Times are rough for employers in the government sector looking to hire right now. Between reduced recruiting budgets and a scarcity of qualified candidates, it’s no wonder so many are struggling to fill open positions. Yet, these outside factors aren’t entirely to blame.
The truth is, many government employers may unknowingly be getting in their own way when it comes to bringing in candidates. This also means, however, that they have more control than they think they do over the quality and quantity of government worker applicants they bring in.
Below are four commonly overlooked mistakes government employers make when it comes to bringing in top job candidates – and the solutions available to increase applications and make better hiring decisions.
Mistake #1 – Your job postings don’t compel candidates to apply.
Job seekers spend as little as 30 seconds reviewing a job posting and deciding whether or not to apply, leaving employers a small window of opportunity to catch job seekers’ attention and hold it long enough for them to decide they want to apply. And it’s not only what you say and how you say it that matters, but how you lay it out: 75 percent of job seekers say the look and feel of a job posting influences their decision to apply, according to one CareerBuilder study.
The solution: Think of your job posting as an advertisement: It should be visually compelling, easy-to-read and influence the candidate to “buy” the job opportunity you’re selling. Make it easier for the job seeker to find important information by using bullets to list things like required skills and company benefits, and avoid using long blocks of text. If applicable, add your company logo, which will help your ad stand out, and don’t forget to mention any best places to work awards your organization has won. Remember: The point of the job posting is to answer the question, “What’s in it for me?”
Check out more tips for creating more effective job postings.
Mistake #2 – Your application process needs help.
Can’t figure out why the applications aren’t coming in? Baffled as to why candidates are dropping off? Your application process could be to blame. More than a third of job candidates say they don’t complete the application process because it’s too long and arduous. And nearly 1 in 4 say usability issues – like a broken “apply now” button – make them give up on the application process.
The solution: Have you ever checked to see what the experience is like from a job applicant’s perspective? Test your application process yourself to see where there’s room for improvement. Can you cut down on the length of the process? Are there technical issues you need to address? For additional insight, a solution like CareerBuilder’s Applicant Experience solution can help you pinpoint exactly where candidate drop-off is happening and how to prevent it. Job candidates fill out a survey within 24 hours of interacting with your job posting, and then again a month later. The insight helps you uncover gaps in your application process and find opportunities to make it more effective.
Mistake #3 – You have great benefits (but nobody knows it).
What government organizations can’t always offer in compensation, they can make up for in benefits like pensions, work/life balance and extra days off; however, candidates aren’t mind readers. According to CareerBuilder data, 61 percent of job candidates look for benefits information when applying for jobs; however, only 31 percent of employers post this information on their company profile page.
The solution: Take every opportunity to communicate the benefits of working at your organization. Highlight these benefits on your career site, in your job postings and any other recruitment marketing materials you have. Ask your employees to help you spread the word by creating a robust employee referral program. Recruitment videos are also powerful way to showcase what makes your organization a great place to work.
Learn more about how to communicate your benefits to job seekers.
Mistake #4 – You’re not giving candidates a reason to stick around.
What if, instead of starting from scratch every time you had a new position to fill, you had a pool of qualified candidates already interested in working for you? Perhaps you already have some sort of applicant tracking system, but are you taking advantage of it? Are you keeping it up to date and re-engaging with the applicants to keep them interested in and aware of new opportunities with your government? Today’s candidates want ongoing engagement throughout the recruitment process. They expect to receive emails and newsletters – even text messages – with information about their application status and new job opportunities they might be interested in. Otherwise, they’re going to lose interest and move on.
The solution: If time constraints and limited resources are an obstacle to keeping candidates engaged, it might be time to consider a solution like Talent Network. With Talent Network candidates can quickly and easily join your online talent network from any online asset, thanks to a portable “join” button that lives on your email signature, social media sites and other online platforms. As part of your Talent Network, they will automatically receive targeted job alerts whenever you post new positions that match their skills and experience. And because Talent Network minimizes the length and hassle of the application process, it decreases candidate drop off rates – so you never have to worry that top quality candidates are falling through the cracks.
Check out four key reasons to build your talent pipeline.