How to get more candidates: 11 easy fixes for your job ads

Can’t get enough applicants to fill your open position? Feel like you’re always hiring? Think you’ve tried everything?

Maybe you’re just making some rookie mistakes with your job ads. Speaking at SHRM23, Steven Smith — founder of ApplicantPro and author of The Hiring Tree — shared these critical errors he most often see with his clients:

1. Using the same pre-covid tactics and job ads.

This one should be obvious. The workforce has changed since the pandemic and your job ads and tactics should too.

2. Throwing more money at the (hiring) problem.

Don’t just add spend to your posting budget. Smith says a better crafted job ad can do more to help you bring in candidates than an expanded spend.

3. Making small adjustments thinking that will improve results.

If your hiring process is failing to bring in the number of applicants you need to fill positions, small tweaks to your job ads and recruiting process aren’t going to do enough. Your process needs a bigger overhaul to ensure you’re truly trying every option for getting candidates.

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4. Refreshing the job ad (or what job boards call “spend more”)

Smith said that the concept of “refreshing” ads is left over from the early days of Craigslist. Gone are the times when your ad had to be refreshed to move back to the top of the list. Today, ad boards are organized by keywords, so your job ads must be as well.

5. Don’t just use your job descriptions as job ads.

Smith encouraged attendees to take time to write ads. In the process, keep in mind what applicants want to know the most about your job. Those are: what is the schedule; what is the pay; what is the management and team.

6. Not listing salary in your job ad.

7. Requiring applicants to fill out the entire application to be considered.

This both increases respondents’ frustrations and decreases the pool of candidates for your consideration.

8. Applications are not mobile friendly.

Yes, many potential applicants are filling out apps from their phones. In many industries, the majority of job applications are coming in from mobile devices. If your application process can’t be accessed on mobile, you’re missing out on that large pool of candidates.

9. Application process is longer than 4 minutes.

For every minute longer than 4 minutes that it takes to fill out your application, 50% of applicants are dropping off. Look at your process and brainstorm ways to simplify.

10. Not using a 2-stage application.

Ask the basic info up front and then more detailed questions on a subsequent panel to increase your application rate. Added bonus: Screening questions will also help you avoid bot submissions.

11. Not leveraging quick apply features on job boards.

If someone clicks on your job ad and it redirects from the job posting site to your own site, 60% of respondents will drop off. Plus, you’re not able to leverage the profile parsing features available on job boards.