Job Posting Teardown: AT&T

Nearly perfect postings.

On a recent speaking tour, from my room in an Elvis-themed hotel in Memphis, an AT&T commercial on the TV caught my attention. Mostly because it was starring Mark Whalberg (who is one of my favorite actors) but also because it was really, really well done.

Every time I see a brand doing something really well on the consumer-facing marketing front, my mind immediately jumps to the question of how well they’re doing on their candidate-facing marketing efforts and candidate experience.

I immediately opened up a new tab in Chrome and fired up the AT&T career site. And today, I want to share with you what I found.

First Stop: The Careers Page.

The first thing to notice isn’t even on the actual careers page. It’s in the URL bar. The location of AT&T’s career page is: http://att.jobs/.

Nice use of a custom domain.

Far too many companies use their default ATS-hosted sites for their job postings without thinking about the implications. Having your career site hosted on www.yourATS.com/boards/your_company does nothing for your company page in terms of SEO. The positions you’re hiring for are not being indexed as part of your company’s site and instead is donating that SEO to your ATS. This means if somebody was to search for a specific role within your company, your ATS will show up on Google before your company’s site does.

In most cases, it requires such little effort and tech to point your career site and job postings to your own site and the payoff is well worth it in the long-term SEO game.

Moving along to the actual site.

Looks like 2012.

First impression of the design? 2012. Which isn’t a bad thing, it just totally reminds me of the Windows 8 Metro UI.

I would argue that the Metro UI was ahead of it’s time.

A quick search on the Internet Archive’s Wayback machine confirms my thought. A screenshot of AT&T’s career site was indexed on December 21, 2013 and it shows a nearly identical career site to its current site.

Pretty much unchanged since 2013.

Again, it’s not a bad thing. It simply hasn’t been overhauled in the last few years.

While the design is decent, I would argue that it’s difficult to create a hierarchy using this kind of design. There’s no clear call-to-action when all CTAs are given the same treatment. And when candidates land on a career site, they need to understand the next logical step or at least find it easy to uncover what they’re there for.

Let’s click into one of these tiles. Personally, I’d like to learn more about Life at AT&T.

Tiled design makes sense when you don’t need an explicit hierarchy and visitors are encouraged to freely explore.

This is an example of where this kind of tiled design makes for a positive candidate experience: content delivery. In this case, there’s no real hierarchy needed, it’s a free-for-all, choose-your-own-adventure, what-do-you-want-to-know experience. Candidates are free to choose the areas they are most interested in.

Scrolling down, we find a tile called “The #1 Thing You Need To Know About Working At AT&T”. Clicking on that tile brings up a non-tiled menu page. The page is instead, filled with the faces of real AT&T people doing real things.

There’s photos from conferences, work events, meetings and the all feature people who look to be genuinely enjoying their time.

Clicking through the other tiles from the Life at AT&T menu, I was more and more impressed by the sheer volume and quality of each section. I found social media feeds, video stories, diversity and inclusion statements and stories, lists of benefits, conference info and highlights from service days.

AT&T does an incredible job of covering all of their bases by providing a ton of options for candidates to learn about life at AT&T. They go far above and beyond what we typically see from other companies.

Career Site Design Score: 2.5/5

While the design isn’t horrible, it’s a bit dated. The main career site could definitely do a better job of establishing a hierarchy and presenting it in a way that guides a candidate through the experience.

Career Site Candidate Experience: 3.5/5

There are so many opportunities for candidates to learn about AT&T, their values, their benefits and what life is like working for them. Everything is organized and easy to find. There are very few companies who provide this much content in a way that’s engaging and in a way that candidates can easily understand and access. AT&T does it nearly perfectly.


JOB POSTINGS

Now this is obviously what we live and breathe at Ruutly, so I was excited to dive into AT&T’s postings. I had medium-level expectations based on what I saw from their career site. I was definitely not expecting what I found.

Setting expectations for the actual posting.

At first glance, it looks good. A giant image of a happy person, a clear title, a clearly displayed location. And then, what’s this? A navigation bar in a job posting? A way for candidates to actually navigate to particular pieces of a job posting that they may be interested in?

This moved my expectations up a level.

Let’s scroll.

Motherfather. This is amazing.

A clear profile of schedule expectations and… a dollar sign…? Followed by actual numbers? This can’t even be possible. Am I seeing a salary IN A JOB POSTING?

I am! 👏👏 ← And that’s only because there’s no standing ovation emoji.

Candidates expect salary in job descriptions. Google it. Yet so few companies give any indication of what a job might pay. I promise you, if you’re not disclosing a salary or salary range, you’re losing out on great people who would otherwise apply.

Just below to key info about this position, we see a bar graph with a success profile. A visual indicator of the type of skills a candidate should have to be successful in this role.

My only criticism here would be that the skills are really generic. If you’ve read some of our other teardowns or Jahmal’s recent post, we’re bullies when it comes to including context in a posting. “Communicator” means very little if it’s not accompanied by what that means to this particular role in this particular company.

This is going much better than I could’ve imagined. Let’s keep scrolling.

A decent description combined with the info candidates want.

Do you know what I love about this AT&T posting? It’s a true experience. And the job description is only a piece of the experience. So many companies simply call their postings “job descriptions” because that’s all they are. A text-based description of the role. No more, no less.

The actual description isn’t bad. It starts with, what I would argue is the most critical info about the Bilingual Spanish Part Time Retail Sales Consultant, the two languages you must be able to speak for this role.

They go on to describe the role, typical earnings for people in that role, benefits and some great perks.

Again, if I get out my nit-picker, I’d push for more context around some of the skills. “Do you like helping people?” — helping people with what? Firefighters help people. Personal assistants help people. Bodyguards help people. Crossing guards help people but they all help them in different ways. “Do you like technology?” — What kind of tech? My dad likes motorcycle tech. My brother likes airsoft tech. One of our staff here at Ruutly likes music tech, it doesn’t mean they’d all be perfect for this role.

Let’s scroll.

Ok AT&T, stop it. You’re making this very hard for other companies to compete.

First, we have a video, highlighting retail jobs at AT&T. And then we have something nearly unheard of… a clear, step-by-step guide of the application process.

This is what great candidate experience looks like.

Candidate experience doesn’t start once an applicant clicks “apply”, it starts on the careers page, or on your social media feed or in a job posting, or any other place a candidate may land to learn more about life at AT&T and AT&T clearly understands that.

Let’s scroll.

This is just showboating now. It’s like AT&T talent acquisition set out to put the rest of the world to shame.

They follow up their video and little application checklist with an in-depth look at what the total process looks like from the online application all the way through to being hired. They also have a section to help their applicants prepare for the assessments they’re required to take.

There are no curveballs, no unknowns, no email abysses where a candidate needs to worry about what’s happening behind the scenes. They know exactly what’s happening and what the process entails.

Can I repeat myself? This is what great candidate experience looks like.

This is AT&T showing complete empathy for their candidates and setting crystal clear expectations.

Surely there’s nothing else to be seen. But just to make sure, let’s scroll.

Your candidates want to see where they can go in your company.

Shut. The. Front. Door.

How many candidates discount entry-level roles and wonder where those jobs could lead? How many of those candidates never apply because they seem like “just” a job and not the launchpad for a meaningful, successful career?

AT&T shows the career paths that retail could lead to. They don’t discount the impact a candidate could have on their company. They don’t cap the success of an entry-level employee and in turn, empower their candidates to imagine a life-long, successful career with the company.

This is what great candidate experience looks like.

Let’s scroll.

AT&T caps the experience off with some info on benefits and then another video outlining the role.

All really well done.


Job Posting Design: 4/5

Job Description Clarity: 3/5

Job Posting Candidate Experience: 5/5


Conclusion

There are so many opportunities to create an actual experience through a career site and most importantly, through actual job postings. But so often, companies completely abandon candidates in job postings and leave them underwhelmed with generic descriptions, design and experience.

While their main career page could use a design update and clearer navigation, AT&T is out to show the world that job postings can be an actual experience. They clearly show that the actual job description is just one part of the experience and that candidates deserve empathy, excitement and empowerment.

We spend a lot of our time looking at career pages and job postings. And while we’ve had some great examples of great career sites and job posting design, we have yet to see anything like the actual experience that AT&T provides.

I’m asked daily, “so who does candidate experience in postings really well” and from now on, I won’t let the question-asker finish. AT&T does. AT&T does candidate experience in postings really, really well.

Final thought: AT&T doesn’t have an unfair advantage. The main ingredient to a great candidate experience isn’t budget or brains, it’s empathy for the candidate and a desire to give them the type experience they deserve.

So, thank you Mark Whalberg.

FINAL SCORE: 18/25

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