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5 things to fix in your candidate attraction strategy

August 29, 2018

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5 things to fix in your candidate attraction strategy

You take a great job spec and you write the perfect job description. You post it, you advertise it, and you wait. The applications were supposed to come rolling in but instead, your ad has received radio silence. Why aren’t you getting more candidate applications? Why isn’t your candidate attraction strategy working? Surely there must be interested and qualified candidates out there?

What is a candidate attraction rate?

Simply put, your candidate attraction rate is the number of potential candidates that view your job advertisement / job description compared to the number of candidates that apply to the position.

There’s a solid reason why improving your candidate attraction rate is more than just a current trend in recruitment. Maintaining a strong candidate attraction rate is important to ensure the health of your candidate pipeline and save costs on your recruitment process. If you have a high candidate attraction rate, it means that you’ll be putting less effort (and money!) into creating a number of job descriptions and advertising them far and wide in order to get the right number of qualified candidates.

Why is your candidate attraction strategy failing?

It’s easy to get caught off guard by an extremely low number of applications (sometimes even none at all) in a candidate driven or niche market. If this is something you’re currently struggling with, then it’s time to turn in the post-and-pray methodology for a more dynamic and nuanced approach to candidate attraction. Here we’ll share the five most common mistakes that recruiters and HR professionals can make that discourage applicants to even some of the best job opportunities. We’ll also share some quick and easy fixes to get you on your way to earning more candidate applications.

1. Your application process is too long.

It’s important to be thorough during the application to cut down on time spent at later stages. But it’s also essential that you also value candidates’ time as well. The first step of the application process, leaving your CV, can easily get out of control when you add in qualifying questionnaires or extra required information. Keep a close eye on your application abandonment rate (how many people start an application but don’t complete it), as this can indicate whether your process is unsuited for attracting more candidate applications.

  • Replace your cover letter requirement with a short answer option and specify how long the response should be (two to three sentences). Cover letters can be time-consuming and, for certain roles, they don’t always give you real insights into the candidates.
  • Limit your application process to one page. Application abandonment rates soar when applications require more than one webpage of information.
  • Request CVs rather than asking candidates to reformat their work experience and education for your system.
  • Make sure your application process is mobile-friendly. We cannot emphasize this more. Both passive and active job seekers regularly begin their search for new opportunities on their mobile devices. Make sure your careers site and application is responsive on mobile.
  • Audit your own application process with your candidates in mind. Going through your own application process will help you understand how long the process takes end-to-end and identify areas where they drop off. Pay close attention to potential areas where they may be forced to leave the page. For example, if you are asking for a certificate they may have to pause the application to search for a copy.

2. Candidates don’t know what to expect from your company.

Looking for a new opportunity can be stressful, whether you’re an active job seeker or a passive one. While understanding the particular skills or role that your company is looking for is important, candidates would also like to know what their day-to-day life might look like at your company. Many employers prefer to save the details for later on in the recruitment process. But if you’re looking to improve your candidate attraction strategy, you may want to detail exactly what they can expect from your company at the application stage.

  • Consider including a video of a potential team member (like this one!) explaining what it’s like to work for your company or highlighting the requirements for the role. Shorter than an employer branding or recruitment video, this will be tailored to the position. Video can be a great tool for engaging your prospective candidates and bring them closer to your team upon the first contact.
  • Fully detail any benefits you may be able to offer successful hires. This will encourage candidates to apply to your position above others.
  • Tell them about the team environment they can expect to be working in. Go beyond writing about your “fast-paced work environment” or “international team.” List the people they can expect to have frequent interactions with, who they might be reporting to, or who will be in their team. This information will help them understand their day-to-day dynamic with your team.

3. Your careers site gave a bad impression.

If you’ve gone through the effort of creating a great job description this effort can be totally wasted if the careers site hosting the job doesn’t strike the right tone. Your careers site can play a powerful role in impacting candidates’ first impressions of your company. Careers sites that are outdated (think mid-2000’s websites) or don’t feature helpful information may actively turn candidates away from applying to your positions. Furthermore, if you haven’t developed a solid employer brand to communicate through your careers site, this may leave candidates confused.

  • Develop your employer brand and communicate it through your careers site. A positive employer brand can help you actively connect with candidates and get your name in the market. Having a careers site that accurately reflects a strong personal brand will improve your candidate attraction.
  • Consider investing in a recruitment video. Videos can give your potential candidates direct insights into your company’s values, mission, business, people, and work environment. Video will help you communicate your employer brand directly to your candidates.
  • Make sure your careers site is updated. Outdated information can mislead candidates or discourage them from applying.
  • Check if your careers site caters to multiple languages. If you’re recruiting for Spanish language roles and your careers site is only accessible in English, you may be turning away qualified candidates. Especially when working in multiple countries, you will struggle to master you candidate attraction strategy without translations on your careers site.
  • Create an easily navigable experience for your candidates. Is it clear where your candidates should apply?  Audit your careers site like you might audit your application process.
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4. You didn’t advertise on the right channels.

The post-and-pray method of attracting talent is dead. There are many channels and job boards out there to help you find the right talent. The challenge, however, lies in identifying the most relevant ones and the ones that provide the most value for money. If you’re looking to improve your candidate attraction methods, assess your current advertisement strategy to determine whether its suitable for your roles, business, and talent acquisition strategy.

  • Definitely post on social media but make sure you’re connecting with the right audiences. Not all social channels are created equal or are relevant to every opportunity. While casting the net far and wide can’t necessarily hurt, it may not be the best use of your time. Focus on the channels that will get you the most traction to bolster your candidate attraction techniques.
  • Track where your best candidates are coming from. This is a powerful recruitment metric that can be used to start predicting your best channels. Track your candidate sources by tagging your candidates in your ATS. Generate reports based on candidate source to assess ROI on advertising and social channels. These reports can help you save time, effort, and money.

5. They looked at your employer reviews… and they weren’t great.

Often employer reviews are seen as a wildcard element you can’t control. While you might not be able to stop candidates from seeking retribution or airing complaints online, you can control their experience with your organization. Candidates often research you before applying to your roles, looking on social media and review sites. One poor review could be damaging to your future candidate attraction efforts.

  • Respond to bad reviews were possible. No one likes to respond to poor reviews, but in some cases, this might be required to mitigate the damage. Adopt a customer service approach while responding and try to understand the concern, irritation or frustration. Always seek a solution offline rather than engaging the details online.
  • Take control of your candidate experience. Many poor reviews result from a poor candidate experience. Make sure you’re constantly optimizing your candidate experience to proactively discourage bad reviews and encourage a better candidate attraction success rate through positive word of mouth.
  • Use questionnaires to identify problem areas in your hiring process before they go to reviews. Sending a questionnaire to unsuccessful candidates regarding their interview experience can help you identify problem areas lurking in your hiring process. Were the interviews unprepared? Did the process take too long? Was there no follow-up? If there are problems reflected in the responses, then it might be a good opportunity to reach out to those candidates before their thoughts go to a review site.

It can come as a shock when you open an empty ad response folder. Candidate attraction is no longer as easy as it once was. Take a second look at your applications process, communication, employer brand, careers site, and online reviews to make sure that you’re not accidentally losing valuable candidates.

Adrie is a former recruiter and Recruitee's Head of Content. With a passion for hiring and tech, she is responsible for all the awesome stuff that gets published on this blog.
One Comment
  1. […] some ways, many people look for ways to get more candidate applications, but sometimes, more is not always better – rather than focusing on increasing the number of […]

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