Where did all the candidates go?

At the same time nearly every employer is scrambling to attract more candidates, many organizations chase the good ones away without even realizing it. Here are 7 reasons why quality candidates may not apply at your company.

  1. Credential creep. Application requirements go beyond what is truly necessary to do the job. For example, these issues can discourage applicants:
  • X years of experience. Few companies have any evidence that more years equals better performance. Maybe it does. Maybe it doesn’t. But having excessive experience requirements in the Age of Googlization is a sure-fire reason why you’re not attracting candidates.
  • Industry experience required. Really? Have you never heard about transferrable skills such as problem solving, persuasiveness, drive, communication, team leadership?
  • Specific degree required. So a college degree or MBA is worth more than 10 years’ of experience? Unless a degree is required for licensure, consider all forms of education including on-the-job training or life experience.
  • Requiring experience and education in order that a company can forego training is a bad idea, especially in this tight labor market.
2. Application abandonment. The application should be a tool to gather basic information to qualify (or disqualify) a candidate. Lengthy and cumbersome applications are one of the biggest reasons candidates don’t apply for jobs.
3. Avoid this pet peeve. The #1 complaint we hear from candidates occurs when a company requires him/her to complete an application after he/she just uploaded his/her resume with the same information.
4. Don’t be stingy. Wages and benefits must be competitive with other employers. Don’t limit your research and pay scales to just your industry because workers can accept jobs in unrelated businesses when better pay or opportunity is available. The cost of an extended vacancy or loss of a good employee is just too high.
5. Ignore your employment brand at your peril. When workers were aplenty, mobility was difficult, and word-of-mouth was local, companies could sweep a bad reputation under the rug.  Today, sites like Glassdoor and job boards like Indeed include employee review ratings. And social media puts word-of-mouth on steroids.

6. Ban the box. Integrity is important but don’t be too quick to dismiss a good candidate who has blemish on his or her criminal history, especially if not relevant to the job or it was committed in well in the past.

7. Don’t ghost your candidates. The candidate experience has gotten so frustrating that many potential employees refer to the online job search as a “black hole,” where they submit resumes and applications, never to be seen or heard from again. You don’t need to become BFFs with applicants but you can’t ignore them either.