Just because you go to the trouble of writing a job description, doesn’t mean anyone will take the trouble to read it.
Right now, demand for talent is at an all time high. Skilled, employed professionals, AKA passive candidates, are being bombarded with job opportunities on a daily or weekly basis. At the same time, the majority of hiring managers who are having difficulty hiring, are siting a lack of suitable candidates as the answer.
Hiring managers responding to the question, “What is holding managers back from hiring?” in MRI’s 2015 Recruiter Sentiment Survey, are saying:
What is holding Managers back from Hiring?
- 31% Hiring Managers are not finding enough suitable candidates to fill positions
- 27% Lengthy hiring practices
- 17% Not offering Competitive compensation packages
- 13% Hiring managers meeting resistance in getting approval to fill open positions
From this data, we can conclude a few things. The first conclusion, is that most companies aren’t marketing their jobs in a way that attracts the highly skilled candidates that they want to hire.
The second conclusion, is that when most companies do source a desirable candidate, overlong screening/hiring cycles, internal resistance and stingy offers thwart their ability to make strong hires or make hires at all.
This is not the way that good hires are made, but don’t just take our word for it.
According to the same study, 90% of recruiters say that employers “are hiring in a primarily candidate-driven market.” Due in part to the increased demand for niche skill-sets, we are all trying to hire in a job market in which candidates have more options that we’re used to them having. The only problem is, employers haven’t adjusted their hiring policies to account for these job market conditions.
Here are some of the Recruiter comments from the study, to get the world from the front lines:
- “It’s a competitive environment where the candidate has both other opportunities and, likely, an employer who doesn’t want him or her to leave. It’s almost gotten to the point where if no counteroffer is made, you wonder about the quality of the candidate.”
- “Despite being in a heavily candidate-driven market for several years, most companies still follow antiquated hiring practices, even for critical positions. They refuse to acknowledge that the market is candidate-driven.”
- “The number one reason why deals fail is TIME. The average timeframe for new hires is 3-4 weeks. Clients who take more than a month to interview, offer, and hire will have a much harder time attracting top talent … simply put, their competitors are doing it faster!”
There are no guarantees of success, only guarantees of failure. If you aren’t marketing your job opening like a job opportunity, then you aren’t going to attract the skilled candidates that you want to hire. If you aren’t able to screen the top candidates you do attract, quickly, then they will accept other offers. If you aren’t able to extend a competitive offer to top candidates, they will accept another offer.
The way we used to hire isn’t cutting it. For years, even decades, employers have been enjoying the perks of an employer-driven job market, where the person with the job opening had all of the leverage. Today, many employers are still acting like they have this leverage, and are losing out on talent because of it.
If you want to make great hires, you’re going to have to offer candidates a great application experience and some great reasons to join your company. If you don’t take the steps to ensure a quality candidate experience, then you will keep losing out on talent to companies that do.
How to (NOT) Ruin your Candidate Search
A great application experience is one that starts strong and doesn’t give candidates any cause for concern. Now, “great” is used to describe everything from great walls to GRRRRR-eat breakfast cereal, but a offering a “great” candidate experience isn’t as simple as calling it great. It also begins a long time before anyone actually comes in for an interview.
These days, candidates are trusting employer review sites like Glassdoor over anything that your “About Us” page says. This is forcing companies to “walk the walk” when it comes to their staffing practices, as to minimize the number of disgruntled reviews they get online. While you are free to ignore this trend, try a side-by-side comparison of your “About Us” page and the reviews of your company that your current and former employees have posted.
- If you were a candidate, what would this comparison tell you?
- Do the reviews of your employees support the “official” version on your company’s website?
- How do these reviews make your company look, objectively?
If you want to give your candidates a great application experience, it starts by making sure that these two versions of the truth don’t conflict with each-other. When a candidate wants to know more about your company after reading your job description, you want to support their interest with good reviews and interesting content, not give them reasons to question you as an employer.
Once you’ve made sure that the first search result for your company isn’t hideous employee reviews, turn your attention to the content of your job description. Just like you don’t want bad reviews throwing off your applicants, you don’t want a poorly written or vague job description to stop them from applying in the first place. Now, you don’t have to write the next “Game of Thrones,” but your job description should highlight the most interesting aspects of your open job and it should definitely sound like you know what you’re talking about.
If it doesn’t sound like you know what you’re talking about, then it will sound like phony fluff to the people who really know their stuff. If you want to hire top talent, then you’re going to have to speak to the technically interesting aspects of the position, even if you haven’t ever filled that position before.
Right now, most job openings are for newly-created positions, meaning that half of you will be writing your job descriptions from scratch. According to the same survey, these are the reasons that jobs are being advertised:
What is causing job openings?