hr frustrated with low applicant flow

4 HR Mistakes That Are Costing You Qualified Applicant Flow

Struggling to find applicants?

If you follow the news and read my emails, you know that applicants are hard to come by these days...

I have a good friend and longtime client who owns multiple restaurants.

He posted a job for a junior recruiter a few weeks ago and only five applicants in seven days.... I personally went through the applicants and not a single one of them was even close to being qualified... even though his job ad clearly stated ALL of the requirements that he was looking for.

He wanted to know what he should do. More specifically, he wanted to know where he should sponsor the job and/or where he should spend money. Because clearly what he was doing wasn't working.

Luckily, this just happened to be the perfect story for me to introduce the first stage of our sourcing roadmap...

Setting the foundation

Like it or not, sourcing job applicants is just like content marketing.

Content marketing is a way to market a product or service. You do this by creating content, text, blog posts, videos, etc, that you put out into search engines. The hope is that the valuable content will attract people to your website, usually to your blog. (To read more about it, Google either "content" or "inbound" marketing and read about it from HubSpot.)

If you're in HR, corporate, or a manager you have to view hiring as content marketing. If you refuse to adjust your approach... you're going to be making the same mistakes my friend's team was making.

It's likely the reason that you're struggling to get applicants. The reason isn't the economy or high unemployment payouts.

Is your HR team making these mistakes?

I see HR teams making these same four mistakes over and over and over again. When applicants were plentiful, these mistakes weren't a huge deal. There were so many applicants out there that most people didn't notice that they were having this problem.

Now that the market has tightened up, everybody's struggling to get enough qualified applicants.

The 4 most costly and detrimental mistakes when it comes to sourcing qualified applicants

1. Mindlessly posting without preparing.

This means grabbing and copying a current job or an old one you previously posted. You slap it together and throw it out on the job boards as quickly as possible.

2. Focusing on what the manager wants.

Using a requisition form or a job description to create a giant list of demands focused on what the manager wants. Rather than focusing on WHO the manager wants, and finding a target employee that you'd like to clone.

3. Not focusing on what the job seeker wants

When you make the ad about requirements, duties, and qualifications, the ad is just full of demands. It does nothing to convince the applicant to work for you. I refer to it as a relationship bank account, in order to get anything out of it (in this case, a job applicant) you have to first put into it. State what you have to offer and how you're different from your competitors.

4. Not having screening questions

Without screening questions, getting the most qualified people will be more difficult. There's only so much a resume or an interview will show.

Chances are if you're making the first three mistakes, the last one isn't a big deal because you probably don't get that many applicants anyway.

But, when you do it the right way, you need screening questions in place so that the best candidates are at the top of your list. Making it easier to get to them quickly before they get hired by someone else.

These mistakes lead to low applicant flow

In my friend's case... The job ad was targeting the wrong people.

His job ad contained a giant list of requirements. By the time the applicant was done reading the ad, the good people were scared away. The long list caused the qualified to feel completely unqualified. Plus, the pay was way less than what they're probably making right now working this same position for his competitors.

The only people who applied were totally unqualified. They either didn't care about being unqualified, or they saw the pay as a huge upgrade with their lack of qualifications.

But, if my friend had actually fixed these things, to make the ad better, they only had three job screening questions in place. Meaning, he would have had to manually review and look at every single resume. With only five applicants, this wasn't a big deal, but imagine if they'd gotten 40 or 50. It would have wasted precious days, and they might have missed out on the best ones because they'd already moved on.

Here's what I did...

Generate 20x more applicants

  • Identify the type of person you should hire.

    I call this the target job seeker... or who they want to clone.

  • Create a short list of the real functional requirements.

    A functional requirement is what this person will be doing on a daily basis and what it takes to be effective at the job. This doesn't include made-up requirements like bachelor's degrees and certain numbers of years experience in a certain job title.

    Functional requirements include being good with a computer, ability to type fast, and having skills using certain software.

  • Find keywords that the target job seeker would actually be searching for.

    In this instance, a junior recruiter hasn't decided to become a recruiter yet and wouldn't be searching that term.

  • Focus on what the target job seeker would find appealing

    This particular job was a phenomenal job for an entry-level person who's entering into the hiring workspace. Especially since it was specifically screening and sourcing in a work-from-home environment.

  • Write an ad that was 90% about selling the job to the target job seeker

  • Create 10 job questions that would allow me to...

    Rank the applicants based on who was most qualified.

    Filter out people who are not a great fit.

    Narrow down the applicant pool without actually looking at resumes/applications.

How these changes impact applicant flow

Remember, they generated 5 applicants in 7 days of this job being live.

Since making these changes, I've generated 65 applicants in 3 days. My guess is that by the time I hit the 7-day mark, we will be well over 100 applications. That's 20x more than what we had before!

Here's the kicker...

I didn't spend any extra money.

And, I didn't go and sponsor the job on indeed or anything like that.

More importantly... when I went through and browsed the applicants, half of them actually matched my functional requirements. A bunch of the applicants even matched the requirements that had been set out in the original ad. This may not make a ton of logical sense to most people, but it's actually a pretty consistent thing.

Over the next two weeks, I'm going to show you exactly the process you can go through to create these types of results for your organization.

The #1 takeaway...

Do not rush to get the job live!

If you do it wrong, you're not going to get the kind of applicants you need anyway. You'll cause unnecessary frustration for yourself and your managers when you're having to fix it after weeks of getting no applicants!

Nail down the content part before you start marketing the job.

hiring manager learning about Sourcing Power

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