As part of my day-to-day work, I’m constantly reviewing job postings and talking to business owners, entrepreneurs and hiring managers.
Just about everyday someone tells me how frustrated they are that they don’t get great candidates for the jobs they’ve posted. Or they’re frustrated that they don’t get any applicants at all.
The first thing I do is ask to see their job postings. This is almost always the source or the problem. If this surprises you, you’re probably really going to benefit from this article.
Here’s What’s Really Happening with Your Job Post
A lot of people I talk to see the job posting itself as the place to start screening candidates. If they’re getting lots of unqualified people, the answer, it seems, is to add more bullet points calling out the qualifications.
It sounds logical, right?
But the fact is, it just doesn’t work.
We live in a world of constant distraction these days. The person who just saw your job has probably visited several other job boards as well, and has scrolled past hundreds of jobs. They might have Facebook open in the background, and someone texting them as well.
It’s just how we live these days.
On top of that, we happen to be in a job seeker’s market. Unemployment is the lowest it’s been in 10 years, and there are a record number of job postings going unfilled.
So, there’s a couple things happening when a potential applicant goes to a job board and gets to your post.
Let’s say a great potential applicant, someone who’s talented, in demand, and already employed comes across your ad. This person, your ideal candidate, is just shopping around to see what’s out there.
So they’re just going to scroll by all the identical job posts. They want to see something that really appeals to them. If they do happen to click on your post, and just see a bunch of bullet points about requirements and qualifications, with nothing that tells them why this is better than what they’ve got, they’re going to move on.
When the less desirable candidates come along, who are just looking for any job, they’re not going to bother reading your post. It’s a numbers game for them at this point, and they’re just trying to send out as many applications as possible, whether or not they meet the qualifications.
So, you end up getting buried in a pile of unqualified applicants.
The post seems to be working, from your perspective. It’s getting applicants. You start to feel like there just aren’t any good ones out there, having no idea that they’re just skipping right past your post.
How to Turn Your Job Post into a Magnet for Great Applicants
To get these awesome applicants to stop and pay attention to your ads, you’ve got to know exactly what they want.
Luckily, there are a few tried and true ways of finding this out.
Start by talking to your employees. What is it that they love about the job? Ask them if there’s something about the equipment, workspace, colleagues or location that really appeals to them.
Now jump on Glassdoor. Do a search for the job you’re hiring for, with the location left blank. Click on companies that have low ratings, then click “Reviews.” Read what employees are listing as the “Cons” of working there. Read through them for a number of companies until you find a few that come up repeatedly.
Can you turn any of these into “pros” for your business? For example, if everyone complains about having to work holidays, and you offer all holidays off, paid, this is a big selling point. You might put this in your title, or at least the first paragraph of your job post.
Now, take all the good things you got from your employees, plus any cons that you can respond to, and create a job posting that completely focuses on these. Only include a small number of qualifications – just the ones that are absolutely necessary.
Will you still get unqualified applicants?
Yes, of course. But that would have happened anyway. Now you’ll at least get some good applicants in there among the bad ones.
My recommendation for dealing with too many applicants is sending all of them an email that asks 5 questions about the job, before you even glance at their resumes. The questions should make them think, and should take about 20 minutes minimum to answer well.
The worst candidates won’t even bother responding. You’ll know the best ones right away, because you’ll be able to see that they put time, thought and effort into their answers.
Hope this helps you! If you try this, let me know about your results in comments. Thanks!