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Why Aren’t Candidates Applying For Your Jobs?

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The Problem

You’ve spent time and money on a fantastic new website. You learned more than you ever wanted to know about SEO (search engine optimization). You researched which job boards your ideal candidates are using, but you aren’t getting the candidates you need to fill your job orders. Now you want to know why.

A mistake many staffing companies make that is causing low conversion rates (views to applicants) is that they don’t treat their job postings for what they are: an advertisement.

If you want to generate more qualified applications, think like a potential candidate – and write your job advertisements accordingly:

“What’s in It for Me?”

A recruiter spends an average of 6 seconds reviewing a resume before deciding yes/no/maybe. A job candidate is probably giving your job posting the same amount of time before deciding to read on or move on.

With the number of job boards and automated job alerts available to job seekers, the amount of postings they are searching through is overwhelming. If you don’t satisfy their “what’s in it for me” criteria at first glance you are going to lose them.

“You Had Me At Hello”

Anyone who has seen the movie Jerry McGuire inadvertently learned a few valuable business lessons. It’s not a good idea to put all your efforts toward a single income source (it may have worked out for Jerry…but it’s a movie). The other is to hook your target audience right away. The top of your job posting should be an attention-grabbing headline. Job hunting is BORING. Anything you can do to make your post stand out from the other posts the candidate is sifting through will increase your chances they will give you more than 6 seconds of their time.

Instead of: Manufacturing company currently seeking order picker for 1st shift.
Consider: Air-Conditioned facility and a work schedule that will get you home for the kids after school!


Instead of: Administrative assistant needed for general office duties.
Consider: If you love variety in your job, we have the perfect opening for you!

Ask your customers why employees like working for their company and use that feedback in your headlines.


Directly below the headline, you should include a sentence containing general information about where they would be working. When a job seeker is applying directly with a company, they can determine if it is someplace they might be interested in working. A disadvantage you have as a staffing company is the job seeker doesn’t have this information, and that could deter them from applying. Get over your fear that your competitors will figure out who your customers are. They probably already know.

Instead of: The position is located in Milwaukee
Consider: We have partnered with a company in Milwaukee that manufactures and distributes restaurant supplies.

“I Need the 411”

Your candidate has made it this far through your job posting, so you have their interest. Now you need to keep it! This is where bulleted lists come into play. Each candidate has different criteria for what is most important to them. For some, it might be pay, for others work schedule, location or benefits. This information should be easy to identify and not buried in long paragraphs of text. For example:

  • $14.50 per hour
  • M-F 6:30AM – 3:00PM
  • Northern Milwaukee suburb
  • Voluntary overtime available during peak season
  • Health benefits
  • Sick leave pay
  • Holiday pay
  • Referral and attendance bonuses

“What Am I Doing Here?”

Job duties should also be listed as bullet points. Keep the number to four or five if possible. There will be time later to discuss a more comprehensive job description.

The same rule should be followed for position requirements. Only list the requirements that are absolutely necessary for the job. Examples would include: must be able to lift 50 pounds, forklift certification or proficient in Microsoft Word and Excel.

Avoid subjective or soft skills requirements like “must be detail-oriented” or “good problem-solving skills”. Including a long list of requirements will clutter up your job post and let’s face it, have you ever heard anyone say “I have horrible problem-solving skills”?

Too many job requirements may dissuade a potential applicant from applying. If you get someone who is under-qualified for a job, you may be able to place them on another open position.

“Now What?”

This might sound obvious, but your job posting should have a call to action. Tell the candidate what they should do next and what to expect. It is discouraging for applicants to spend 30 minutes filling out an online application (which is way too long to begin with) only to find out they are required to take a math and reading comprehension test at the end of it. That isn’t the ideal way to start off the employment relationship. Applying for jobs is time-consuming and repetitive, so the more streamlined you can make it, the less drop off you will have mid-application, and the more likely you are to convert them from a job seeker to an employee!

Shameless Plug

At Haley Marketing, we’ve recently given our Career Portal (job board) an overhaul. We can seamlessly integrate our Career Portal with your ATS and automate pushing your jobs to other job sites. Your personalized Job Board Dashboard will give you all the data you need to determine which job postings are working for you! Contact a Marketing Advisor today to learn more about our Career Portal technology!

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