By Phillip Marquart
Recruitment Marketing Technology Lead

During my time working in the talent attraction and recruitment marketing space, I’ve seen power shift pretty dramatically from the employer to the job candidates. It’s gotten to the point where we are seeing the lowest unemployment since 1969 (3.7%), and there are now more open jobs than unemployed people.

For employers and recruiters, it’s critical that you are using the tools and mindset of 2018/2019 to attract, engage and recruit top talent. It’s tough enough even when you’re doing everything right, but facing additional obstacles will only exacerbate your challenges.

Here are three key obstacles many companies face, and how you can overcome them:

Your Employer Brand Is Poor

A tight labor market means most candidates, especially the good ones, have options. So how does someone compare and contrast companies? Well, for starters, they look at salary. They also pay attention to reputation sites like Glassdoor. Data shows that the higher your company’s rating on these sites, the more likely candidates are to apply.

What should you do? It might not be easy, but this issue requires some soul searching. It’s easy to read negative reviews and say “those aren’t true at all!” But is there some truth to them? Back in 2015, Amazon received some very public negative feedback on their toxic corporate culture. They could have easily said, “nah, that isn’t true” and moved on, but they didn’t. They took that feedback, worked to improve their culture, and years later they are seeing the rewards in better rankings and talent attraction. Ask the tough questions about your employer brand and be prepared for the answers, even if they aren’t pleasant. Then work to change them.

Second, make posting reviews to Glassdoor and other sites part of your culture, maybe even introducing the idea toward the end of onboarding. This way there are recent reviews from current employees and not just negative reviews from former employees.

Third, assuming the public perception is accurate and something you’re comfortable with, just own your culture. If you review some of the most-read “best places to work” rankings, you’ll find many companies that take pride in a “work hard” culture (Bain & Company is a strong example). Owning and embracing your culture will help you attract the right people.

Your Application Process Is Too Long

Chances are your application process is creating a negative candidate experience that is killing your talent funnel. Unless you are the rare case where the application is taking less than five minutes, you are asking too many questions too early. The longer your application takes, the DRAMATICALLY less likely a candidate is to complete your application. Those are good candidates who would love to work for your company, but your application is simply too long and too cumbersome.

What should you do? Your application should work in stages, and you want candidates who are interested in working for your company to easily be able to apply. Name, basic information, and a resume are enough for almost every single position. Review their resumes and do a phone interview. If you want to continue with them, then have them complete your massive (give or take) 381-question application where you ask them for information on their last 32 years of job experience and references. They’ll likely do it then because you have skin in the game, too, especially if you set expectations well.

Your Application Isn't Mobile-Friendly

More and more candidates are applying via a mobile device. When comparing 2016 data to 2017, we see that application rates increased for mobile devices and decreased for desktop users. Now, you might think to yourself, “But my website is mobile friendly, so I’m safe!” Wrong. Your website being mobile friendly isn’t enough. Your application process has to be mobile friendly, too.

What should you do? If you require document uploads, you might drive candidates away. This doesn’t mean you rid your process of document uploads (because c’mon, you need that resume), but perhaps offering a way to upload them from a site like Google Drive would help. Sites like Ziprecruiter offer Ziprecruiter Apply, which is an easy way for candidates to apply and still offer you questions to narrow down your candidate pool.

Attracting, engaging, and recruiting good talent is hard work. But syncing up your employer brand, recruitment tactics, and application processes is essential if you have hopes of keeping up with the current labor market. Once you do, however, you’ll have a competitive advantage in hiring the top talent out there.


Follow Phillip Marquart on Twitter @TheDataNerd or connect with him on LinkedIn.