What’s Wrong with Your Job Description and Why No One is Applying for Jobs this Quarter
With economic and labor data at odds, the job market is in a strange place. The US is close to entering a technical recession. The gross domestic product (GDP) dropped in Q1. On the other side of the coin, the unemployment rate has remained flat over the last few months, with workers still in high demand.
Luke Doubler, owner of RecruiterCentral, said, “we’re seeing negative GDP, but an unprecedented need for workers, and a workforce that isn’t large enough to sustain the current job openings.” He went on to say, “employers are leery of hiring certain roles but still have more job openings than we’ve seen in a very long time.”
He noted that per the June 2022 data release, there are currently 11.3 million job openings with only 5.9 million unemployed people to fill them. On top of that, there is still a large pool of the unemployed unwilling to work, and the inflation rate has yet to subside.
This perfectly unusual storm will bring continued frustration for employers in terms of filling science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), skilled production and skilled trade roles. And, on the hiring side of the equation, employers aren’t getting applicants because they aren’t there — the competition for talent remains fierce.
Doubler added that the lack of applicant flow likely comes down to the following issues: your company’s employment brand, how you’re marketing the job, the overall employment proposition you’re offering, your requirements and how easy it is to apply, and the overall total rewards . To start solving these problems and attain better applicant engagement, hiring managers need to know their audience.
Understanding Your Applicant
Know whom your job posting is speaking to, and understand that every demographic may be seeking something different. One simple way to get a handle on this is to ask your own people what they think of the job advertisement and if it resonates with them. Also, highlight things like great company culture, benefits, bonuses, flexibility, new technologies and other perks that might interest people. Then tailor your post to the feedback you receive in a way that search engines will pick it up. Even try A/B testing. Posting the same job, with the same basic requirements, but change up the introduction, but a different spin on the day to day work requirements, the overall purpose of the role, and/or any unusual perks or interesting projects this person will have exposure to.
Search Engine Optimization
In the current environment, hiring managers need to think like marketers. So use keywords and hashtags that allow people to find your post after Google or LinkedIn curates it. Google Trends would be one free and easy tool to leverage. So if you are hiring a DevOps lead, include words that DevOps professional are using to describe themselves, primary languages or tools and other relevant keywords. Other ways to find popular keywords is to view top competitor job desriptons or LinkedIn profile that consistently show up high on searches.
Make the job posting descriptive but do not dilute with vague, non-SEO keywords. Add links to your career site and make it visually appealing. A basic understanding of search engine optimization (SEO) principles will tell you that a long stale post will kill your chances of being found through organic searches — which begs the question, should you pay to post a job and if so, how much?
Paid Vs. Organic Posts
In Luke’s experience, “you can easily spend several $1,000 to post a job, BUT you can spend as little to nothing to post a job and get better results.” If you are going to spend money posting on job boards, it’s important to understand the value they bring. Find out which candidate pools watch which boards, and “how many views you’d be getting for the additional money spent on the job posting.”
“A much more economical way of posting a job is to have your hiring managers share the job posting on your career site and LinkedIn. Then, have them share it with their network as brand ambassadors, which would very likely be extremely relevant. They can also talk about what it’s like to work there. So you could spend several 1000s of dollars to get nothing, or you can perhaps post the job to your LinkedIn network for free and end up targeting really relevant candidates,” said Doubler.
Additional Ways to Increase Candidate Engagement
In addition to these three main points, Luke suggested having some level of authenticity and follow through. He mentioned that using photos of ACTUAL employees and tenstamoney on your career and website makes a great touchpoint for potential employees vs canned stock photos. “It doesn’t have to cost a lot to create a video of current employees sharing their experiences, why they like working there, and long term impacts and career aspirations your employer can offer.
Other hiring deterrents include expectations being set too high. This is a concern, especially when perfectly good applicants are finding, oftentimes better and less expensive, alternatives to the four-year college and internship path. There also needs to be a realistic conversation around how much experience a candidate actually needs. For example, many entry-level jobs require two years of experience, but entry-level candidates don’t have that, leaving them jobless and companies with positions to fill. All in all, labor market dynamics are shifting, and hiring managers need to keep up so positions can be filled. A candidate certainly doesn’t have to look like the current team on paper in order to be a future rockstar.
Founded in 2017, RecruiterCentral has been helping companies fill skilled positions in STEM and upper management. Luke and his team also teach hiring managers and HR departments how to attract and retain talent on their own. If you are a hiring manager with a tough-to-fill position or a skilled STEM candidate, contact Luke and his team at RecruiterCentral.