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10 Ways to Avoid Losing Your Next Applicant

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Using stale recruitment strategies will not help you stand out from other employers. You get one chance to create a memorable impression and successfully close top candidates.  

To say hiring in today’s market is challenging is an understatement. Here’s a look at some of our top suggestions to improve your effort. They are presented in no particular order:

  1. Cold Emailing & Calling – Talent professionals dread cold reach outs because the return on time spent is small compared to other methods. We do not suggest abandoning this approach altogether but rather training your staff on warmer strategies and being mindful of setting realistic goals. Typical success rates for cold calling range from 1-3 % and should not be the primary sourcing strategy. 
  2. Cover Letters – Let’s be honest – this is a candidate’s market, and demanding a cover letter or an emailed resume only creates barriers. If you monitor your trends, most candidates are applying from their mobile devices. Asking for attachments or requiring lengthy applications forces them to get to a laptop and set aside time to apply. A short, mobile-friendly application is necessary for today’s market. The first thing most prospective candidates do is filter by “easy apply.” 
  3. Judging an Applicant by Resume Alone – It is critical to have an open mind when reviewing candidate resumes- unless you are hiring a resume writer. Often individuals with “bad” resumes end up being outstanding employees. Not everyone has mastered the art of resume writing or has the financial means to hire a resume creator. In such a tight market, finding the “purple unicorn” is challenging, and turning a blind eye to transferable skills or trainability limits your candidate pool. Stop knocking out potentially good employees by judging them on irrelevant skills. 
  4. Sign-on Bonuses – We have all experienced the rise of game-show-worthy sign-on bonuses, and some have even fallen prey to this temporary tactic. Sign-on bonuses aren’t great for your existing employees or keeping new candidates you just hired. Sign-on bonuses only reinforce a revolving door and a perceived short-term solution to your staffing shortage. If you factor in the loss of loyal employees when your company’s morale lowers, your dwindled budget, and your increase in turnover, you risk all departments feeling like they are on a hamster wheel with no relief in sight. 
  5. One-Way Interviews – There has been an increase in one-way interviews to review and advance candidates quickly in the hiring process. While there are clear advantages, a video interview undeniably increases the likelihood of unconsciously biased decisions. A one-way interview also robs candidates of the opportunity to ask questions and build a connection.  Many top candidates will be turned off and never apply because it comes across as impersonal and disrespectful. Instead, conduct short screens to allow the candidate to ask their dealbreaker questions. If you create a safe screening environment, you will learn a lot about your candidate from the questions they ask, and they will start the interview process feeling valued. 
  6. Limiting Search to Passive Posting – Post-and-pray doesn’t work because it is often posted with costly mistakes and doesn’t attract untapped talent. This is especially important in industries saturated with a steep competition or requires education about the industry or role. Boring, vague, jargon-filled, biased language and grammatical errors may defer potential employees. Do your research, post on industry-specific sites, and measure your results to learn and improve over time. If you take away nothing from this article, remember this – your talent team must have the time to actively source, and your posts must not underestimate the value of a well-defined job post. 
  7. Deferring to Referrals – A great recruiting plan is diverse and cannot rely on referrals as the majority of their hires. Referrals are less likely to leave a company within the first months, but there is an unintended diversity consequence. Be aware of this biased hiring strategy and have a referral process to ensure hiring decisions are fair and unbiased. A good referral program will cast a wider net and reinforce employee engagement. Hiring a diverse workforce increases the value of your team and offers a variety of skills, qualifications, cultures, a broader range of services, and individual contributions. 
  8. Ghosting Candidates – The worst thing you can do is ghost your candidates. EVERYONE who applies should get a response from you, even a brief automated email thanking applicants for applying. However, be careful that your template is not creating a poor candidate experience. For example, consider the possibility that your company is the job seeker’s target employer. Your automated reply states a two-week grace period to hear back about the application, creating an unnecessary feeling of drawn-out hope. Candidates should know if they are moving forward in the interview process no more than 72 hours after applying. People are investing their time and emotions into applying for jobs. Not only do you risk a qualified candidate not considering your company in the future, but you risk the repercussions of a bad review or word of mouth. 
  9. Excluding Pay – Be upfront with what you can offer. Sharing the range of pay empowers your candidates with crucial information to consider. You waste everyone’s valuable time, especially your talent teams, by omitting the pay rate. Worse yet are the companies listing a broad pay range with an unattainable high rate for which most of your target audience won’t qualify.  This strategy is not recommended and starts the relationship with feelings of being undervalued. You will never hear a candidate complain about transparency, and you build a foundation of trust. 
  10. Not Considering Internal Candidates – One of the worst internal mistakes an employer can make is not considering internal candidates for an open position. Good employers encourage employee development and career growth. Trying to control employee turnover and vacancy by keeping employees stagnant only creates two openings instead of one. By alienating employees from opportunities, you will risk an increase in turnover and a tarnished employer brand. 

Unless you have time and resources to waste, it’s time to invest in your talent acquisition strategies and attract candidates for long-term employment. Your recruitment process might be broken but addressing these outdated strategies will help. 

To increase efficiency and outcomes, consider hiring a talent expert who understands your niche industry needs to run an assessment of your current talent department’s strengths and weaknesses.