hiring managers looking over applicant numbers

Does Your Applicant Sourcing Measure Up?

Does it feel like you are being asked to perform an applicant sourcing miracle right now?

I got an email yesterday saying:

"My management team is completely out of touch with the reality of sourcing right now. They want me to generate more applicants for our jobs... using less money than I used to have budgeted for hiring before."

Today my goal is to set the stage for how you're thinking through the following:

  • What is our applicant sourcing problem?
  • What are the solutions?
  • How do we make the necessary changes?

The most important outcome is that you have a clearer picture of the applicant sourcing problem and how to beat it. Follow that with helping your management team have the same vision.

It's time to shift the paradigm of unemployment.

Business articles and employers are complaining that low unemployment rates and government payouts are hindering the ability to generate applicants. So, employers are struggling to hire qualified individuals and fill their open positions.

But the fact of the matter is... that reasoning is generally inaccurate.

Ask yourself...

Before COVID, were you hiring unemployed people?

If you are being honest, most managers and some HR people feel biased against the unemployed. They focus instead on screening applicants who currently have jobs.

The unemployment rate and the extra payouts from the government are immaterial. While it may reduce the number of applicants, you probably aren't wanting to hire them anyway.

But, if you are hiring people who don't currently have a job, it's likely the applicants are returning to the workforce. They aren't counted toward unemployment nor are they receiving payouts.

More importantly, even if the unemployment rate and government payout IS the problem... you don't have control over that. You need a solution that hits at the core of your sourcing problems.

Focus On What You DO Have Control Over

To survive, or better yet thrive, in a hyper-competitive job market, you have to focus on what you DO have control over and stop focusing on what you don't.

What you do have control over is your ability to attract the people who are either currently working, or at least eager and willing to. You have the power to attract qualified applicants through creative thinking. It's time to attract qualified applicants by considering your competitors' employees, people from other industries, or those looking to get back into the workforce, as potential hires.

If you focus on the solvable problems that are within your control, you can increase the quantity and quality of applicants applying.

Facilitating Self-Discovery

Today, I want to provide a quick framework for how you can go about facilitating what I call a self-discovery discussion. This will help you understand what the real problem is, and identify a new paradigm to set the stage to solve it.

Before we jump in and solve the problem, take a moment to find out where your business sits in the competitive landscape.

Run through the following list of questions. Use your intuition to rate your current situation as best as you see fit. No concrete statistics.

1. How competitive is the job market in your area and industry?

On a scale of 1-5, let's identify the supply of talent and the demand for talent. (1 = No supply/demand, 5 = massive supply/demand)

  • How much available talent is there that can do the jobs we need to hire for? This means unemployed people, employed people who are working for your competitors or in a different industry, and people who aren't currently in the market at all.

  • How many jobs are out there?

Now, add those 2 numbers together. What did you get?

Most likely, if you're reading this, you're scoring in the 5-8 range: low supply of talent, but high demand for talent. It's a hyper-competitive market, with really low talent compared to available job openings.

2. Where do you fit into the competitive landscape?

On a scale of 1-5, identify what you have to offer. (1 = Below average, 5 = Best of the Best)

Remember, this is all about gut intuition and being honest with yourself.

  • Do we offer fair, competitive pay?

  • Do we offer desirable benefits & perks?

  • Do we offer opportunities for advancement or set up employees on a promising career path?

  • How do current employees feel about our managers and job experience?

  • If you were a job seeker, how likely would you be to apply to your job opening compared to the jobs your competitors are offering? (1 = Not likely, 5 = Would have applied yesterday)

Now add these 5 answers together, what did you get?

If you scored a 20-25, you're doing pretty dang good! You are holding your own against your competitors in your area. But if you want to attract solid talent, you need to be offering an upgrade compared to competitors. You need to be the BEST of the BEST.

3. What is your brand power?

To determine this, go to Indeed and Glassdoor and look at two metrics. (1 = Below average, 5 = Best of the Best)

  • How does your star rating compare to your competitors within your industry?

  • How does the quantity of reviews compare to your competitors?

  • What percentage of applicants, interviews, and hires have you received through your career site? (This is going to require you to dig a little deeper, into your ATS)

  • What percentage of applicants, interviews, and hires come from employee referrals?

You can track turnover. You can track employee satisfaction scores. But the BEST OF THE BEST way to determine if you're a great place to work is through the strength of your brand.

Do your employees refer other people to work for you? What percentage of employees refer at least one applicant each month?

I'll say it one more time, if you want to hire the best of the best people... you need to be the best of the best place to work. Either lower your expectation of the type of applicants you want applying for your jobs or step up. Make the experience you offer desirable; one people WANT to experience.

Win The War For Talent

Now that we've defined the real problem (it's not that the government paying too much for unemployment). We know the applicants are out there, but it's crazy competitive.

It's time to pick up some weapons and go to battle to win the war for talent. You want to see change. You're David against Goliath. Goliath has a giant shield and a huge sword.

What weapons are you bringing?

On a scale of 1-5, honestly score the following questions. Again, go with your gut. (1 = Below average, 3 = Average, 5 = Best of the Best)

  • What is our job board budget?

  • How engaging are our job ads? From the perspective of the job seeker, do they sound like all the others? If you were an applicant, would you feel excited about the position?

  • Do our applicants experience a lot of friction when applying? Is the process difficult?

  • Does what we offer differ from our competitors? What do you do to attract a better applicant than others in your industry? How do you approach sourcing from your fan base on social media, or your website, compared to the sourcing approach you use on job boards?

Now total your score. In this area, any score less than 20 means there is room for improvement. Sourcing qualified applicants is all about the big picture. Scrutinize your processes.

Use your creativity to your advantage.

Constantly change and adjust your methods. Observe how different sourcing methods and company changes impact your qualified applicant flow.

Be realistic with your expectations!

Utilize the weapons that fit your strengths.

You can access these questions and framework by downloading The Recruiting Self Assessment. This tool will help you unpack your recruiting potential and create a strategy for generating a thriving applicant pool.

Recruiting Self Assessment

Unlock your hiring potential today!

Learn how you can reach unthought of applicant pools with our Recruiting Self Assessment!

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