Why Candidates Aren’t Applying to Your Jobs

August 9, 2016

It’s a recruiter’s worst nightmare: You need to fill a position at your company, so you write the best job description and wait for talent to apply. The only thing is, no one applies.

What gives?

To find out what keeps candidates from applying to a role – as well as how they want to be recruited overall – we surveyed 26,000 professionals, including 7,000 people who recently changed jobs. And, it turns out the biggest barrier to them applying to a job is not knowing enough about the company or the job itself.

What candidates do when they hear about a job

If a candidate hears about a job (90% of candidates want to hear about new job opportunities) and it peaks their interest, they will do the following before applying:

Based on this information, it’s safe to say that what candidates uncover when they look up your company’s website, read about your company online and talk to employees have a major impact on whether or not they want to reach out and apply. 

So, if you don’t hear back—or no one’s applying, the following might have something to do with it...

1. Your company website is mediocre 

As you saw, the first thing more than half of candidates do after hearing about a job opportunity is visit the company’s website. When this happens, companies—big and small—should be prepared for the type of impact their website will have on potential candidates. Will talent become more interested in a job after visiting your website...or will they be turned off?

If you don’t already have one, consider investing in a careers page to build a strong employer brand and further attract top talent. On this page, make sure to discuss culture and values, as 66% of candidates say this is what they want to know most about your company, followed by perks and benefits (54%) and mission and vision (50%).

Companies like Airbnb, Lyft, Deliotte and more have gone the extra mile to build engaging careers pages, which you can read more about in 9 Things You Should Be Doing on Your Company’s Careers Website. Use these examples to inspire your own careers page. Reeling candidates in through the website early on is key to turning interest into action (ie. applying for the job!).

2. You haven’t developed a strong enough employer brand

Research shows these companies with a strong employer brand spend up to 50% or less on hiring. And it makes sense – if you’re spending too much time trying to recruit candidates, all of that time added up means a bigger drain on your company’s finances. For a job paying $8 per hour, it costs the company about $3,500 when you factor in direct and indirect recruiting costs.

While building an attractive, useful website will contribute to a stronger employer, there’s a lot more you can do. For starters, make sure you have a solid social network presence to recruit and pique the interest of top talent, as this is said to increase job applications by 30% to 50%. In addition, Lars Schmidt, Co-Founder of HR Open Source, created a checklist of employer branding tools that you can start implementing today, including culture and employee blogs, enhanced job descriptions, candidate experience, and more.

The bottom line: As J.T. O'Donnell writes on LinkedIn, either “brand or BE branded.” If you want the company to be associated with a certain story, image or reputation, take the reigns to tell that story. If you don’t, someone else will.

3. You don’t have brand ambassadors

According to our survey, 21% of people who change jobs first heard about the opportunity through an employee and 39% landed the job through a referral. If candidates aren’t applying, it could mean that you don’t have the necessary brand ambassadors to recruit and spread your company’s gospel.

Your employees play a big role in hiring and 89% of job seekers will network with employees when they’re interested in a job.

What should brand ambassadors be prepared to discuss? Candidates are most interested in topics like career trajectory, expectations and workload, “a day in the life of” what it’s like working for your company and simply, an employee’s perspective of the company. If you’re unsure of where to start, read how Adobe empowered its employees to be brand ambassadors.

The longer a position goes unfilled, the more it’ll cost your company. If candidates aren’t applying for jobs in your company, take a long, hard look at your company’s website, ask whether you have a strong enough employer brand and if you have brand ambassadors shouting your good works to the world—and all the talent in it.

To receive blog posts like this one straight in your inbox, subscribe to the blog newsletter.