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Three Ways You’re Turning Away Potential Job Candidates Before They Even Apply

A cumbersome application process, lackluster social media presence, and other things that are turning away your best potential hires.

Three Ways You’re Turning Away Potential Job Candidates Before They Even Apply
[Photo: Flickr user J Stimp]

Most people don’t enjoy looking for a new job. In fact, 73% of people say that the job-search process is one of the most stressful things in life, according to a study by CareerBuilder. Yet 87% of workers are open to learning about new job opportunities, according to LinkedIn. If it takes a long time to fill a vacancy in your company, maybe the talent shortage isn’t to blame. Maybe your candidate experience stinks, stopping people in their tracks before they even apply.

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“Companies need to recognize that today’s applicants weigh their fit with the company as much as the company weighs the applicant’s fit with them,” says Debbie Good, clinical assistant professor of human resources at the University of Pittsburgh Katz Graduate School of Business and the College of Business Administration. “[Hiring] is now a two-way street. Firms are showing a reliance on the traditional one-way viewpoint: ‘I have the jobs and here’s why you will want to work here.’ Clearly that approach does not bear fruit.”

If you haven’t given much thought to the candidate experience, it’s time to revamp your application process. Here are three things you might be doing that cause potential employees to scratch your company name off their preferred list of places to work:

1. Not Having A Quick Apply Process For Every Device

The application process itself can contribute to a negative experience for candidates, according to CareerBuilder. Twenty-eight percent say that applications taking too long, 34% don’t like having to customize documents for every job, and 29% don’t like uploading a resume into a system but still having to manually fill out fields.

“We live in a world of ‘instants,’—ATMs, Keurig coffeemakers, VOD, you name it,” says career expert Denise Dudley, author of Work It! Get In, Get Noticed, Get Promoted. “We’re simply used to getting what we want or even need right when we want it, and we don’t like to wait.”

Companies grousing about having to improve their online application systems need to just do it or they’ll be left behind by those who embrace the future, says Dudley.

2. Not Having An Effective Career Site

An employer’s career site is important for getting key information, according to 89% percent of job seekers on the CareerBuilder site, but just 45% of candidates say they can typically tell what it would be like to work for a company based on their career site.

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“Most companies’ career sites are boring and uninspiring,” says Dudley. “Instead, companies need to think of their career sites as another form of marketing and advertising. In this case, they’re advertising for talent—a commodity that should certainly be as important as a customer.”

In addition to being honest and informative, your site should get candidates excited. “The site should make it look like Company X is the kickiest place north of the equator to work for,” says Dudley. “What if your company isn’t that kicky? Make it so. Again, you’re in competition to attract the best people, and who wouldn’t choose the Apple campus over an outdated factory in an industrial park?”

3. Not Paying Attention To Your Employer Brand On Social Media

Social media isn’t just a place to engage customers; it conveys a lot of information about a company as an employer. Sixty percent of companies don’t monitor their employer presence and brand on social media, according to CareerBuilder. Of those who do, 68% take steps to encourage positive reviews while 16% just react to negative information.

“Companies definitely need to pay attention to their social media presence—it should be viewed as still another form of marketing and advertising,” says Dudley. “It doesn’t cost you anything to have a presence and make yourself look modern and attractive.”

Dudley encourages companies to feature company employees and events, which give potential candidates a sense of what it’s like to work for you. “It’s nice PR for the company, too,” she says.