How HR Can Better Understand Their Applicant Pool

How HR Can Better Understand Their Applicant Pool

by Angie Rupp

Let’s face it, your applicant pool means everything to the success of your hiring process. Having a weak applicant pool and a very tight deadline to replace an employee equals a recipe for disaster down the road for your company. You need to attract solid candidates to your applicant pool to ensure that you hire a qualified employee and the more quality job seekers you drive into your applicant pool, the more likely it is that you’re going to find that diamond in the rough employee.

If you want to assemble a quality applicant pool, then you’re going to have to understand the Web.

If you want to assemble a quality applicant pool, then you’re going to have to understand the Web. Why? Because Pew Research pegs online job hunting right around 80 percent for job seekers. So, if you don’t have a solid online presence, your applicant pool will be weak at best. Additionally, if you don’t know how to communicate with job seekers and engage them to apply, then your applicant pool will suffer.

If you’re wanting to build a desirable applicant pool, then you’re going to need to focus your attention on the following items:

When it comes to your applicant pool, seek first to understand, and then to be understood.

At the end of the day, your applicant pool is really just a group of people, and what do people want the most? They want to be understood. So if you’re too busy touching on what you want from them in your job ad with little regard for satisfying their needs, you’re going to attract applicants to you that may not be the best fit for your corporation. The truth is, there is a lot of employer competition out there and truly valuable candidates know their worth – if they read a job description that includes information that is all take and no give, they’re going to pass on applying for your opening.

Your ad should include both what your expectations are of them and what they can expect of you.

Your ad should include both what your expectations are of them and what they can expect of you. The more balanced you are with this approach, the more likely it is that you’ll attract top talent to become part of your applicant pool.

If you want a solid applicant pool, chat with current superstar employees.

The easiest way to create a strategy for assembling a quality applicant pool is to get to know your top performing employees. If you understand what they wanted when they were searching for a job and why they chose your company, you know what strengths to include in your job ad. You can also pin down where they searched for the job which gives you a great starting point for where to focus your job marketing efforts.

If you can’t beat them, join them (applicant pool).

One of the best methods for gauging your hiring process is for HR to become part of the applicant pool themselves. When was the last time you applied for a position at your company? Removing your HR hat long enough to assess the process from the perspective of the job seeker will help you gain insight with as little bias as possible.

To do this, start with the basics. Go to somewhere like Indeed.com and enter in the phrase an applicant would to find your job opening. Does your job ad pop up? Do you have to dig it up from under hundreds of other job ads? How does it compare to companies that are hiring for the same position you are? Read the ad as if you were someone interested in applying for the job opening, does it compel you to apply? Lastly, actually apply for one of your openings. How long did it take you to complete? Can you fill out the application just as seamlessly on a mobile device as you can on a PC? Taking the time to go through your process as a job seeker provides insight into how the procedure works from the vantage point of your applicants. There’s no better method for understanding your applicant pool then to actually become a candidate yourself.

Not sure if you have a solid applicant pool to work with to hire your next “big change” employee? Let us help! We have a team of hiring experts that can “grade” your hiring process (for free). Contact us to learn more.


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