No entry signIn the face of global talent shortages, it is surprising to find that many firm’s hiring processes are serving as a deterrent to attracting the talent that they so desperately seek.

Yes, the hiring process of many companies unknowingly includes features and elements that are deterring applicants from: applying for the role, recommending their business to others, completing the application form and/or following through with the recruitment process.

I thought it would be a good time to identify some of these deterrents to hiring, and below you can find a list of several ways that your hiring process could be turning off applicants— along with some simple suggestions on how to remedy the situation.

1. Your job descriptions may be difficult to comprehend

A 2012 survey from Monster of more than 2000 job seekers has revealed that 57 percent of respondents would be put off applying for a role which includes jargon. ‘Leverage’, ‘Self Starter’, and ‘Bottle Neck’ were considered to be the worst offenders for jargon.

The survey also found that 64 percent of respondents said they would not apply for a job if they did not understand the title, with 40 percent saying that they regularly see job titles that they don’t understand. 

So my advice here—assuming you aren’t doing so already —would be to minimize use of jargon in job adverts and use commonly referenced job titles that are recognized industry wide.

2. Has the advert been up for too long?

Some fascinating research reported by Computer Futures found that job ads that have been up for more than two months will deter many candidates from applying as they will presume there is something ‘wrong’,  even if the delay is due to benign administrative issues.

If you have failed to fill a role after a couple of months, it may be worth pausing the campaign for a few months to allow the market-place to refresh itself and then you can try again with a new ad and new audience—and/or you could try re-posting the advert under a new, but still meaningful job title.

3. Have you talked about growth and stability in your job description?

This particularity applies to small businesses and start-ups as two common concerns that applicants often hold about start-ups are lack of financial stability and career progression opportunities. And since a recent survey from Randstad shows that 86 percent of employees are leaving jobs due to lack of career development opportunities, today’s top talent may be deterred from applying to small businesses—if they feel career progression may be limited.

To counter these perceptions which could be deterring applicants, I suggest that start ups and small businesses include a statement in their job description which talks about stability, growth aspirations and career development opportunities.

4. Have you clearly expressed the company culture in your job description?

As we all know, company culture is a crucial ‘pull factor’ in today’s climate. People want to work for companies that reflect their own personal values, ethics and work/life style preferences.

If your job description does not include an enticing culture statement then you may deter applicants who may be drawn to other firms who promote their culture more effectively in their job adverts. So, I recommend including a company culture statement.

5. Does your ATS make it easy for applicants to apply?

Online application systems can be more cumbersome than simply e-mailing  a resume and cover letter, which means they can be a source of frustration for candidates. Also, some ATS’s are more user friendly than others.

I’d recommend that you do a study and actually go through the application process for your own company and compare that to your competitors. Is is easier or harder? If you find it is harder you may be deterring applicants—as they may be taking the path of least resistance to your competition—and you may need to change your ATS to one which enables a much quicker, more candidate friendly application experience.

6. Do you reply to all applicants whether successful or not?

According to a survey by Startwire of 2000 jobseekers, 77 percent of candidates think less of companies who don’t respond to applicants and 72 percent would be deterred from recommending or speaking positively about a company online that did not respond to their application. The message here is clear.

7. Do you offer candidates flexible interviewing options?

Passive candidates (who represent a huge slice of the candidate market) may be deterred from applying if they feel they will have to take time off work to interview (potentially alerting their employer) or if they have to put in significant effort in the early stages of the selection processes.

Therefore, why not state in your job advert that you may be able to offer out of working hours interviews or first-round video interviews for candidates currently working.

8. Is your hiring process too long?

Long hiring processes will deter those who are looking to move quickly and will make applicants susceptible to finding a better opportunity elsewhere. Of course the hiring process should be proportionate to the type and seniority of the position, but if you find that you are experiencing higher than average drop out rates then your interview process may be too slow. Look at measures to speed up your hiring process such as combining first, second and third interviews into one ‘power interview.’

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