As hiring experts, we like to keep our finger on the pulse of recruitment trends – the good, the bad, and the ugly. One piece of feedback we often hear from business owners is that they sometimes struggle with finding high-quality applicants for the jobs they post. This can be frustrating, especially when you want to make the right hire, not just the best hire available at the time.
The size of your applicant pool can vary based on a number of factors, including:
- Unemployment rates
- Competition for talent
Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic has introduced additional shake-ups to the applicant pool as well. But while these factors are all generally outside of your control, there are a few things that are within your control as an employer.
If the applicant pool in your industry is small, you need to recognize that as an employer, you’ll need to be proactive about attracting the fewer high-quality applicants available to you. Do everything you can to make sure the best candidates aren’t skipping your application.
We’ve put together a list of six strategies you can use to put your business in a strong position to attract the top talent in your applicant pool.
1. Use your careers page to get people excited about your employer brand.
Your employer brand is your business’ reputation as a place to work. The first thing you’ll want to ask yourself is: “What do I want my target applicant pool to think of my business?”
Think of your careers page as your opportunity to create the image you want top candidates to see. A highly-qualified candidate who finds your job on a major job board will want to learn more about your company before committing to applying – after all, the most skilled workers can be picky about where they choose to work.
A good careers page should include things like:
- A description of your company culture, mission, and values
- Employee testimonials (more on that later)
- Recent photos and/or videos of your team
- Enticing benefits information
- Growth opportunities
An attractive, compelling careers page can often be the factor that seals the deal for motivated candidates. Plus, applicants who apply through company careers pages are 23 times more likely to be hired than those who apply from job boards, indicating that people who research your careers page before applying tend to be more closely aligned with your company’s values.
To learn more about what makes an attractive careers page, watch the video below from CareerPlug’s Director of HR, Natalie Morgan.
2. Create employee testimonial videos.
Fun fact: Viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video, compared to 10% when they read it in text. Videos bring employee testimonials to life – so, if possible, we encourage you to film short interviews of your happiest employees singing your praises and giving future candidates an idea of what it’s like to work for you.
It may take a little upfront investment of time and effort to produce a few testimonial videos, but you can leverage videos like this on many channels – your careers page, your social media pages, virtual hiring fairs, and all your recruitment marketing efforts.
Check out this great example of an employee testimonial from CareerPlug client, Hand & Stone:
3. Encourage employees to write reviews on job sites.
Potentially missing half your applicants due to poor online reviews can significantly hinder your recruitment efforts. Knowing how much weight employee reviews carry, we recommend encouraging your existing employees to write reviews of your business on these sites.
These reviews serve as social proof to job seekers and if they’re mostly positive, they can work in your favor.
Pro tip: Employer review sites allow reviews from your employees as well as anyone who has interviewed with your company. It’s important to maintain a positive candidate experience with everyone you interact with, regardless of whether or not you hire them. Job seekers can be put off by reviews giving them a heads-up that they’re in for a negative candidate experience if they apply.
4. Create an employee referral program.
Earlier we mentioned that candidates who apply from careers pages tend to convert to hires at far higher rates than those who apply from job boards. But there’s one applicant source that’s even more successful: employee referrals.
Our data shows that applicants from referrals are 85 times more likely to be hired than applicants from job boards.
Referrals can also boost retention. A 2016 study by Scoophealth shows that employees who are referred by existing employees stay longer at the company than those who were hired from other sources.
Far too often, hiring managers think of employee referrals as a secondary source of applicants, but the data says the opposite is true: employee referrals tend to be high-quality candidates and strong hires. Establishing, promoting, and maintaining an employee referral program should be top of mind for all hiring managers.
5. Recruit from custom sources – not just major job boards.
When you post a job on a major job board like Indeed or ZipRecruiter, you will absolutely get the most eyeballs on your postings. These job boards are juggernauts in terms of applicant volume, but they tend to fall short when it comes to applicant quality.
Like employee referrals, custom sources account for a low overall percentage of applicants, but those applicants convert to hires at a much higher rate. Custom sources can include things like:
- Industry-specific job boards
- Local/community message boards
- University job boards
- Craigslist (yup, even Craigslist!)
Get creative when distributing your job postings outside of the major job boards. For example, post your jobs on your social media accounts or send an email to contacts in your network with a link to your job. Cast a wide net and keep track of which source is producing the best candidates – not necessarily the most candidates.
6. Make it easy to apply from any device.
A 2019 study by Glassdoor found that 58% of job seekers are looking for jobs on their phones. That’s over half of job seekers!
Mobile applicants also complete 53% fewer applications and they have no qualms about moving on from an application if it takes too long or is too difficult to complete from a mobile device. As an employer, just think of it this way: each qualified candidate who gets annoyed by a bad mobile application experience is one less qualified candidate you’ll get a chance to meet.
Pro tip: Job seekers should be able to apply to your job in less than 3 minutes. An applicant tracking system like CareerPlug can help you accomplish this by providing candidates with a fast, easy mobile-friendly job application.
Need more advice on increasing your applicant pipeline? CareerPlug can help! Schedule a free demo with one of our Hiring Experts today – no commitment required. We’re happy to chat and help you solve the number one challenge facing business owners today: finding, hiring, and keeping the right people.