A new website for a new company with a fresh approach to recruitment

The jobs market is competitive for employers. If they want to attract the best candidates they know they need to present themselves in the best possible light.

A website that allows employers to post their stories, not just their jobs

Helping employers to attract the best candidates is what new company EVPeople sets out to do. The brainchild of Dave Townsend, it’s an online jobs board that allows employers to showcase their culture, social scene and what they stand for so they can attract motivated candidates who are inspired about the employer’s story and want to be part of it.

A complex website brief with rapidly changing requirements

Dave Townsend’s experience in recruitment meant he knew the design and functionality of the website needed to be slick and sophisticated so it would appeal to his blue chip target market. It also needed to be immediately visible on search engines to support his marketing activities.

Dave was therefore looking for a web development company that had the design and technical skills to be able to put together a complex website and the online marketing skills needed to promote it.

A picture of David Townsend of EVPeople


Dave Townsend, EVPeople

I needed to find a web development partner who would understand this and not be fazed by it.”

He also needed a developer who would understand the fast-changing nature of start-up companies. He comments:

“Because I’m doing something that’s never been done in this way before I knew plans would change as we went along and market feedback would inevitably shape what we were doing. I needed to find a web development partner who would understand this and not be fazed by it.”

Dave asked his network for recommendations for a good quality web development company and our name came back. After a conversation with Rich, Dave knew he had found the company he was looking for. “Rich understood both the technical and the commercial aspects of what I was doing. I also liked the fact I’d be working directly with him which meant we’d be able to have honest and rapid communication. I’ve worked with design agencies in the past where you deal with the intermediary of an account manager and found that things get ‘lost in translation’.”

A carefully developed website solution

We recommended a WordPress website for the project . The design of the site was done by Factory Pattern, a company we work with regularly and trust to do a good job. The guys created a bold, dramatic design that enhances EVPeople’s branding.

Getting the design of the site right was crucial, but success would ultimately depend on its functionality and usability. To achieve this, we used a number of bespoke plugins that would give the site the level of sophistication it needed.

The first of these was a plugin developed by us in association with Factory Pattern for projects exactly like this one. Called Dovetail, it provides simple but elegant tools for membership sites where different member types need to see different parts of the website when they’re logged in. With the help of some heavy-duty customisation it works alongside a plugin called Gravity Forms, which provides drag and drop forms to enable users to add jobs to the website, make applications and more.

Elsewhere on the site, the job search function was one that needed to work particularly well because, as Rich says: “No one likes a set of rubbish search results!” Clever thinking was therefore required around allowing users to search for jobs within a radius of any given location and matching search terms to jobs. We’ve continued to tweak this search function since the site has gone live because we’ve been able to use Google Analytics to watch how users have been using the search and see how it could work better.

Plenty of work was also done around the emails sent to users from the site to ensure they maintain the professional, sophisticated feel of the site. We developed a custom email branding system that would override the standard designs of WordPress emails while also making sure they wouldn’t end up in users’ spam folders. We also developed a custom email alert plugin to enable the site to send alerts that are outside WordPress’s standard systems such as a job advert expiring.

To help Dave engage with users effectively and see exactly how the site was performing, he needed more than the standard statistics and information provided by WordPress. We therefore developed a management information plugin to give him the additional details he needs.

The best laid plans…

As Dave had expected, goal posts needed to change throughout the project.

Rich remembers one example near the end of the project:

“In small companies, marketing, finance and recruitment are probably all handled by the same person or at least by people in the same office, so there’s no problem with invoicing and user access. In larger companies, the HR department needs the membership of the site but the Marketing department will create the membership profile and make the payment. We needed to implement a system that allows one sign-in to manage the membership profile and buy credits and another sign-in to use them. It was quite a challenge late on in the process but it was vital we overcame it – and we did.”

The solution was a plugin called myCRED, which allows one user to add credit and another associated user to spend it. To link the system with the rest of the site seamlessly, we wrote code that integrated myCRED with Gravity Forms.

The site needed to ‘hit the ground running’ as soon as it was launched, so plenty of marketing effort has been required. While Dave is focusing on attracting employers to the site using offline marketing methods, we are focused on bringing in candidates using online marketing methods.

Because it’s so new, the website has little history with Google so is unlikely to feature prominently in search results yet. To overcome this, we recommended putting in place Google AdWords campaigns to raise the website’s profile while waiting for the site to become more established and start to rank naturally.

To make sure the campaigns delivered maximum return on investment, before the site was launched we researched the market to understand more about its size, what searchers are looking for and the percentage of the market share it would be feasible to try to take. Armed with this information we then developed landing pages to make it easy for users coming to the site via adverts to find what they’re looking for and therefore increase conversion rates.

For the first month after the site was launched, we monitored the campaigns on a daily and weekly basis to make sure they were delivering what was needed, tweaking and adjusting as needed. Now the site has been up and running for a few months, our attention has turned to monitoring and tailoring the campaigns to adapt to changes in the marketplace.

So has all the work been worthwhile?

The results of our online marketing work have been pretty impressive! As of March 2016, 3,105 individuals (or 43% of total site traffic) have visited the EVPeople site via an AdWords campaign. And 24% of all job applications have come from AdWords activities, making it the single best performing source of traffic to the site.

Overall, the site has more than delivered on its objectives so far, which suggests EVPeople is a concept people want and our work delivers the concept in the right way.

So what does Dave think? Asked whether he’d recommend us he says, “I certainly would do. In fact, I already have!”