“I Wish I Had More Job Applicants” – 4 Solutions To This Common Hiring Problem
According to SHRM’s most recent Talent Acquisition Benchmarking Report, 26% of any given company’s annual separations are among employees in their first year with the company, which essentially means that more than a quarter of your newest hires are likely going to leave your company before even a year goes by.
While this is an important fact to know for companies wanting to work on employee retention, it’s also a prime example of the consequences of an ineffective hiring strategy that doesn’t attract enough qualified applicants to your company. Because when your hiring strategy isn’t able to attract the right candidates for your company, you likely find yourself hiring out of urgency or leaving roles open indefinitely (meanwhile the workload is simply left to current team members to “deal with”); both outcomes are likely to contribute significantly to that high average turnover in the first year.
Not having enough qualified job applicants has even further impact: the same SHRM report indicates that it takes 36 days on average to fill an open position and average cost of $4,425 to hire, which means that the longer your company goes without having qualified job applicants coming in the door, the more time and money you’re burning in hiring costs.
So, if your company has been actively trying to fill open roles and all the while you’ve been thinking to yourself “I wish I had more job applicants”… here are 4 solid solutions to try out:
1. Post your jobs at prime times
You might not be able to choose the month in which you post your new job openings, but keep in mind that jobs posted in January are much more likely to elicit applicants than jobs posted the rest of the year (Workopolis). The same study found that jobs posted on Mondays tend to get 15% more views and 20% more applicants than jobs posted any other day of the week. With this knowledge at your disposal, post your jobs when candidates are more likely to see them, if you have the option to do that.
Additionally, after just three days on major job boards, your posts will get 45% fewer applicants on average. By reposting often and keeping the job opening “fresh” you can increase your number of applicants (but you’ll also have to invest a little more when posting on paid boards, so be sure to think about how this affects your budget).
2. Strive for more with your employer brand
Most (84%) of applicants say that a company’s employer brand is one of the things they take into consideration when making decisions about employment. These best practices can help you stay on top of your employer brand:
- Invest in your company culture; keep a pulse on it by measuring employee engagement in real time and then using the information you receive to continually improve as an employer
- Conduct stay interviews and exit interviews to find out why people stay with your company and what drives them to leave
- Claim your company profiles on employer review platforms, monitor feedback and do your best to respond to all reviews thoughtfully and graciously (and without getting over-defensive to negative ones)
- Include the marketing department in your employer branding efforts to ensure consistent messaging
3. Implement a great employee referral program
Here’s some food for thought on referral programs and why they’re such a great hiring tactic: employee referrals typically lead to better quality candidates because they’ve been vetted by one of your own team members, it fosters more engagement all around (from the referrer AND the referred candidate), you’ll likely have a smoother experience with new hire onboarding if they end up joining your company, and last but not least, you’ll also save time (time-to-hire) and the money (costs of running job ads, recruiter fees, etc.).
Having a formalized referral program in place that rewards your employees for bringing in solid candidates is basically a win-win-win situation, so get yours up and running to start gaining yourself some more qualified applicants.
Note that while most employers offer a cash incentive ranging from $1,000 up to even $10,000 for more senior or hard-to-fill roles, you can be creative with your program, offering cash or gifts, paid time off, points, recognition, or other incentives.
4. Give your job ads a facelift
Take a look at your job ads. Do they stand out from similar position listings? Are they straightforward, yet interesting enough to get a job candidate “hooked” and interested in your opportunity? This matters, because it’s your job ads – not your career page, website, or other online property – that typically makes up the first real impression most job seekers have of your company (unless you’re a known brand or they’ve gotten to know your company in some other context).
Consider these updates to your job ads if you think they could use some work:
- Refresh your language to be more personal and unique so as to better reflect your company culture and attract (and even entertain) the right candidate.
- Add details about both the future of the company and the future of the position, including advancement opportunities
- Include a better overview of your company and it’s history (not just your basic, overused boilerplate description), while highlighting any awards or accomplishments
- Link out to helpful third-party sources such as your employee reviews or recent awards, as candidates will already be on the lookout for third-party opinions to help their decision
- Share the noteworthy amenities of the neighborhood where the position is located
Those are just a few examples.
Your end goal is to get your job ads to a point where they put your company and the current opportunity in the best light possible, while also being authentic. They should also make the decision process easy for the right candidates by being straightforward about expectations and answering all of the common concerns they typically have about a new role they’re pursuing.