We hear this “how do I get more applicants?” question, or something similar, often. The problem with answering this question is the variety of answers we could produce. This question is in reference to a symptom and not a problem. We first must identify what the problem is – WHY are you not getting applicants? This question can still produce a wide array of answers.
Identify the Problem
Take a few minutes to ask yourself some specific questions to help identify where you think the problem may lie.
How well is the job listing written?
- Are you first posting with a description of the company and then the job description? Often applicants will see a preview of the first few lines and make a judgement call from that. Begin your job listing with the position description.
- Are there keywords within your job listing? Are the keywords standard “lingo” within the industry? This will help you get more visibility and higher credibility. Have you entered keywords into the job board push area? This can help.
- Is the length of your job listing over- or under-whelming? Length can be a balancing act. Certain positions and the employees who would fit perfectly into those positions would prefer succinct bulleted communications and others would need more descriptive, in-depth communications.
Where are you marketing the job listing?
- We will assume you are posting your job on your own company website, but if you are not, call us and we can discuss the benefits of applicant tracking software (ATS) that you can link to your website.
- State workforce sites (unemployment offices) have job boards with quite a bit of traffic. Take advantage of this pool of applicants by getting your job in front of them.
- Are you using your company’s social media presence? And your own? And your employees’? Social media can go viral in the blink of an eye. Before you know it, your job listing could have been seen by thousands of people. Think Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.
- Do you have a referral program in place? If there is an incentive, employees are more likely to share the job. Our HireCentric applicant tracking system makes it easy for applicants to name a referring employee during the application process.
What does the general public think about your company and/or the job?
- The most difficult item to measure is what the public thinks of your company or the job in general. Try your best to highlight the truth and positives about the company and/or job.
Do Not Confuse Views With Potential Applicants
One thing you may initially find confusing or misleading are the amount of viewers for a particular job listing and the number of started applications. Your focus should be on 1) increasing the number of completed applications to more closely align with the number of started applications; and, 2) increasing the number of started applications.
I think things are easier to understand when we talk about them in situational terms. Pretend you are an applicant and you have found a job listing to which you might be interested in applying. You may send it to your partner and ask for his/her opinion. Maybe you send it to a friend, mentor, reference, etc. as well. Boom! That job listing has now had FIVE views and no applicants. This is why you should be cautious about putting too much emphasis solely on the number of views.
Morphing Viewers into Applicants
With the above pretend applicant who sent the job listing out to others for opinions, we still want to get this original “applicant” to go from viewer to applicant. There are a few different ways to encourage this behavior.
- Turn on the “Apply On Job Listing” feature. This would at least get the person into your database as a started applicant even if he/she hasn’t completed the entire application yet. This would allow you to nudge him/her into completing the application.
- Try using a two-step application where the first step asks the most critical pieces of information that you would need in order to take another step with an applicant. This allows the applicant to quickly maneuver through the application submission process.
Trial and Error and Time
Try implementing some of the above suggestions and see what type of impact this makes over a few weeks. Give the changes enough time to produce results. Some of these suggestions may work for certain industries and not others. Often it’s the tiniest changes that make the biggest impact.