Not Getting Enough Applicants? Crafting Effective Job Descriptions

Not Getting Enough Applicants? Crafting Effective Job Descriptions

The labor shortage across the beleaguered service industries means the ability to hire the right talent has never been more essential. While businesses need to think about offerings to employees as the primary driver for applications, the candidate experience itself plays a major role in their continued interest, and for how long before receiving an offer.

It all begins with the job posting itself. As the first experience candidates have with not just the hiring pipeline, but likely your business itself, standing out amid the thousands of job ads each candidate comes across becomes necessary to stay top-of-mind. Crafting detailed, effective job descriptions and combining with an inviting application process encourages qualified talent to apply and stay engaged throughout the entire hiring process.


Keeping Job Descriptions Clear & Realistic

Obviously, businesses use job postings to set job expectations from the get-go, but this can be harder than expected. Roughly one-third of employees quit within six months of hire, and in many of these cases the applicant’s expectations for the job do not meet the realities of the company and position.

To help prevent this, ensure job descriptions clearly communicate expectations, such as the following.

  • Daily responsibilities
  • Skills that would drive success in the role
  • Experience needed (necessary vs ideal) and how it relates to the role

To get the best possible pool of talent, it’s important to keep expectations realistic. Not every skill from talented workers shows up on a resume, so needlessly having a high bar in the hopes of gathering an elite pool of candidates may instead find the best candidates for the position have been eliminated before even speaking with a manager.

In addition, a section on company values and culture should communicate the type of working environment applicants should expect. Nobody benefits when a new hire feels the need to quit an inadequate culture fit months in and managers must rededicate time to recruitment.

While all of this seems like an overwhelming amount of information, the trick to a truly effective job posting is to balance necessary information with as minimal a description as possible. This communicates expectations to potential applicants without discouraging submissions stemming from a novella of duties and requirements.

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Build Trust Early with Transparency

As mentioned, a job ad is the first touchpoint between your business and a candidate, so establishing trust from the start makes for a greater likelihood of long-term employment. In job descriptions, this means avoiding vague statements and giving applicants fair insight into the mechanics of the position.

In other words, you should explicitly include the following.

  • Intended range of hours Candidates want to know how a job fits into their already busy schedules. Let them know from the beginning so they can make plans as soon as possible. Keep in mind too few hours will turn away candidates seeking gainful employment (as opposed to, say, students looking for supplemental income after classes), while too many hours for a part-time position may signal to applicants an intent to push work as close to 40 hours per week as possible without having to pay benefits. The shorter the gap in your range, the clearer the picture becomes.
  • Pay (range) What’s the best way to communicate goodwill to potential candidates? Show them the pay they’ll be earning – don’t make them guess. It’s not just a sentimental showing, states such as New York recognize wage transparency promotes equal and fair pay.
  • Benefits Here’s an opportunity to celebrate what you do for your employees. Candidates encounter dozens of companies during their searches, so stand out with offerings beyond pay.
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Convenient Application

Persuasive job descriptions may convince a candidate to pursue the position, but the ensuing application process itself can’t be cumbersome enough to drive away interest. Job hunters can rant for hours about how much they hate having to upload a resume on the first page, then manually fill in some or all of that same information three pages later. Candidates have many applications they’d like to fill out in a given day, so do not make the process so arduous they cut their losses to pursue other opportunities.

Here are some ways you can achieve a simplified, engaging candidate experience.

  • Mobile experience Today’s candidates seek a modern approach to job applications. In addition to a traditional desktop option, employers should also have a convenient, mobile-optimized applicant tracking system (ATS) to field applications from tablets and phones.
  • Quick & easy Limiting applications to a page or two is sufficient to log a candidate in an ATS while giving managers much of the information they need to make a decision. For any lack of information, managers or HR professionals can reach out to candidates or ask in interviews, but it’s crucial to build a strong base of applicants. Despite conventional wisdom, having a lengthy application does not weed out “unmotivated” workers, but instead needlessly convinces 60 percent of all candidates the process is a waste of time.
  • Stay in touch After completing an application, candidates want prompt follow-up, whether to schedule an interview or learn why they were rejected. Some ATS systems have built-in communication features that allow for real-time text and/or email notifications between candidates and hiring managers to ensure applicants stay engaged throughout the process.

If you’re struggling to attract talent, it may stem from a lacking application process. To build a robust talent pool to source from, pair more engaging job descriptions with a process that’s easier to complete.

Interested in an ATS solution that makes for an easier and more engaging application process? Learn how PeopleMatter is tailor-built to serve the needs of organizations employing hourly workers:

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