Are You Accidentally Discouraging Applicants?

In part 1 of this article, we noted that employers are having a difficult time getting enough qualified applicants for all of their open roles. We started to explore some of the reasons why there are fewer applicants. For example, we noted that a lot of people who are of working age are not participating in the workforce. We also noted that there are a lot of things employers do that inadvertently discourage applications. Let’s take a look at a few more ways employers may be inadvertently discouraging applications:

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  • The application and recruitment process itself may shoulder some of the blame. For example:
    • Applicants today are more likely to have options and less likely to wait around for answers or for an offer that takes a long time to hash out.
    • Quick and efficient (yet clear and thorough) communication is more critical than ever before. If applicants don’t understand expectations and next steps, they’re more likely to just walk away.
    • The process should be utterly simple. If the application seems too complex, the applicant may simply decide it’s not worth the time to even try when there are so many other options out there today. If the online app has any glitches or if it requires too much time or too much information too early, these can all be discouraging enough to lose applicants.
  • Employers may also be missing out on fully utilizing internal talent when roles become available. This can mean those employees leave and also can mean the organization has difficulty filling higher roles because lower-level individuals leave before they grow into new positions. Training and employee development programs can be a first step in addressing this.
  • Some would-be applicants need to be actively recruited. Passive candidates are out there, but many organizations aren’t accustomed to having to find and encourage someone to apply. This can take an entirely new perspective and new recruiting skill set.
  • With tightening visa policies, which limit the number of foreign workers, employers that previously relied on this talent may be feeling a shortage. This also has cascading effects on other employers, as these employers that previously hired foreign workers are now hiring local workers who are then not available in the other jobs they would have taken.

What has been your experience? Are you seeing a significant change in the number and quality of applicants in recent months? What other reasons for this are notable in your area?

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