Refining and consolidating Reed’s digital estate

With a global network of recruitment consultants and over 18 million candidates and counting, Reed is one of the largest recruitment companies in the UK and has connections worldwide. As is often the case with enterprise businesses, over time, additions to Reed's rapidly growing portfolio of services ended in a sprawling digital real estate that struggled to answer users’ needs.

The opportunity

We’ve worked with Reed before to launch their ‘Keep Britain Working’ campaign in just eight days during lockdown, in a responsive move to the employment crisis. Since they knew we could get to grips with a project quickly, we were brought on board for the considerably more extensive consolidation project.
Over the course of a year, we supported with design, build and SEO for the new, and consolidated the core Reed websites to create a brand-new best-in-class B2B experience.

Merging and consolidating their digital estate

After an extensive research phase, we identified that the new site should encompass every Reed service available, including: specialist recruitment, job boards, candidate screening, headhunting, recruitment outsourcing, consultancy, services procurement, project delivery, online courses, wellbeing checks and more. The previous set up of separate sites was disparate and led to the user only ever seeing a fraction of the scope of Reed’s offering.
The new now offers a streamlined and comprehensive first point of contact for all customers.

Creating sector-specific content hubs

Previously, it could have been argued that Reed had a reputation for being a ‘generalist recruiter’. This was largely down to Reed’s specialist service, Reed Specialist Recruitment, remaining under the radar, hidden and only discoverable by those who already knew it existed. Now with dedicated sector-specific content-led hubs, those looking for highly specific recruitment expertise always end up in the right place rather than just scratching the surface.

Translating a new brand identity

The Tangent design team took Reed’s recently refreshed brand guidelines and refined them to fit a digital landscape. Evolving certain design recommendations as well as accessing factors such as accessibility and ease of application .
With a site that is constantly being updated, we identified areas most suitable for playful graphic embellishments and which areas should have more standardised and flexible components, enabling growth and ease of use for the Reed content editing team.

The business logic behind our tech choices

A progressive web architecture approach

Here at Tangent, we like to run our greenfield projects using the JAMStack approach. Running a component driven React framework ensures rapid development since our teams can work in isolation from other development work streams to ensure efficient workflow.
On the back-end, after evaluating the benefits of microservices architecture vs creating a small monolith, and due to the portability of this approach, a monolith was chosen.

Cheap, scalable cloud infrastructure

With cost-saving and flexibility being top priorities for the client, we chose GCP over AWS to guarantee cheap and scalable cloud infrastructure. With Google services being serverless, there’s also the benefit that Reed will only have to pay for what they use.

Continuous improvement

The CI/CD pipeline in place with automated testing enables coding conventions to be enforced as well as performance being improved due to front-end bundling. The automated testing ensures we can always deploy with confidence, and with no downtime.

Disaster recovery

With the infrastructure all created as code in Terraform cloud, disaster recovery protocols become simplified as there’s no need for manual creation of infrastructure.

Headless CMS

The front-end is driven by data from headless CMS Contentful. Our use of incremental static regeneration means that if data from any of those sources are changed, the static pages will always stay up to date. Besides being the best choice in terms of regeneration, they also benefit from being a managed service with hosting and maintenance support with SLA around uptime and incident response, as well as automatic upgrades.

Highlighting customer insight through integrations

The Tangent tech team also took a consolidation approach to the integrations used by the previous Reed site, to create a one single, streamlined source of customer data and insight. For example, dynamic forms via Hubspot (Reed’s CRM) were integrated with other systems to provide vacancy information, from every single previous site.
As well as streamlining integrations, the team reviewed each one to make improvements so that they provided the most relevant customer insight possible.

SLA-driven support

Besides the SLA support given by Contentful, the tech team is also on board to proactively look for security vulnerabilities in the Reed ecosystem. We also built custom dashboards in Grafana for digestible reports on uptime, incident response and more

Ensuring a smooth SEO migration process

Like with any web migration project, guarding against any SEO issues is a must. Tangent’s growth and tech teams worked with Reed’s internal SEO team to ensure uninterrupted page loads, functional URLs and form indexes with everything optimised for accessibility.
From a technical SEO perspective, over 7000 pages were removed after crawling the previous site, and every variation of Reed’s online identity changed over to the new destination page.

What’s next?

The new is now live to users and we are in data collection mode. With A/B testing well underway, we’ll be assessing performance that will help Reed measure the impact of the newly opened up opportunities for cross-selling their services.