From time-to-time, I hear from employers who are concerned their job posting is not attracting either enough candidates or the right kind of candidates for the position.
Denver’s unemployment rate has reached record lows which also presents challenges to employers trying to attract candidates for open professional positions. But it is also important to understand that, according to regular surveys of AH Jobs List subscribers, more than 75% of job seekers coming to AH Jobs List are currently employed. Recruiters I talk to tell me that this is a ‘high value’ job seeker demographic but many of these job seekers are ‘passive’ job seekers; they are selective and simply seeing what’s out there and, if the right opportunity comes along they will jump on it.
Saying all of this, employers must be strategic in how they present themselves and the positions they are hiring for in order to attract the ‘right’ professionals to apply to work for their organizations.
Below are a few recommendations on how to attract the best candidates through your job postings:
1.) Describe what your company does. Don’t assume someone reading the job description knows what your company does; describe the key points someone needs to know about your organization? Describe your history. Your growth. Your vision and your values. Make sure there is an opening paragraph with boilerplate language that clearly describes your organization and what your company does. Are you an advertising firm? A nonprofit organization? A law firm? A restaurant chain? A digital marketing firm?
2.) Describe why someone would want to consider working for your organization.
When I meet with job seekers, I ask them a simple question: “When you think about your favorite job ever, what were the things that made it your favorite job?” The answers to this question are consistently related to company culture including strong leadership and management, company stability, the company’s integrity, ethics and defined purpose, opportunity for growth, the organization’s faith in their employees and the company’s involvement with the community. All things that make someone excited to go to work in the morning and leave at the end of the day feeling fulfilled.
What makes your organization unique? You’ve invested in making your company a great place to work, what are the qualities about your company’s culture that will attract new talent?
Remember, you are trying to attract great talent to come work for you and often this talent is working for your competitor or someone else. It is imperative that you convince someone reading your job posting why they would want to apply to work for you.
3.) Describe what the candidate will be required to do in the job you are hiring for. The actual description of the job should be pretty straight forward. Anyone reading the job description should be able to understand very quickly the job duties of the position – the 3-5 things that are required of this job. What problems will they be solving? What does success look like in this job? What are the day-to-day requirements of this position. What specific skills and strengths will make them successful in this job?
4.) Be realistic about the qualifications for this position. All too often, I see job postings come across with qualifications a super hero would have a hard time matching! When discussing the job with the hiring manager, ask them to be succinct about the ‘must have’ qualifications for the position. Sure you can include the ‘nice to haves’ as well, but don’t scare away perfectly qualified candidates with a laundry list of qualifications that are not essential to the position.
5.) List the salary range. It is to your benefit to list the salary range. Studies show that 40% of the most qualified professionals looking for a job will simply not apply when there is not a salary range posted in the job description. This is particularly true of job seekers who are currently employed. It is simply too much time and work to go through the application process to find out later that the salary requirements are not a match. Employers who list the salary range report that they too, find more qualified matches for their job posting more quickly.
6.) Be realistic about the salary range. At least once a year I’ll get a call from an employer who says “We aren’t getting the right kind of candidates for our job posting.” I’ll look at the job posting and it will have a laundry list of high level qualifications required for the job. And then when it comes to experience and salary range it will say: 15-20 years experience required. Salary range: $30-35,000. I then have to explain that there’s very few (if any) mid-senior level professionals with 15-20 years experience that will apply for a position that pays an annual salary of $30-35,000. There are many resources available that can help you determine the appropriate salary range of a positions based on skills, industry, education, level of position, location of job, years of experience, etc. These salary surveys are updated regularly and are accessible to both employer and job seekers to make sure the salary ranges of jobs are appropriate, fair and realistic.
7.) Be clear about the application process. Be specific about what you require in order for job seekers to apply. If you require a cover letter, can you describe specific things you want to know about the candidate in the cover letter? If there is a deadline for applying for the position, list it. If there is a link to the company for the candidate to find our more information, list the link. Give the candidate every opportunity to put their best foot forward.
8.) Follow up with each candidate. One of the biggest frustrations from job seekers is this: They put their blood, sweat and tears into customizing their resume and cover letter to apply to work for your organization, following your described application procedures and meeting your deadline to apply and then… nothing. Not a note indicating their resume/cover letter/application was received, not a ‘thank for applying’ form letter. Nothing. Then they get worried that maybe, just maybe, you didn’t receive their resume. “Hmmmm…” they think, “The job posting said ‘no calls’, but I didn’t hear back. I should call to make sure my resume was received.” And then they worry calling is going to annoy you and on and on and on…
Please. We live in a world of instant automation. Respond to each job seeker with a simple note once a resume is received. Here’s one sample response:
“Thank you so much for applying for our position! We received your resume and are honored you want to work for us. Here’s the deal: We expect to get a lot of resumes for this job and if you don’t hear from us by April 1 then we have moved on in the process but we will keep your resume on file for future consideration.”
It is clear. There’s a deadline. They know you’ve received their resume and you don’t have to worry about the job seeker calling to ask about the process, if you’ve received their resume, etc., etc.