Filling an open role is stressful enough. Between finding coverage of the responsibilities for the role and also finding time to interview candidates, the search can become its own full time job. Recruiterbox estimates it takes a full 38 hours dedicated to a candidate search from job posting to signing contracts - and that’s only if you hire the first person you decide to interview! To top it off, how many hours could be wasted if your job posting doesn’t turn up any qualified applicants? Without qualified candidates, you could be spending that 38 hours per candidate in a search lasting anywhere between 4 days and 4 months! Based on knowledge gained through Blue Signal’s combined 120 years of experience in recruiting, here are some of the top reasons why your postings aren’t getting the right applicants.
The Bad and the Ugly - Formatting
This seems like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised by the sight of the other end of your job posting. It’s not your fault! Each job posting site has its own algorithm and tables that can all affect your formatting in wacky ways after you click that submit button. Monster explains it best in their support article, citing hidden information and extra code carried over from your word processor as the culprit. To summarize,
Google your own role and check to make sure it’s not only appearing high for SEO rankings, but also to confirm that your job description formatting is clean and easy to read in every format from search page result to mobile device. If your margins have gone awry, correct it. Applicants will not apply to roles that look like they were posted by internet bots. Worse yet, you don’t want to give off a bad first impression by representing your brand with something haphazardly copied and pasted into a block of hard to process text. Make sure you are representing yourself fairly and start with a formatting check!
Losing Interest with Lengthy Application Processes
It’s true. This generation of job seekers has a shortened attention span, especially when multiple listings that all look and feel the same are all competing for their attention at the same time. Even if by chance a candidate reads your job description and decides to apply, you are probably losing several good leads if your application process is too lengthy. Especially when it comes to passive talent.
When you think of your dream candidate, are they unemployed today? Probably not. Which means they have full-time jobs, personal lives, and all sorts of responsibilities that occupy their time. If they start your application process and it becomes too tedious of a task, chances are they are probably going to back out with the rationalization that this prospect is not worth their time. An Appcast study found that companies can boost their application completion rate by up to 365% by merely reducing the length of the application process to 5 minutes or less.
If you aren’t sure how your application process compares, LinkedIn suggests taking yourself through your own application process to test it out. Gain some insight on how your interface looks, what bugs it might have, and what impression it gives from the applicants point of view. Remember that the application process is made to gain information on a candidate, not test their patience. Keep the application process focused on ease of communication - for both parties.
Leaving Too Much - or Too Little - to the Imagination: A Bad JD
When you are reviewing applications, what stands out to you the most? Strong qualifications, or completed tables with candidate information parsed in? You probably appreciate succinct resumes more than long-winded cover letters that cover someone’s origin story in the industry. Make sure that your job description and application process fit your needs as a hiring manager, and don’t distract from the real messaging that your job description should be sending.
While you want the job description to be accurate to the role, you should consider this process from the perspective of the applicant. Imagine applying the “Golden Rule” to writing and posting job ads. You don’t want to waste your time reading blocks of self explanatory text - and neither do candidates. You like personalized cover letters and applications that target your company, not just the job function - just as candidates love personalized job postings that highlight company-specifics, like culture. Make sure that whatever you post is descriptive yet brief. Hubspot’s research delving into recruitment media found that job descriptions with 300-800 words performed best, with an 8-9% apply rate. Similarly, shorter job titles led to better apply rates, with the highest number of applicants for roles with titles only 1-3 words long.
Lacking in the Sizzle Department - Marketing Yourself as an Employer
On the flip side, using short, bland job descriptions doesn’t seem to be in your favor either. In Blue Signal’s experience, “blanket” JDs have done more harm than good. One of the best ways to get the attention of a potential candidate is by marketing your company well in your job postings, not just the job itself. Hubspot found a direct correlation between apply rate and the number of benefits listed on a job description.
When we say benefits - we don’t just mean pay rate, 401(K) matching, and free office coffee. Applicants want to hear about what innovative technology your company is developing, what the team culture is like, and what their career progression could look like beyond the role at hand. When posting a job ad, you must go beyond skill requirements and daily duties and really touch on the reason why people end up loving their jobs - the sizzle. If your company has casual Fridays or all-office lunches, mention that. If this role is open because the person that was in it before was promoted, that’s great material too!
Of course, applicants might work past your posting to look into your company’s website and your Glassdoor reviews, but not if they aren’t instantly compelled by the job description. Think about it from the candidate’s perspective. For example, there might be several companies looking for Network Engineers, but what is so special about your company? Why you and not the competition? What makes you shine as a manager? How is your company on the cutting edge of this industry? Just as you would sell yourself to a potential customer, you have to work to sell yourself to a potential employee. Talk about career growth, the culture of the team, the incredible people they can learn from. Focus on the sizzle of the role and you will gain the attention of the candidates that want to be there for the right reasons.
Taking on the responsibility of hiring is a high-pressure position to be in. If you hire the wrong person, you are losing money. If you don’t hire the right person quick enough, you still lose money. There is a lot of trial and error involved in the process from screening candidates to interviewing. Starting with posting a job advertisement - you’re setting the tone for the entire hiring process. To get the right candidate for the job, you need to think like that candidate and gear your posting toward what they want from their next gig. Take it from us - this is an applicant driven job market. If you think you would benefit from having a partner in the process, whose entire 9-5 revolves around finding you that perfect hire, contact Blue Signal today.