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Get More Qualified Job Applicants With These 5 Tips

Dive In
  • Writer's pictureElizabeth Bromstein

A big complaint of hiring managers is that candidates don’t meet requirements. Use these tips to get more qualified job applicants.

It’s hard to find good help these days.

According to a 2019 survey, Canadian hiring managers said that nearly half of the resumes they receive are from candidates who don’t meet job requirements. And 76% of job seekers said they would apply for a job for which they don’t fit all the requirements.

This is fine. It’s better to train for skills and hire people willing to learn, and 86% of companies said they are willing to do just that. However, there are some steps you can take to reach more qualified candidates.

If your job postings aren’t attracting the qualified talent you need, try these strategies.

1. Create great job postings.

Job postings should be clearly worded and written to attract candidates. You want to sell the job and your company to top talent. We discuss how to write a great job posting in this article: How to quickly and easily compose a job posting that reaches more candidates.

2. Don’t get cute with qualifications.

Among the most important tips for writing a good job posting that attracts top talent is to be reasonable with your qualifications and not to get carried away with “nice to haves.”

Research has found that the fewer qualifications a job posting has, the more applications it gets. This is ridiculously obvious on the surface; the more senior the role, the more requirements it will have and the fewer applications it is going to get. Still, it does tell us that keeping it simple is smarter. A receptionist doesn’t need a master’s degree and a junior developer probably doesn’t need five years of experience with software that was only developed two years ago.

And don’t try to cram two or three jobs into one. The other day someone posted a job to a social media group I’m in – the poster was not the person hiring. They were posting it as an example of what not to do – looking for a “barista & graphic designer” as one job. I understand that you have to save money where you can, but those are two separate jobs. The company might find what they are looking for but they’re also going to get what they pay for. It’s not uncommon to see jobs looking for “receptionist/something else.” This is less likely to attract top talent.

3. Focus on your employer brand

Your employer brand is what attracts candidates to work for you, and communicating a consistent employer brand message in your online presence and recruitment communications is key to successful hiring. Share the best face of your company on your social channels and on your website, so that top talent can see how great your workplace is.

Of course, being a great workplace begins with treating your employees well. Happy team members will be your best ambassadors, while unhappy ones will be your biggest detractors. Look after your people and be supportive and communicative. But your employer brand also includes the people you don’t hire. Treat all job candidates like you would want to be treated. If you invite someone for an interview, be prepared and professional in that interview. Be sure to let them know whether they got the job or not – don’t ghost them.

4. Consider hiring internally for senior roles

Promoting from within is a great way to ensure that you get the qualified talent you need – because they learned the ropes on the job at your company. Rather than forcing your people to move on to move up, support the career advancement of your existing team with succession tracking, training, and mentorship. Then, transition junior employees into more senior positions and hire new people for the junior positions. This doesn’t always work, of course. Sometimes you need new blood and qualifications that aren’t found internally, but where it does work, you will save money on hiring, training and onboarding, and lower the cost of attrition.

5. Spread the word

Use your company’s social media to promote open positions and encourage your existing team to share jobs. An employee referral program with incentives is a great way to do this. If you’ve done the work on your employer brand, your best and brightest should be more than willing to tell their best and brightest friends about the amazing available position at the awesome place where they work. An ATS is also a great way to post your job to multiple job boards quickly and easily.

Be smart, be kind, and treat people like you want to be treated. If you treat people well, they will want to work for you. If you don’t, they won’t. It really is that simple.

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