The recruiting category of the ExactHire blog discusses wide-ranging topics, trends, and best practices within and around the talent recruiting industry.

How Do I Attract More Job Seekers?

There’s no question that the quest to find enough, qualified applicants is frequently a priority for employers–particularly those with positions that traditionally have high turnover. Are you interested in a “chicken or egg” debate? In HR that question is always, would we rather have a large quantity of applicants or a batch of high quality applicants.

Employers obviously want both, but when they have to pick one or the other, in today’s pandemic-sensitized hiring environment, our clients are asking for quantity. Maybe they’ve decided that finding the perfect applicant is like finding the needle in the haystack and they want to hedge their bets? Maybe their organization decided years ago that having a specific, “middleman” recruiter wasn’t worth it given all the accessible hiring software platforms?

Whatever your reason, we hear you! You want more applicants! Here are five tips to get more applicants based on our team’s experience helping clients leverage technology to improve hiring experiences.

Darythe Anne Taylor
1. Share your job posting to multiple sites.

Share. Share. And share some more. Simple math will tell you, if you are interested in bringing in more applicants you must first reach more applicants. One of the best benefits of using the ExactHire ATS is that it can be your one-stop-shop for posting your job to your own career site AND pushing your job to other third party job boards.

The ExactHire ATS will automatically push your jobs to numerous job boards such as Indeed, ZipRecruiter, and Google for Jobs. There is more evidence that sponsoring jobs postings on these job boards can increase your applicant flow by 5X (Indeed)  ExactHire can work with you directly (and your third party job board representative) to make this work. In addition, you should not put all of your eggs in one basket!  ExactHire’s applicant tracking system “Promote” feature will increase your job’s visibility to:

  • state workforce development / unemployment offices,
  • colleges and universities,
  • diversity-specific job boards,
  • social media sites,
  • Potential referrals from existing employees
  • emails and newsletters with tracked links that may be customized within our ATS.

Kathleen McCoy-Anderson | ExactHire
2. Increase your chances of being found by job seekers.

Your job is now posted everywhere – various job boards, your website, newsletters, social media, on the highway billboard, etc. The next step is to make sure applicants are finding your job listings based on the content you included in the description. You don’t have to be a top salesperson or great at marketing to implement these few tricks, although, if you have someone on your team who is – ask that they take a look at your posting and provide suggestions.

Write distinctive and descriptive content

Start by making sure your job titles are unique. Job boards will often clump together similar job titles to prevent job seekers from encountering seemingly duplicated job descriptions. What’s the end result of this clumping, you ask? Well, some of your job listings may not be shown as often as others in search results–perhaps because you have two Server positions listed for the same location without much variety in their description text.

Do whatever you can to differentiate these titles and their descriptions. Consider adding your location, company name, ID number of the position, hours, or team name to the body of the description and/or the job title. If you are hiring two “Servers” the postings may be lumped together, but if you are hiring one “Server, Green Team, Weekdays only” and one “Server, Night Shift, North”, those two postings are less likely to be placed together as one.

Use hashtags on social

Use creative and professional hashtags to promote jobs on social media platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Unsure of which hashtags to use? Start by adding the basics to the bottom of your posts and only use 2-4 hashtags total per job posting. Here is a standard list:

  • #nowhiring
  • #jobopening
  • #employment
  • #jobs
  • #hiring
  • #work
  • #career
  • #jobposting
  • #jobsearch

Job description keyword density matters

Writing repetitive keywords is crucial if you want job seekers to encounter your job listings on external job sites when they do specific, job-related keyword searches. “Enjoy food and people? Our position allows you to work with our great team and our loyal customers,” can be improved to read, “As a Server with Acme Co. not only will you become part of the Serving Team, but you will also get to serve and interact with our loyal customers.” This may seem extra silly and a bit extreme, but this example does demonstrate how you can swap words to make a bigger search engine optimization (SEO) impact (ie work with other teammates is replaced with work with other servers). The more often you can repeat the position title and other related job-specific keywords that align with the potential search queries of job seekers, the greater your chances of being found.

Nancy Meyer
3. Make it easy for more job seekers to show interest.

If quantity is really what you’re looking for, then make it easy for more job seekers to say they are interested in your positions. The ExactHire ATS makes this simple and customizable by allowing clients the ability to create multi-step employment applications! Implementing a short, initial application step is the quickest, easiest way for an applicant to raise his/her hand and show interest. In this hiring climate, think: contact information and a resume; or, contact information and no more than five job-specific questions. After you’ve screened the first step of the application, you can decide if you want the applicant to go to the next step.

Chantel Hatch
4. Over-communicate to job candidates.

Once you have an applicant’s information, keep him/her on the hook by quickly responding with professional communication. The ExactHire ATS allows you to utilize an instant ‘Thank You’ email template. Using the multi-step application process, you can invite the applicant to complete another section of the application seamlessly, and with little effort on your part.

Want to “talk” to an applicant quickly? No problem! The ExactHire ATS features two-way emailing and text messaging with candidates directly within the platform. This leaves you with no excuses for not quickly engaging applicants to start the interview process…or, for ghosting applicants when it comes to rejection messaging.

Randi Renee Shuck
5. Know what NOT to do with third-party job boards.

And last but not least, knowing what not to do when pushing your job listings to external job boards can be as important as knowing what to do. Job boards will often provide blogs or newsletters on how to operate most efficiently within their own platform. Because Indeed is typically one of the more popular websites for job seekers to search job openings, it’s critical to understand how its job content quality control process may impact the visibility of the job listings you share with Indeed.  To see if you may be excluding your jobs from Indeed inadvertently, review our tip sheet: How to Exclude a Job From Posting to Indeed.

 


Don’t fall into the trap of placing all of your eggs into one basket when it comes to creating visibility for your employer’s career opportunities. As I’ve discussed here, you have many avenues for creating awareness for the positions available within your organization–it just takes some attention to detail to make these tools work in your favor.

Need help strategizing on how to increase applicant flow for your company? We are dedicated to helping you utilize our ExactHire ATS to provide you with more AND better candidate results. Change doesn’t always come easy, but having the right team in place can certainly make it more pleasant. Let us know how we can help!

Release Notes: Tracking Job Application Abandonment and Improving User Experience

Release Notes: Interview Scheduling, Custom Tags, Job Previews and Maps Integration

How to Effortlessly Use Texting to Hire Hourly Workers

You only have to look at your smartphone’s weekly screen time report to know that the amount of time we spend accessing our phones is increasing at a relentless pace. Whether our pervasive mobile usage troubles or encourages you, it is undeniable. In fact, according to research done by Hitwise, the average device split for searches was 72% for mobile and 28% for desktop in 2017.

In consideration of the amount of time people spend doing web searches on phones, naturally we’re in a climate where employers must adapt and leverage mobile communication in their hiring process–particularly while unemployment is at an epic low.

Today, the name of the hiring game is speed, and this is painfully realized in industries that employ a large number of hourly, non-exempt workers. The reality of those employers is that if they hesitate to respond quickly, the competitor across the street has already paid their would-be new hire for their first shift.

Signs that you’re not effectively using a text recruiting strategy

We can and should all continuously experiment with and tweak our hiring processes. The hiring landscape changes so quickly that constant attention is required. However, there are telltale signs that help identify when your organization has a more significant mobile communication problem.

Phone ghosting

I was initially surprised a couple of years ago when I heard that many employers of hourly workers, in particular, struggled to get candidates to respond to phone invitations for an initial interview. If your recruiters are frequently encountering full voice mail boxes when reaching out to schedule a conversation; or they discover that a candidate doesn’t even have voice mail set up, then it’s time to try something other than a phone call.

Candidate shelf-life

It’s not uncommon for employers who rely on large numbers of hourly workers to empower the managers and assistant managers of various store locations to screen candidates and invite them to proceed in the hiring process. Because hiring is just one of myriad operational responsibilities for these managers, they don’t always respond to candidates as quickly as may be necessary in this job market.

This failure in prompt candidate engagement all too often sinks a retail location’s recruiting efforts before the ship even leaves port. Or, maybe a manager is in such tremendous need of candidates that he recognizes this deficiency and immediately calls or emails new applicants. However, because many hourly workers tend to fill positions that aren’t necessarily accompanied by a desktop computer or an office landline, their tendency is to communicate via text rather than voice mail or email.

If a job seeker doesn’t recognize a general manager’s incoming phone number, chances are she’ll avoid taking the call–meanwhile, if she has applied to multiple hourly positions, a savvy competitor is grabbing her attention and her time via text before she checks her inbox.

Standardizing communication and respecting candidate privacy

In the absence of a strong hiring software platform that allows managers to contact job candidates via text message, many managers of hourly workers will resort to their own smartphone to contact applicants to connect for an interview.

This is commonplace; however, it isn’t in the best interest of the employer. In many cases, these applicants were not prompted to opt-in to receiving text messages during the job application process–why would they if the applicant tracking system didn’t support text messaging?

Not only is this a privacy concern as it does not allow job candidates to formally opt-out of text messages once they are initiated, but practically speaking, candidates won’t necessarily be on the lookout for text communication from your organization.

Arguably, they will probably quickly adapt given that texting is second nature to many of them, but your organization is missing an opportunity to set expectations about the hiring process and endear itself to candidates…candidates who are in hot demand.

Moreover, when general managers take texting candidates into their own hands outside of an ATS, there is no guarantee of adequate communication documentation with the job applicant. By utilizing applicant tracking software that includes in-application texting functionality, an employer is ensuring that multiple users of the system have access to review communication between candidates.

After all, in this highly competitive recruiting landscape, recruiters have full plates and may be called to work on different job requisitions if a co-worker is on vacation, on leave, etc. What you don’t want is for only one person in your organization to have access to candidate conversations–that’s a significant obstacle for a scaling company.

Why is mobile recruiting an opportunity for hourly jobs in particular?

Hourly workers are often the front-line defense (or offense) for your organization. They are the individuals who are most likely to interact directly with your customers. And, unfortunately, they are often in the positions with the highest turnover–whether that is related to the nature of the job, the typical lower pay (relative to exempt positions), and/or the lack of benefits (at least in the case of part-time hourly employees). In a job market flooded with open positions, candidates will leave for a few cents more per hour.

You see this happen in positions like

  • hosts and servers at your local restaurant,
  • cashiers at your retail store,
  • LPNs at your healthcare facility,
  • service techs at your automotive dealership, and
  • direct support professionals (DSPs) for nonprofits.

People who fill these types of positions tend to be on the go (i.e. not doing a desk job) and may have more than one part-time job at a time. They don’t get into email or voice mail as frequently (if at all), and so they need fewer barriers to communication when it comes to job consideration, as well as long-term engagement with an employer.

Considering that over 58% of America’s working population fills hourly positions (BLS, 2017), there’s real opportunity to leverage texting to be the first to attract and engage hourly job candidates. I’m offering the following steps to help you position your organization as an earlier adopter of the mobile recruiting revolution.

6 steps to successfully use texting to hire hourly workers

1 – Create communication efficiency

Use pre-built text message templates within your applicant tracking system. Create and label them for different stages in the selection process for hourly workers. This saves store managers time when they need to hire three new retail associates–“yesterday!”

2 – Model the right texting behavior

Train your hiring managers on appropriate texting etiquette for your recruiting process. Does the language they use and the tone they convey support your overall employment brand? Additionally, make sure they understand how text messages will show up to the job candidate.

An easy way to accomplish this is to test the messaging feature from within a sample job application. Then, take a screenshot of how it appears to a recipient on your phone and share it with managers. This step will help them understand from what number(s) messages may originate, whether the sender’s name, job title and/or organization name are referenced, and how much of the message will appear on the preview screen before being cut off.

3 – Lightning fast speed

Use text to reply promptly to candidates once they’ve responded to your initial outreach. Don’t make the mistake of resting on your laurels once you have native texting functionality and take your sweet time to reply–jump on message responses!

Remember: texting affords job candidates fewer communication barriers to entry, so they expect organizations to respond quickly, too.

4 – Strategically plan text content

You should absolutely use text to reach all types of job candidates to screen and schedule interviews. However, text messages also present an opportunity–when used thoughtfully and selectively–to reach candidates who are on the fence about joining your organization.

Consider the potential impact of a personalized message sharing a link to a positive article about your company. Or, the likelihood that a hired candidate will end up ghosting you during the pre-boarding phase if you regularly connect with him to prepare him for his first shift.

5 – Flip the script on thank you notes

Use text messages to thank a job candidate for her time and preparation after you conduct an interview. That’s right–once upon a time, we expected job candidates to thank recruiters and hiring managers for their time in order to help them secure an offer–but times are changing!

Thank you notes are still an amazing gesture on the part of a job candidate, but they are no longer a mainstay for job offer consideration in today’s job market given the sorry state of many employers’ candidate pipelines.

Today is about sourcing, not screening. Break through the clutter by proactively thanking candidates with a simple text message and humanize your hiring process.

6 – Hiring process visualization

When candidates know what to expect from the hiring process it

  • helps them visualize how they see themselves interacting with your organization,
  • may allow them to more adequately prepare, and
  • it makes it easier for them to say “yes” when you make the job offer.

You can use text to quickly outline the various hiring process steps at the onset of the recruiting process. Think of this step as reducing friction for distracted job seekers who probably have many options before them. If you can grease their understanding runway regarding your job opportunity–and you can do so quickly–you’ll be the employer who is poaching job candidates from competitors across the street.

Mobile recruiting facilitated by text message communication is here to stay. Armed with the steps outlined above, you’re on the way to engaging the job seekers in your hourly job candidate pipeline and positively impacting your employer’s bottom line.

ExactHire Hiring Software | Text Recruiting

Release Notes: Sticky Apply, Job Management, Application Edit Tools and Reporting Customization

Audit Your Recruitment Process Marketing Content to Delight Job Seekers

Use this audit checklist to evaluate and improve the effectiveness of your recruiting process-related content.

I’m not the first one to say that recruiters, human resources professionals and marketing specialists should team up to create content that engages top talent in your recruitment process. However, how many of you have actively engaged in measuring the impact of that HR/marketing “bestie” partnership?

If you don’t have a benchmark from which to grow, your organization will have a tough time figuring out which recruiting content is worth the investment of time and money.

Maximize the effectiveness of your recruiting content with a periodic audit of your hiring process-related promotional assets. Establishing KPIs for content will make it easy to quickly identify existing content gems, as well as guide you in developing additional content that will resonate.

Auditing your recruitment content is as easy as 1-2-3

Let’s examine the audit process and recap with a free recruitment process marketing content scorecard.

1 – Determine your recruitment content audit’s focus

You can’t decide if you’re investing your time and resources to produce recruitment content wisely until you settle on the scope of your audit.

Don’t sweat it if you can’t tackle a comprehensive audit in your first attempt. If you can–great–though it will depend on your recruiting volume and what you’ve previously tackled in terms of content analysis.

It’s okay to segment an otherwise comprehensive audit into smaller sub-audits–just have an overall plan in place for which audit type should be attempted first.

Potential content audit focuses:

  • Employment brand quality: consider whether your recruitment content is well written, and whether it aligns with what you’ve defined as your organizational employment brand.
  • Hiring process stage: analyze whether a specific hiring process stage is addressed in each of your content assets, and if job seeker questions characteristic of that stage are answered by the content.
  • Job board optimization and search engine optimization (SEO): review your job listing rankings on third party job boards and recruitment content performance on external search engines to identify improvements that will create better digital awareness for your employment opportunities.
  • Content compliance: examine whether your content meets any industry- and/or government-related compliance requirements for your organization, including an analysis of your career content’s ability to attract a diverse set of job candidates.

2 – Settle on your audit evaluation factors

Your recruiting content evaluation process will be based on the type of audit you select. The audit factors must be easily measurable and align to your project scope.

Because this audit is a wonderful opportunity to connect the human resources and marketing teams in your company, ask the project champions from each of those departments to determine the ideal recruiting content audit criteria.

If we select a hiring process stage audit as an example, then HR and marketing might jointly evaluate factors like the content’s

  • alignment with overall employment brand,
  • specific hiring stage focus (e.g. awareness, consideration, conversion, retention and advocacy),
  • attempt to answer stage-appropriate job seeker questions,
  • call-to-action for the next step in the hiring process,
  • current distribution and promotion method by stage type, and
  • likelihood of being easily utilized by hiring stage stakeholders

As you prepare for an audit, you should also plan your intended project deliverables. Aside from a quantitative score for each recruitment content asset, deliverables can include other action steps to enhance content quality.

Potential hiring process stage content audit deliverables:

  • Documentation of all current content assets by hiring stage
  • Content gap analysis for certain hiring process stages
  • List of questions that individual content assets should answer at each hiring process stage
  • Action steps for your content library – content to retain, revise, create or expire
  • Template for creating content for each hiring process stage
  • Distribution strategy for each asset based on hiring process stage and content type (e.g. owned media such as your own career site, earned media such as a guest blog placement on an industry website, or paid media such as a sponsored job listing on a job board)

3 – Rank your recruiting process content

After you’ve married the appropriate content criteria with each asset, you’re ready to score your recruitment process content!

Please recognize that some things can be quantitatively evaluated (e.g. how many out of X job seeker questions are answered?) while others are subjective (e.g. does the narrative’s language support our employment brand initiatives?).

Now’s your chance to create your own evaluation form to standardize your existing and future recruitment content.

Need some help designing your employer’s scoring process? ExactHire created this recruitment process content scorecard to help you hit the ground running.

 

ExactHire Recruitment Process Content Scorecard

Recommendations that resonate

Your audit data is chock full of ideas on where you can start making an immediate impact on your recruitment process marketing. Best of all, it’s backed by a standardized content scorecard.

Use your scorecard analysis to spot trends. Does one aspect of your hiring process consistently fall short? Could others help implement some of the action steps due to their expertise in one stage of the process?

Backed by your audit data, you’re on your way to constructing a high-level recruitment process content strategy that will reinforce your employment brand and help convert more new hires.

Release Notes: Application Self-Service, Emerging Reporting Functionality and Robust Role Permissions for Users

9 Employer Strategies That Limit Ghosting

Even if you haven’t already heard the term employee “ghosting,” odds are you have still experienced the workplace trend. What is ghosting and why is it more relevant to your organization than ever?

From existing employees failing to show up for work and disappearing without a trace…to job seekers reneging on an accepted offer when a better one comes in last minute–ghosting occurs when someone you are counting on fails to appear and doesn’t give you any notice.

Why is this trend emerging now? Contributing factors may include a labor shortage, a tight job market, and younger generations’ popular preference for electronic correspondence over face-to-face conflict resolution. Not surprisingly, ghosting affects industries with a large number of hourly workers, but it’s also impacting the white collar worlds of technology firms, business services and healthcare.

Here are nine strategies to help scare off the ghosting trend in your workplace.

1 – Follow the Golden Rule

This is simple, yet worth restating with some regularity nonetheless. I frequently find myself telling my kids to “treat people the way you’d want to be treated.” And, the same goes for employees and applicants. Keep them informed, treat them with respect and be kind. For a long time, many employers got away with ghosting job seekers and interviewees, failing to respond to the messages of final stage candidates or even completely neglecting to decline them at the end of a hiring process.

Make sure your own recruiting tactics don’t include ghosting tendencies…turnabout is fair play! Recruiters can’t get away with the same bad behavior they may have had when unemployment wasn’t at the low that it is right now.

2 – Strategize the counteroffer

Considering that one of the insidious forms in which ghosting takes shape is that the employee doesn’t show up on his first day, you must anticipate job candidates receiving competitive offers–including a counteroffer from an existing employer.

Plan a strategy session with a newly hired employee at the time he accepts the offer and talk through various scenarios. Encourage him to brainstorm with you how he might fend off a counteroffer. Remind him to consider why he originally looked elsewhere and provide a template the candidate may follow to talk through his resignation with an existing employer.

3 – Leverage text recruiting

Since applicants (like the general population) rely on smartphones to screen their calls, in the age of spam robo-callers it is less likely that they will pick up the phone when you call them for the first time to schedule an interview. In my product research calls over the last year, many employers explained that job seekers they try to contact frequently don’t even have their voice mail box set up–or if they do, it’s full.

Make sure your hiring software includes the ability to text with candidates, and more importantly, ensure that incoming text message notifications to your job seekers adequately identify your organization, related job and recruiter name.

4 – Over-communicate with job candidates

Obsess about the communication piece of your employment brand. Counteract a potential eventual lack of communication on the candidate’s part with meticulous communication from the employer throughout the selection process. Job seekers will feel more informed and more engaged to reciprocate communication if they sense the opportunity may not work for them. Here are some specific communication tactics:

  • Set expectations about what the hiring process involves at the very beginning of the process (e.g. number of stages, requirements of each stage, duration of process, etc.).
  • Send updates to job seekers when target dates for various stages get delayed.
  • Invite candidates to share feedback about your process at different steps along the way–whether they are selected for the position or not.
  • Stay connected with silver medal candidates for future consideration. They are a great back-up if the gold medalist ghosts you, and more likely to come through for you in the next position if you keep them engaged in your pipeline through thoughtful messaging.

5 – Be transparent with those who refer candidates

Follow-up with referrers of candidates to thank them for their employee referral, and acknowledge your appreciation for the referral with the job candidate, too. This personal reminder puts pressure on the referred candidate not to let her friend down by ghosting the employer and risk damaging her reputation.

Not only does this practice help mitigate ghosting, but it also increases the likelihood that your existing employees will continue to refer you qualified candidates in the future. Remember–don’t ghost your own employees about referral outcomes when they take time to make a recommendation to you!

6 – Preview the employee onboarding experience

Create content that provides a thorough overview of your employee onboarding process to potential hires. This helps prevent the cognitive dissonance that they may otherwise feel about accepting an offer. If they’re excited about what to expect in their first year, then they’re much more likely to show up on their first day.

Additionally, give final stage interviewees a sneak peak into the employee experience by inviting them to do a job shadow before extending an offer. This simulation illustrates what it’s really like to work for your organization, and encourages candidates to self-select out of the process before you get to the ghosting let-down.

7 – Become a pre-boarding pro

Don’t go radio silent during the all too important pre-boarding process–that time between the accepted employment offer and the start date. This may last from a few hours to a few weeks depending on your organization and job category, but think about how to keep new hires feeling connected during this time.

Reflect on your culture and plan touch points with the new hire that make them feel welcomed to the team. Text a group photo, invite them to lunch before the start date and/or send them a swag bag at home. Ask the new hire to complete a “get to know you” sheet during pre-boarding, and then share info sheets about other employees with the new hire prior to the first day, too. This helps the new hire start to feel like a part of the team before the first day–which will make it harder to abandon the team without explanation.

8 – Flaunt your best attributes

Know your market and then understand which aspects of your compensation and benefits package and/or work schedule are highly attractive. While it is natural to highlight these attributes in detail in an employment offer, it’s a good idea to remind existing employees, too.

To help prevent employees from leaving unexpectedly for greener pastures, create a detailed total rewards summary and discuss it annually with workers to differentiate your unique value proposition from competitors. Make sure the summary highlights any continuous education opportunities, especially, so that employees not only understand their existing assets, but also their potential to improve their knowledge.

9 – Proactively thank candidates

Once upon a time, recruiters gave an edge to the candidates who sent the first thank you message (assuming all else was equal). However, today recruiters who don’t wait around, but rather proactively thank candidates following an interview are less likely to be ghosted. This follow-up is also a trigger for the organization to touch base with job seekers about timing for next steps in the process. And, as we learned in tip #4 above, over communication is a best practice.

It is unlikely that you will completely prevent ghosting despite your attentive efforts; however, the aforementioned tips are a proactive start in dramatically reducing its impact on your company.

 

Release Notes: Multi-Job Apply, Application Jump Start, Repeat Job Apply and Never Hire Status