In today’s recruitment market, it’s more difficult than ever to attract high-quality talent. Getting the right person for the right job at the right time is a struggle at the best of times—let alone in the middle of a pandemic.

In this three-part series, we’ll take a look at actionable ways you can find, attract, and retain the best workers in the industry. This first article will cover how to attract and recruit qualified job candidates online.

Thanks to the wonderful world of the internet, job seekers are able to access in-depth information about a company in an instant. They can research positions available, browse reviews of what you’re like to work for, and see exactly what you’re made of with a simple click of a mouse. There are a variety of sources out there to post career opportunities on, such as local career sites, job boards, and social media platforms like LinkedIn.

However, this just makes the battle to win good workers even harder. You have easy access to all these tools, but so do your competitors. You might get loads of applicants, but they’re not necessarily the right fit for your business.

So how do you increase the number of qualified job applicants applying for your positions?

How to Get the Right Applicants for the Job

First, let’s take a minute to think about who you’re looking for.

If you could clone your best employee, would you? Of course you would. Who doesn’t want their best employee multiplied so they can provide hours upon hours of amazing work that keeps customers happy (and doesn’t require hand-holding from you)?

So now that we know you’re cloning your employee, who are you cloning? Do you have a picture in your mind of who you’d like to clone?

Now think about it. What are they like? What makes them so valuable to your company?

Once you’ve got all the details, it's time to make a profile based on this star employee. Here’s an example to get you started:

Your ideal employee (let’s call him James)

  • 28
  • Engaged
  • Saving up for his first home
  • Wants a family
  • Is licensed
  • Has a great work ethic
  • Nice guy, always has a smile on his face
  • Loves any challenge you throw at him
  • Eager to learn new things every day
  • Not afraid to put in the hard work
  • Always looks to put in overtime
  • Is interested in how things work
  • Is a strong team player

Do you know a "James" in your workplace? Are they exceptional at what they do and hardworking? If so, keep them in your mind when writing up your job application. It'll make it easier to target the right talent if you’ve got a picture of who you want.

Now, take the profile we’ve created for James and compare it with the "generic profile" that’s often posted on recruitment websites.

  • Anyone who has a pulse
  • Aged somewhere between 25 and 50
  • Shows up for work
  • Has their license
  • Only does the bare minimum

Now, think about this: The generic profile works for their paycheck and their paycheck alone. They show up, clock in, clock out, that’s it.

But your star employee (James) works because he believes in his job, takes pride in his work, wants to become something, strives to do the best job possible, and complete his goals.

Who would you prefer to work for you? James, of course. But, how does James help you recruit other staff?

It’s simple: Focus on James as the target audience when you’re recruiting. He’s the type of person you want in your business—and there are others like him out there, you just have to find them. You can find employees just like James by:

  • Focusing on applicant-centered recruiting rather than job-centered recruiting;
  • Writing job posts specifically catered for James or applicants like him;
  • Not writing a cold and impersonal job description; and
  • Highlighting the benefits of working with you, not the demands of the position.

So you’ve found James, and he’s considering applying for the position. How do you make sure he goes for the job?

Keep James’ attention by:

  • Leaving the option to learn more about the job;
  • Showing off benefits that recent hires and current employees are enjoying;
  • Being specific about what the job entails but staying concise; long-winded sentences might make him stop reading; and
  • Always focusing on the applicant and what you can do to help them, not the job.

Three Steps for Securing Qualified Talent

1. Keep them interested

If you want to keep James hooked, then you have to keep him reading. How do you do that?

  • Avoid using industry jargon;
  • Be specific;
  • Show them what a day will be like working with you; and
  • Make sure your job listing can be easily accessed on mobile devices.

2. Spark their ambition

Make them want that job. The easiest way to do this is to tell them a story about your workplace. Get them engaged by how amazing it is to work for you. If you’re placing the ad on your own site or on social media, include a video showing employee testimonials or showcasing your facilities/perks.

3. Encourage them to take action

You have one goal in this step, don’t lose them. Make it easy for them to get in contact with you to apply for the job.

You can do this by:

  • Keeping online application forms short and only including the necessary information needed. Long complicated application forms scare off applicants;
  • Linking from the job ad straight to your careers page;
  • Naming the best person to contact in relation to applications so they know who they’re talking to;
  • Including your phone number and email address; and
  • Telling them what to expect after applying.

By implementing these tips, you’ll see an increase in the number of applicants you receive for open positions. But most important, you’ll see a huge improvement in the quality of the applicants applying.

The next time you post a job advertisement online, try this approach out and see the radical change in applicant quality and number.