The definitive guide to turning off potential employees


What are the factors that determine the number of candidates to apply for positions at your company?

A) The number of potential candidates

B) The quality of your advertising

C) The ease of the application process

D) Company reputation

E) Salary & benefits

G) All of the above

If you clicked through to read this post, you must have had a little niggling doubt in your mind that your company could be doing a better job at attracting talent.

Maybe it’s because you thought your job ad was killer but you’re not getting the hoards of candidates you thought you be by now. Or maybe it’s because you’ve never received the amount of applications you thought you would have done for several jobs over the years.

Either way, you have your suspicions that your company’s application process isn’t all it’s cracked to be, and you want to know where you’re going wrong and how can you fix it.

You can’t control the number of potential candidates, particularly in a specialised industry or in a skills shortage, but you have 110% control over everything else which will make it a hell of a lot easier to attract that elusive candidate than if you didn’t put effective strategies in place.

The quality of your advertising

Yesterday I was scrolling through seek doing some research for a client when I came across this ad;

Truck Driver

Must have HR Licence, Full Time. Northern Suburbs.

I kid you not, this was the ad, they paid $280 to give no information away what so ever other than they need the appropriate drivers licence to do the job. When you advertise you have to think of it from a sales perspective, include info about your company, do you offer additional employee benefits such as bonus’, salary packaging, relocation? well tell job seekers about it. If you have the budget for it choose a standout ad, this will allow you to put three bullet points related to the position or your company in the search results screen, this is the best possible way to grab a candidates attention for them to view your ad. Try to include as much clear, concise info as you can for job seekers without them dying of boredom while scrolling through a ton of content. The majority of job seekers will view your job ad on a mobile device, to grab their attention straight away structure your seek ad so the job details are first, then skills & experience requirements, how to apply & at the end include a brief overview of your organisation with links to your website for further information. If you fill the top part of the ad with “padding” about your company you risk them not taking the effort to scroll down to view the position on offer and navigating away. For more info on a killer advertising campaign read Are you selling Kalgoorlie and your brand when you recruit

The ease of the application process

How many of you have seen advertisements for low level or entry level positions asking candidates to address a selection criteria? Several years ago my son applied for an apprenticeship at a local organisation, as part of his application he was required to address a 6 point selection criteria. When you think of the target market for apprenticeship candidates what do you think of? School leaver, unskilled labour, minimal work experience, youth. Do you think this particular employer has a good understanding of structuring their application process to meet their target market?

The first thing you need to know (if you did’t already) is that today’s job market is a candidate driven one and the quality of their application experience can and will influence their perception of the company they’re dealing with.

In the past, the application process has always favored recruiters and employers. We’ve always expected that if a candidate wants a job badly enough, they’ll take time out of their schedule to put together an application and fill out our forms regardless of how long that might take them. We’ve also always assumed that we need not contact everyone who has applied, just the people we believe are a good fit for the job in the end.

When I worked for a big worldwide miner we had a recruitment database that linked with seek, so when the candidate clicked “apply now” they were taken to the application portal where, to be able to apply for the position, they had to complete 2 screens of personal & work info, all of which could be found on their resume. Then they uploaded their resume and sent it the application off. At the height of the resources boom they conducted analysis on the application software and found that 40% of potential applicants were abandoning their applications. So, we were able to entice them to apply with a fabulously creative job ad, but failed to persuade them to complete an application, we lost our talent to someone else.

For more information on how your poor recruitment practices can drive candidates away read Stop ghosting your candidates

Company reputation

When a company has a bad reputation, whether it’s earned by poor business decisions, poor customer service, or unhappy employees, business is simply more difficult to conduct. It becomes challenging to retain customers, employees and other important stakeholders, making the costs of doing business significantly higher. Having a bad reputation can make business operations more difficult every step of the way.

In the last eight or so years, the evolution of social media and access to information has changed the employment game. Job seekers have the ability to do their homework on an employer before they bother to apply. If they don’t like what they learn about your company online, they skip applying. 95 percent of job seekers surveyed say an employer’s reputation impacts their decision. This should be a wake-up call for employers. The best talent doesn’t waste their time on companies that seem like losers. Which means, the only people bothering to apply to your jobs are the less qualified, desperate job seekers – the ones you don’t want to hire! In fact, those surveyed said they wouldn’t even consider a job with a bad company unless they offered at least a 50 percent pay increase over what they were currently making.

Regardless of what is occurring in the labour market, the best-of-the-best will avoid working for you once they learn you have a bad reputation. If productivity matters to your company, then a shift in mindset towards building and marketing an exceptional employer brand is the most cost-effective way to ensure you’re capable of hiring the best at all times.

Salary & benefits

Wages may be classed as an operating expense, but like any good investment staff salaries can deliver healthy returns. Your business may have a great product or service but the true strength of the firm lies with your people – and top talent deserves to be well remunerated.

Salary levels are still a crucial element when it comes to attracting and retaining the best people. Companies that do not offer competitive pay packets can put themselves out of contention when it comes to sourcing top talent. As the employment market is constantly in flux, business owners & managers should constantly evaluate and adjust compensation policies in order to be seen as a desirable company to work for – one that pays competitive salaries. Put simply, low salaries are just false economy.

It’s not easy, but key to attracting the right talent is being the best business you can be. Pay well, build a strong and positive culture, promote your company with a detailed and engaging look at what you have to offer and be connected and respected in your industry – get these right and there is little doubt the best in the business will want to work for you.

Outsourcing your HR function can help you save money, manage risk & gain greater employee satisfaction.

Based in Kalgoorlie, The People & Culture Office is an independent HR Consultant who can partner with you to offer a one stop HR solution, we only charge you for the work we perform; no contracts, no annual or monthly fees, just quality service. Click here to learn more