How to get candidates to apply for your jobs

Employment rates are at an all-time high and candidates have more opportunities to choose from than ever before. There’s a talent drought, where businesses have a tough time finding the right candidates for their open positions.

How can you attract top talent to your company if the candidates are hesitating and considering their options? You can start by reimagining the traditional job ad and focus on persuading the candidates instead of selling the job with cold and hard job specifications!

Moving away from hardcore specifications

We’ve touched on many aspects regarding the subject of how to attract top talent. In this post, we’re turning our attention to the foundation of the first phase of the recruitment process: The job ad. The traditional job board has had a clear structure for decades, which follows a strict setup, but also has its drawbacks, which are becoming evident in the age of more jobs and fewer candidates!

People are not machines or lines of code, we are intricate and complex animals, and each one of us reacts differently to job ads. The traditional job ad style has had a sharp focus on detailed job specifications for the past 40 years:

  • Requirements (hard skills)
  • Qualifications (hard skills)
  • Background (hard skills)
  • Personality (soft skills)

We focus way too much on hard skills! Usually, we’re looking for candidates that don’t exist or who are utterly above the preferred salary range. Realistically, how high a salary do you think a candidate can command if he or she has every single skill, experience, educational background and results you need? We quantify an ideal candidate based on unrealistic grounds, and this is counterproductive. Maybe we should start trimming the fat when deciding on the job specification!

What skills are really needed to do the job?

Why should we do that? Because candidates shy away from applying for a position where they only are 25-50% fit according to the hard skills. Just take a look at the last job specification you posted online. Did the person you hired match with every single bullet point in your job specification? How many did he or she not match with due but you were willing to compromise on because you were a perfect match on other accounts?

Let’s work from there. Which skills are essential to have to do the job? Trim or remove the other abilities, the so-called “nice to have” bonus skills. If they’re nice to have why have them listed in your job specification? They’re a bonus but not an essential requirement for the job. You’re demotivating talented candidates from applying for the job because you keep raising the bar for success (on paper).

Bullet points are outdated

Use persuasive language to create an interest in the job. Let the words sell the job and the company instead of hard bullet points that summarise what skills the candidate needs to have. You have a full page to sell the position and your company, so there’s no need to squander it with nonsensical bullet points and micromanaged job specifications. Focus on how you will help your new employee to success instead of telling what they need to do to succeed.

Candidates know what’s needed when they read the job description and the skills overview, but they don’t see how they will get there. Help them and yourself by being explicit in how the manager and the team will help and cooperate to succeed and be open about the KPI’s: It’s much easier to visualise yourself in a potential job if you know what you must deliver within a specific timeframe. 

By the way, you’re not just advertising a job. You’re also pitching your company as a workplace, so spend time on selling your company to the candidates. When talents have so many options and are being contacted every week by recruiters, you can’t expect them to know who you are and what it’s like to work in your offices. Your recruitment strategy is very much dependant on the strength of your employer brand!

Invest your time, energy and even money on building a visual and written representation of you as an employer that you can use in marketing, employer branding and recruitment!

Consider including the salary range

It’s very unlike Danish companies to include the salary range in their job advertisements! Talking publicly about salaries is almost considered a taboo subject, but maybe it will work to your advantage that you’re open and upfront about your salary expectations. Being upfront about the salary range can filter out applicants who are way above your range. On the other hand, it can signal to potential candidates that you’re a business that pays a decent or high salary, thus increasing the rate of applicants!

Including your salary range in the ad is one way of eliminating the somewhat unfortunate situation where the company’s and the candidate’s salary range are way off, and there’s no way they’ll find an agreement.

There are lots of ways to spice up your job advertisements! These are just a small selection of initiatives you can take to increase the number of talented applicants. We believe that we must reinvigorate the traditional job ads in the current market if we want to entice passive candidates to apply for the positions post. By making the job ad more persuasive and attractive and less cold and facts-driven, you might get the application from the perfect candidate, who otherwise wouldn’t have applied for the role!

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Read more about how we approach the recruiting process!