Any way you look at it, recruiting new talent is expensive; assessing the challenge through a granular, microeconomic lens, Glassdoor estimates that the average US employer spent about $4,000 and took 24 days to hire a new employee. From a macro perspective, employers globally spend around $25-30 billion on online talent sourcing and recruitment advertising annually.
Once on the job, the costs of bad hires are equally steep. The U.S. Department of Labor estimates that the average cost of a bad hiring decision can equal 30% of the person’s first-year potential earnings. The soft-dollar costs are huge, too; 60% of hiring managers and HR professionals surveyed by Robert Half said that bad hires don’t get along with other employees.
The point is, recruiting is challenging and expensive. Here are seven recruiting mistakes to avoid—and seven ways to optimize your ads to get the right hires at the right cost.
Mistake #1: Bad job titles and descriptions
Biased, ambiguous or repetitive, keyword-stuffed job descriptions, at best, attract less appropriate candidates. Worst case, the candidates are irrelevant. A good job description is like a sales pitch; you’ve got to put more than a basic list of skills, tasks and role requirements into your ad.
In today’s TL;DR culture, the job title and the first couple of sentences must capture candidates’ attention. Beyond a compelling intro, attracting the best applicants requires your recruitment ad to give them a feel for your company culture and brand; quality employees want to invest themselves in organizations that reflect their own values and interests. A good job description should be written in plain, useful language that nonetheless sells the job and your organization. It should include all the basics:
- Job responsibilities
- Salary and benefits
- Skills and requirements
- Logistical information such as location/work from home (WFH) policy, schedule and other requirements such as travel
- A description of what your company does, why it matters and its core values.
The win: Good job titles and descriptions will inform and attract top candidates, not just people who need a job.
Mistake #2: Not targeting ideal candidates
With an estimated 50,000 job sites online today, clearly, not all are created equal. How to choose from thousands of sites? Instinctively, many recruiters and HR professionals post their ads on sites that are easy to use, which have produced good results in the past, and how much it costs to post job openings. This approach results in countless applications without the required skills.
Technologies like programmatic job advertising help target the candidates with the right skillset, in the right location, and also in cities or areas adjacent to the location of the job.
How do you know if your ad targeting is effective? As a rule of thumb, for every 25 candidates who apply, one should be offered the job, a metric that flows from the statistic that on average in 2020, 4% of applicants were hired. If application volumes are too high, job ads may be too vague, or you’re reaching an audience of unsuitable candidates.
The win: Data based approach to job posting puts ads in front of more qualified applicants, faster.
Mistake #3: Not targeting passive candidates
Even though 47 million Americans quit their jobs in 2021 (along with 4.3 million more in January 22), a return to office (RTO) for millions of office workers may have even more people thinking about quitting—making them passive job seekers. In January 2022, for example, Bloomberg reported that more than half of workers would considering quitting before returning to office. A passive candidate is someone who is currently employed and not actively looking for a new job, but might consider an attractive opportunity, if one came along.
The win: Targeting passive candidates via social media and display ads opens up and engages a major pool of new applicants.
Mistake #4: Not creating a talent pool
Not every candidate is the right fit for a particular job—but that doesn’t mean a rejected individual might not be right for a job down the line. Creating a talent pool of qualified, interested candidates can significantly accelerate filling future jobs; ask rejected candidates if you can stay in touch to let them know of future opportunities. You can either manage a list manually or engage with them through a more formal talent pool structure.
Building a talent pool creates a group of “warm leads,” candidates who are already sold on your company and welcome opportunities from it. Cultivating a talent pool can reduce important metrics including time to hire and cost to hire, as improving overall candidate quality.
The win: Having a talent pool gives you a pre-qualified group of potential candidates.
Mistake #5: Having a complex application process
Continuing with the sales analogy from Mistake #1, an application process plagued by complexity and friction will result in what e-commerce marketers call “cart abandonment”—the shopper (candidate) gets frustrated and doesn’t complete the purchase (application). In an era of easy-apply jobs, such as via LinkedIn, applicants always prioritize responding to job postings that can be filled on the go.
Just how important is making your job easy to apply to? A survey by CareerBuilder found that most job seekers prefer a one-click reply and aren’t interested in spending more than 10 minutes on one application. Uploading documents, a posting that takes too long to load or has broken links also result in application abandonment.
Instead, companies can invest in technology that pre-populates or auto-fills key information, saving applicants the time and frustration of manual data entry.
The win: More applicants from job seekers with whom your company has already made a favorable first impression.
Mistake #6: Not knowing where hires come from
Not knowing where hires are coming from is almost as costly a mistake as having no candidates at all. It’s critical to have clarity on which ad, placed where, delivered the successful individual. To do that you’ll need to set up a Funnel Tracking process that answers four questions:
- What sourcing channels do you use?
- Where do the most applications come from?
- Where do the most hires come from?
- Which channel is the most effective?
While most recruiting professionals can easily answer the first two questions, the third and fourth are much more elusive. Identifying the actual source of successful applications is an important data point in deciding which source is working well and where to spend the budget.
The win: With effective Funnel Tracking you’ll know where your best hires are from and can invest time and resources confidently, with more positive outcomes.
Mistake #7: Not having a memorable employer brand
Surprisingly—or not—as of 2022, the average daily social media usage of internet users worldwide is 147 minutes per day, up from 145 minutes in the previous year. In the US, it’s 123 minutes per day. That includes job seekers, too; 80% of applicants use social media in their search. These statistics underscore the fact that creating an employer brand is more important than ever, since social media is an important stage on which to showcase it.
Building a high-impact corporate brand is essential in maximizing awareness and retention about job seekers. Activate your company’s visual brand and voice on social networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube to promote vacancies, your company’s image and values, and maintain relationships with applicants of all ages.
The win: Visual, friendly content increases engagement with job seekers, building affinity that can translate into hired, engaged employees.
Joveo for the win