Hiring can be hard—especially when no one is applying to your job listing, even though lots of candidates are viewing your ad. When an employer has a tough time getting many, or any, qualified applicants to respond to their job listing, it is often a case of the “Field of Dreams Syndrome”: the belief that “if you post it, they will come,” which is certainly very rarely true.
In today’s competitive market, it’s not enough to post your job listing in the usual places, sit back and wait for dozens of incredible applications to roll in. You have to be proactive if you want to attract great candidates.
Here are four potential reasons your job listing isn’t working, and how to fix each problem.
Problem #1: You’re not paying enough.
Solution: Most employers approach salary from an internal perspective: What can the company afford to pay? What do you pay employees in similar roles in the company?
But it’s not all about what you want to pay; it’s about what the market demands. Research what similar employers are offering for this kind of position, and be prepared to match it. You can’t claim to pay a “competitive salary” unless you’re truly being competitive.
As a hiring manager, you may be required to offer a salary range that’s predetermined by other people in your company. Don’t let this stop you from doing your research and making recommendations. (And omitting a mention of salary doesn’t solve the problem; you’ll just delay your candidate’s disappointment when it comes time to negotiate.)
If you’ve had a difficult time filling a role over a long period of time, this is the perfect opportunity to present salary research to your higher-ups. Let them know that you believe the salary offering is the main reason the position hasn’t been filled, and see what happens.
Problem #2: Your location is a tough sell.
Solution: Location is hugely important, and we often don’t give it enough thought when writing job listings. The possibility of a long commute can make even the most amazing applicant think twice.
Don’t let applicants slip through your fingers without a fight. Make sure your listing includes a short sentence or two that sells them on the location.
For example, “Easily accessible by public transportation,” “A short, scenic 20-minute drive from the city center,” “Across the street from the best burrito place in town,” etc. It’s up to you to overcome any objections about location.
Problem #3: Would-be applicants don’t know enough about the job to be enticed.
Solution: There’s a fine line between overwhelming applicants with too much information, and giving them so little they don’t understand the role. At the very least, you should outline a few big-picture responsibilities as well as a handful of daily tasks.
A good rule of thumb is to ask someone outside your company to take a look at your job listing before you post it. Ask them two questions: “Do you understand what this job is?” and “Does this sound enticing?” If they answer “no” to either question, take another look.
Problem #4: Would-be applicants are confused by your company.
Solution: It’s easy to focus so much on the role at hand that you forget to talk about your company as a whole. Be sure to include a few brief sentences about what your company does. Avoid lengthy paragraphs and industry buzzwords; short and sweet is all you need.
And don’t forget to sell your company by mentioning any unique perks and benefits. You’d be surprised how much your candidates care about the details: work-from-home days, extended maternity leave, company softball team, etc.
Make some time in your busy day to go through your job listings and change ’em up based on this list. Don’t get sucked in by Field of Dreams Syndrome. If you post it, they might not come. If you optimize it, they will!
For more on job listings that attract the best talent, check out Elements of a Successful Job Listing. Once you’ve optimized, hop over to the the Mediabistro Employers page to get your new-and-improved job listing in front of thousands of potential applicants.