways to build that relationship over time. While we say various other channels of employer branding emerge, the overarching trend appears to be Amazon presenting itself as an organization made up of real people just like you, as opposed to a faceless logo merely imploring you to upload a resume. Amazon’s shift from transactional to the story-based and personal approach reflects this larger change in the world of recruiting.
Know of any careers pages that have undergone impressive transformations through the years? Drop us a line in the comment section to let us know!