Talent Acquisition (TA) leaders and professionals today are constantly running against the clock and uncertain budgets to achieve their hiring goals. They often face significant challenges at almost every turn in the hiring process.

First, there is the longstanding challenge of finding and attracting the right talent. And contrary to what you may expect, a large number of job applicants – due to the major upheavals in the labor market caused by COVID-19 – doesn’t really mean an easier recruitment process. If anything, screening and identifying the candidates that meet your job criteria takes a lot more work now than it used to.

Then, there’s the challenge of time. Highly qualified candidates in most roles aren’t available for very long in the market – before they are hired by your peers or competitors.

Finally, recruitment teams today are faced with reduced and uncertain budgets, forcing TA professionals to explore more creative and cost-effective ways to source the most qualified talent.

Here are some best practices for you to attract, capture, and retain more qualified candidates in your recruitment funnel:

1. Ensure your job titles are enticing, accurate, and meaningful

When a candidate is looking for a job, they usually search by “job title.” Job titles have a major influence on how your job posting is ranked – and even more on how it is understood and which candidates apply.

Be clear and concise when creating your job title – and avoid stuffing too many keywords. It can be helpful to call out certain niche skills (for example, Emergency Room Nurse). Also try to avoid abbreviations as much as you can. For example, say “Business Development Representative,” instead of “BDR.”

It’s also important to make your job title attractive – no one likes boring copy. Offering – great compensation? Best-in-class employment benefits? An amazing work culture? Remote work opportunities? Briefly highlight why your organization is the best place to be, for a certain role.

Conduct a bit of research on your competitors and find out what job titles they’re using. Also run a quick search on a few major job boards to view the top results for a particular job position.

2. Invest time and resources in well-written job descriptions – tailored to your positions

Job descriptions, when done well, can go a really long way in attracting the most relevant talent for your open positions.

Conversely, badly written job descriptions (and there are so many out there!), can invite a large volume of subpar candidates, resulting in lower recruiter productivity. Bad or confusing job descriptions also make it very difficult to screen or score applicants – and nearly impossible to filter and prioritize them for the subsequent stages of your hiring process.

So what makes a good job description? First off, it must be tailored to the position that it is for.

Many companies rely on templatized job descriptions that have been posted by their peers hundreds of times. As a result, far too often, not-so-similar job openings end up with very similar job descriptions. The best way around this is to create an extensive range of job description templates. While some of these sections can be templatized (particularly “About the company”), the rest of the description should be created for that specific job position – ideally by the hiring manager or someone who has a good idea of the exact functional (and other) requirements of the job.

It is also important that you highlight the skills and responsibilities that are truly must-haves. These “must-haves” may vary based on job type – for example, for some jobs, it might be essential to mention details such as number of work hours expected, salary per hour, timings/shifts, and work location.

3. Remove bias from your job descriptions

Recruiters, often, inadvertently introduce subconscious bias or discriminatory requirements (gender, culture, race, etc.) in their job descriptions. To be clear, in most cases, this is only due to the way they’ve been trained on diction over the years (and not due to any inherent bias). Still, a job description with such bias, greatly limits the number of qualified job seekers it appeals to and ends up making a large portion of them feel left out.

Flawlessly written, bias-free job postings have the power to attract and engage a large number of highly qualified job seekers – even passive candidates that require a little more persuasion to activate.

Recruitment technology providers have been trying to solve this problem for years and a few have been very successful to a great extent. For example, Get-optimal.com has built a gender decoding tool that automatically removes any trace of gender bias in your job descriptions.

4. Run targeted job ads with a programmatic job advertising platform

If you have already checked all the boxes of creating an enticing and meaningful job title, the perfect job description, and eliminating bias, the next step is to decide where your job ad will be shown. Posting your job ads on random job boards, manually assigning budgets (bids), and using intuition (instead of data) to make recruitment advertising decisions, can all result in subpar performance, high cost-per-hire, and poor applicant quality.

Deploying a programmatic job advertising platform to run targeted job ads automatically on the most effective job boards, solves all these problems.

Programmatic job advertising eliminates the guesswork and inefficiencies inherent in traditional (manual) job advertising. It leverages your data to select the best job sites/channels to post your ad – and automatically assign bids – to help you find significantly more qualified candidates, which are more likely to convert to hires. A machine learning based platform also constantly learns and improves itself based on your hiring outcomes, creating an intelligence loop.

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5. Leverage social and search advertising for your job ads

In addition to posting your recruitment ads on job boards, explore search engine marketing and social media advertising options to reach out to a larger pool of qualified candidates. Google, LinkedIn, Facebook, and other media, allow you to target both active and passive job seekers in a very sophisticated manner.

For example, you can target job seekers on Facebook based on their demographics, interests, or behavior. You can also create an affinity audience on Google to reach people based on their lifestyles, passions, and habits. These capabilities are just the tip of the iceberg.

6. Track to hire

A large number of employers stop tracking their talent sourcing process at the “applicant” stage. However, tracking to hire provides you with the insights you need, to evaluate (and improve!) your hiring process and outcomes (as well as recruitment marketing performance) for each applicant source – against your initial goals or assumptions.

If you track to hire, you have the ability to track the hire probability, effectiveness, and costs of all your candidate sourcing channels (job boards, your own career site, search advertising, social media, etc.) and allocate your budgets on those that deliver the most qualified applicants (that are most likely to convert to hires).

7. Make the application process as smooth as possible

If you have an extremely complex and time-consuming job application process, it is going to be a nightmare for you to retain your most qualified applicants in the hiring funnel.

Highly qualified candidates receive a lot of job ads and offers, which means the (overall) candidate experience you deliver, can make or break their decision to complete your application.

Make sure your job application process only has a few mandatory questions – asking only for relevant (preferably, only must-have) information. Also ensure it has a great mobile (and tablet) user experience. Try to avoid sign ups as much as possible (or have a really easy way to sign up).

8. Tap into your existing candidate database

Sometimes, your most qualified applicants are right under your nose – and they may have been there for a long time!

Your candidate database may be home to several applicants who may not have been hired earlier, but could be extremely relevant for a current job opening. You could potentially reach these candidates for almost zero or very little cost – using email or retargeting.

9. Encourage employee referrals

This is a runaway hit among large enterprises and startups alike, and for good reason. Your employees are the best examples of the kind of talent you want to hire.

When your employees refer candidates they, in a sense, pre-vet them. These candidates are also likely to be great cultural fits within your organization. As a result, applications received via employee referrals tend to, consistently, be of higher quality than those acquired through other channels. When implemented at scale, this channel can significantly improve your time-to-hire and cost-per-hire metrics.

10. Bolster your employer brand – start with social media

Nothing beats a strong, authentic employer brand when it comes to attracting qualified candidates organically. The word “authentic” is key. To attract the right talent for your organization, it’s vital to communicate who you are and what you stand for, as an employer.

Of course, it takes time and resources to build and grow brand credibility, which is why it is all the more important to ensure you keep at it continuously and consistently.

Perhaps, the fastest (and least resource-intensive) way to get started is by activating your social media channels. Not only will this help you increase brand awareness and recall, you can also use your social channels to connect with and nurture relationships with potential candidates.

While LinkedIn is an obvious choice here, remember that Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are also highly effective options – each giving you access to diverse audiences. In fact, for certain roles, Facebook has emerged as one of the most powerful platforms to source highly qualified talent, especially after the launch of its Facebook for Jobs feature. (Here are 7 best practices for sourcing job applicants on Facebook.)

In summary, there are a number of different strategies and tactics you can focus on to get more qualified job applicants in your hiring funnel. The impact of each of these will depend on the nature of your business; the types of jobs; your organization’s talent acquisition, employer branding, and recruitment marketing capabilities; and the state of the overall economy and labor market.

It’s important to determine the right recruitment marketing metrics and constantly track them – to not only measure outcomes, but also inform your decisions and enable you to tweak or pivot your strategy – as needed.

To learn more about how Joveo’s programmatic job advertising platform can help you get more qualified applicants in your recruiting funnel, schedule a demo with us today!