Top 5 Tips for Attracting the Best Job Applicants

Thu, Aug 23, 2012


The current job market is as competitive as it has ever been, and unfortunately for employers, this can sometimes mean an influx of applications whose quality is something less than commendable. When sifting through endless lazy or poorly-put-together job applications finally becomes too tiring to bear, it’s time to rethink your approach for the ground up. Perhaps there’s something you can actively be doing to attract better applications, or at least ones whose résumés aren’t so embarrassing that they make you want to shut your computer off and quit for the day.

It turns out there are a lot of free things you can do to put your ads in front of the most qualified eyes available. And many of them are things you can very easily do yourself. It might comes as a slight surprise, but weeding out unworthy candidates is quite a bit easier than it seems.

Be Unique.

For one thing, smart individuals respond to smart ads. If your ad is fun, unique, and delivers information about your business in a way that’s different from the thousands of other ads delivering information about the thousands of other businesses that are currently hiring, then a well-qualified applicant is all the more likely to notice it. Make sure that your job listing has been injected with a solid degree of personality. Don’t be afraid to be a little funny or irreverent — the most innovative and forward-thinking individuals and company never are.

Be Specific.

Ask specific questions and request specific information in your ad, but see if you can avoid doing it in an obvious, bullet-pointed form. This will help you determine right away whether or not an applicant has actually read your job listing. Nothing helps separate the qualified from the weak links like the obvious inability to follow directions.

Further, if you include fun or uniquely relevant items in your listing’s requirements, you can offer applicants an opportunity to show their creativity, intelligence, and the early indications of their qualification for the job well before their interview. What’s more is that these displays demand on-the-spot thinking, and don’t let your applicants rely on nicely-packaged cover letters or resumé.

Be (A Little) Demanding

It’s always important to be warm and welcoming in your job listing, but to attract those who are truly interested in working hard and contributing something significant to a business or company, make no bones about expecting the brightest and the best when it comes to your workforce. Of course, it’s best to do this without coming across as elitist, but it can’t hurt to clarify that your company is interested in excellence.

Be Clever.

Requiring that applicants include some information in the subject line is another great way to separate intelligent folks from those that can’t quite follow directions. This will help you cut down on the amount of time-wasting emails with which you have to deal before you even open them. A little bit of inbox vigilance goes a long when your company is hiring and your email is inundated with applications. Nothing is more frustrating than an applicant who is clearly unqualified or has obviously displayed a lack of interest in being thorough or paying attention to detail. Requiring something in the subject line or at the beginning of your email will again, help you weed out those that don’t pay attention, and can also give you an opportunity to check out your applicants’ creative abilities.

Be Thorough.

Make sure you post your listing on as many boards as possible, and be sure to locate and take advantage of any specialty or niche areas, specific to your business or company’s expertise. Posting often and posting to every available website will help you cast the widest possible net and guarantee that you see the biggest variety of potential employers. While this might increase your day-to-day work load just a little bit, it will also give you a wider selection from which to draw your ideal candidate, and that’s never a bad thing.

There is a multitude of sites that connect employers and employees — your presence on them can go a long way toward dictating the types of individuals that wind up responding to your listing.

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