How to Get More Applicants

As the job market tightens up, employers are looking for ways to attract more candidates to be sure they have a good group of applicants to choose from in any given vacancy. But more and more, employers are finding that jobs are attracting fewer applicants than before, simply because there are fewer jobseekers out there right now. So, how can an organization tip the scales and get more job applicants for a given role?

Let’s take a look at some ideas:

  • Look for new places to post jobs. For example, are you posting only on the larger job boards? If so, you may benefit from seeking out smaller, industry-specific places (if applicable) or vice versa. If your job requires a university degree, consider partnering with nearby universities that can provide information about job openings to students.
  • Assess your application process. Be sure it’s easy and straightforward. For example:
    • There should not be too many steps. If there are, consider moving some parts of the application to later in the hiring process to be sure not to frustrate applicants before they’ve even completed the initial stages. Applicants don’t want to jump through an inordinate number of hoops just to be considered for an interview.
    • It should function properly from all relevant platforms and devices. If someone in the organization has not tested this, now is the time.
    • Consider adding instructions and help screens to the online version of the application. Or, consider having help staff available to chat to answer applicant questions (assuming the organization is large enough to warrant this).
  • Set up an employee referral program. Your employees can be a great source of potential new employees. After all, they likely already know other people in your industry and often will have friends (or others in their network) who have great skills. By having an employee referral program, you can encourage your employees to promote your job openings to the people they already know who are qualified—people who may not have otherwise even seen the job.
  • Expand geographic reach of the job posting. Consider posting outside the local area. Note, however, that the organization has to be ready to back this by either offering relocation assistance for those who apply or by allowing remote work so that the applicants don’t have to move. Either way, be clear in the job post whether the job will be home-based or whether the applicant will be expected to move upon accepting the job offer.
  • Consider using paid promotional tools on the sites you already use to post jobs. This usually means your job listing will be shown more often and/or more prominently—or it could mean it’s targeted more specifically to users of the site who may have the qualifications you’re seeking. Any way around it, promoting the listing can get it in front of more eyes.
  • List the salary range on the job posting. This simple act can let potential applicants know they’re not wasting their time applying for a job that will not pay enough for their needs. It can mean that someone who was on the fence will now apply. It could also mean you show up in more search results for people who search by salary. Conversely, it could mean that some people won’t apply (assuming the range is lower than they require), but that’s also a positive outcome because you’ll waste less time interviewing people who ultimately would not accept the offer. When opting to do this, be sure to take the time to research the salary and ensure it’s competitive, appropriate for the market, and internally consistent.
  • Take a critical look at the job posting from a candidate perspective, and make changes if needed. How does it read? Does it offer a clear picture of what the job entails, what the organization is like, and what qualifications are required of the applicant? Does it use language that might be a turnoff for some applicants? Does it read in a way that is enticing for a prospective employee (rather than only listing things from the employer perspective)?
  • Don’t forget passive candidates. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people who are not actively job-seeking. There may be people you know would be a great fit for the role, but they’re not currently looking—but that doesn’t mean you can’t send them a message as a “nudge” to consider applying.
  • Nurture the talent pipeline. If you’ve already got a system in place to stay in touch with prospective employees (such as former applicants or those who have expressed an interest in the organization), this is a great place to push job postings and selectively target individuals who may be well-suited for specific roles.
  • Ensure your job posting is searchable. Applicants are often using online tools to search for jobs—and your listing will only be found if it contains the search terms most applicants would expect to see for that type of job. So, if your organization uses unique titles, for example, consider using the more general (read: recognizable and likely to be searched) title in the job post anyway so that it can be found in search results. Ensure that the post itself has the expected keywords, as well.
  • Consider reposting a job often. Job boards often list jobs by the date they were posted, which means your job post will quickly fall to the bottom of the pile. If you repost it, it may show up earlier in search results.
  • Be sure your own website has a career section and is up to date. Many applicants will see a job post and come directly to your site to get more information—be sure it’s there and easy to find. Prospective applicants should be able to easily see open jobs and see what the company culture may be like from the organization’s website and social media presence.

What other actions has your organization taken to ensure your job listings get more attention? What would you add to this list?

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