Where have cowboys gone | ExactHire

Where Have All the Applicants Gone?

At ExactHire, sometimes we hear the question, “Where are all of the applicants?” Instantly, my mind starts singing the Paula Cole song… “Where is my John Wayne? Where is my prairie son? Where is my happy ending? Where have all the cowboys gone?” I imagine I’m on the set of Glee, only I keep the music inside my head instead of breaking out in song and dance here in the office.

Regardless of my song choice, the question is valid. Why do I not have as many applicants as I think I should?

Have you filled out your own application?

  • Did you think it was overwhelming to complete your application?
  • Did you get caught up anywhere while attempting to fill out your own application?
  • Which questions were you unable to answer quickly?

Comb through your application as an applicant would and consider whether all the questions being asked are really necessary. I recommend that current/past supervisor email and phone number fields be left off of the application along with the address of the company in the employment history section. If you’re requesting the general phone number of the company, you can gather the remaining information quickly and easily.

The analytics area of your applicant tracking system (ATS) should reveal how much time applicants are spending on your employment application. Monitoring this indicator can help you make informed decisions on whether you might consider shortening your existing application, or using the two-step application feature for some hard-to-fill job openings. Your ATS analytical tools can also reveal how many of your career site visitors are “bouncing” off your job listing description pages before accessing the application. That piece of information can help you determine if the content and length of your job listing pages are appropriate, as well.

What kind of instructions do you give applicants?

The instructions areas on our applicant tracking software are editable. It may make sense to explicitly tell the applicant, for example, that one cannot submit the application until all sections are complete, and that once submitted, the applicant will see an on-screen confirmation message and receive a confirmation email.

Did you follow up with those who only partially completed the application?

Life is busy. Applicants are looking to make job changes while currently holding a job as well as keeping personal obligations in line. Sometimes applicants need a little nudge. With our HireCentric ATS, we can enable a feature that sends an automatic email reminder to applicants “x” amount of days before the job expiration date. Or, you may run a report and follow up with the applicants individually, if preferred.

It’s you, not me.

  1. Is it possible that the barrier is actually you and not the applicant?
  2. Where are you advertising your jobs?
  3. Is your job listing a description of the job and duties; or, is it an advertisement selling the applicant on the job?

Let your creative juices flow. Is your classification/category for the job related to the position or to your company? If one classification isn’t working, try another. Imagine yourself as the applicant. If you were hunting for a job like this, what path would you take to find it, and what would catch your eye?

I’m of the opinion that the best things don’t just magically land in your lap. There are always circumstances that can be modified.

Interested in technology to improve your employment application process? Contact ExactHire to schedule a live demo of the HireCentric applicant tracking system.

Image credit: cowboy by Christophe (contact)

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