Take Your Pick: How to Attract More Qualified Applicants

As the economy strengthens and unemployment rates fall, many HR directors are seeing fewer resumes in their in-boxes. While that can be a good thing if you’ve been deluged with applicants, a slow-down in applications could also mean a decline in the number of highly qualified new hires you find. Just going for quantity isn’t enough; no department in your organization only aspires to having enough warm bodies to fill openings. Here’s how to amplify your hiring signal in the midst of the noise qualified applicants now hear when entering the job market.

Look in the Right Places

A free online listing, a post on university message boards, a flyer tacked to a local coffee shop’s bulletin board – all of these produce applicants, but are they equally good sources of new talent? That depends on what you want. To fill an entry-level IT position, a university is a good place to start your search. If you’re looking for local musicians to enliven a restaurant’s Sunday brunch, that coffee shop might be your best bet. Match the message and medium to your desired audience, and you’ll get a higher proportion of qualified applicants.

Consider Company Culture

As an HR director, you’re in a unique position to see what happens when otherwise qualified candidates don’t align well with company culture. It’s more important than many people outside the HR office realize, which is why you should take it into account from the outset by focusing your recruiting efforts among an audience that fits your corporate culture. If you’re part of a high-energy start-up that welcomes daredevils, list openings on bulletin boards and social media where risk-takers tend to congregate. To find experienced workers who can lend stability to an office, consider municipal employment services.

Share What You Have to Offer

As you browse a stack of resumes for qualified applicants, job-seekers are doing the same for companies, and you may not even see the best and brightest if you haven’t given them a reason to apply. Ask yourself what you have that interests your ideal candidate. Do you have ample opportunity for advancement? Is your organization gearing up for a major expansion? Are you accommodating of telecommuting workers or those who prefer flexible hours? Is your benefits package one of the best in your industry? Don’t be bashful about presenting your organization in its best possible light to candidates; you’re in competition for the top talent, and you want that edge.

Learn Where Your Efforts Don’t Pay

Just as important as knowing where to look is knowing where you haven’t had positive results in the past. Look over past resumes from candidates you didn’t choose and see if there are common threads within them. Did many of them come from social media listings or online job boards? Were they referrals? Whatever their source, pinpointing listings that didn’t produce results saves you time and energy with future listings.

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