Top 5 Ways to Increase your Applicant Flow Without Spending More Money
by Ryan Kohler
Not getting enough applicants? There are other options besides just spending more money.
Every day we have clients come to us looking for additional job boards to post their jobs on. Their thinking goes, if we just take their ad, and push it to more places, then suddenly a bunch of people will find their job and apply, solving all of their hiring woes.
Now, if your jobs aren’t going to Indeed.com, then having us push your jobs to Indeed will definitely increase applicant flow. But if your jobs are already there (and the other free job boards that we push to such as Glassdoor and Craigslist) then I’m afraid to say that there isn’t some hidden and overlooked free job board that generates tons of traffic that we don’t already post to. You could certainly try posting to a paid job board through ApplicantPro (like CareerBuilder, SnagaJob, Monster, etc), but before you go and spend all of your budget, perhaps you could try one of these other options that have been proven to drive additional applicants for little to no cost.
Top 5 ways to increase applicant flow without increasing your budget.
#1 Write better job ads
This is by far my favorite way to help our clients, mainly because it almost always generates immediate results. If you are like the average company, your job ads are terrible. They read like a bank robber hired a lawyer to write up his list of demands. Simply put, they aren’t interesting and they don’t engage the job seeker in a way that makes them “WANT” to read your ad, much less apply. To learn more about how to fix this, read my blog post on how to write better job ads here. If you want the shortened version, drop the legal job description and long bullet list and replace it with something that sounds more like you are a real person telling someone about why they should want to apply for your job.
#2 Shorten your application process
Now I know that this might be treading on sacred ground, but you can’t complain about not getting enough applicants without at least taking a look at the gauntlet you are making job seekers go through just to apply. Start by figuring out how big of a problem you have by comparing “application starts” to “application completes”. We usually divide these numbers to get a “conversion percentage”. If less than 80% of your applicants who start, are actually completing their applications, then it might be time to make some adjustments.
Next you need to identify which sections/questions are offending job seekers and making them leave. This can be a bit harder without the right tools. We have a simple report that shows application abandon by section.
If you don’t have a tool like this, let me give you a few hints. Applicants don’t like giving up their references before they have had an interview, and they hate having to fill out all of their employment history when it is already on their resume. One more thing that I really shouldn’t have to explain here, don’t ask for socials, dates of birth, and driver’s license numbers on your initial application. Although you might be a great person, it makes you look like an identity thief.
#3 Let job seekers stay on the job board to submit their initial interest.
Job boards and applicant tracking systems have been fighting for years over where the job seeker should apply. Regardless of who you feel has the better argument, you can’t argue with the results. Leaving the job seeker on the job board to apply, at least to let them submit a resume, will create an instant increase in application starts. It is then up to you (or your ATS system) to email the qualified job seekers back and get them to complete your online application. The best setup for this is Indeed Apply. Not only does Indeed Apply provide the most robust and complete integration for allowing job seekers to stay on Indeed to complete their initial application, but doing so has proven to increase overall application completes by 30% to 50%.
#4 Social Media
Now this goes beyond just posting your job openings to your personal and social profiles, but it isn’t as hard as you might think. The goal here is to take your job and post it in social media groups that may be interested in your job. Both Linkedin and Facebook have groups that you can join which will then allow you to post links to your jobs. For Facebook, start with “Help Wanted” and “Jobs” groups in your local area. Then expand your posting to “Yard Sale” and “Classified” groups as well (some of these groups might delete your ad, but it never hurts to try) LinkedIn is similar to Facebook, only their groups tend to focus in on topics, duties, and associations (think marketing, sales, recruiting, etc).
#5 Employee Referrals
Now this idea doesn’t quite fit with our premise of not spending more money, although it is possible that a good employee referral program could allow you to cut back on posting to some of the paid job boards that you current use. Simply put, a good employee referral program is the best bang for the buck when it comes to driving qualified applicants. Plus, if you are going to pay someone money to help drive recruiting, why not give that money to your own employees. Not only will it increase your applicant flow, but it will also increase your employee satisfaction and retention at the same time.
Don’t fall into the trap that spending money is the only way to increase your applicant flow. Follow these suggestions and watch your applicant numbers increase dramatically.
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