Can’t find applicants to fill your positions? This could be why.

Posted by Melissa Walker on Thu, 10/15/2015

If you’re posting jobs, chances are you’ve found it increasingly difficult to attract candidates to apply, and this might be why:

Since 2009, the national unemployment rate has fallen about 50% from 10.2 to 5.1 percent.  In short, we’re looking at half of the applicants that were available to us just 5 short years ago.  On top of that, the government considers anywhere from 5-5.5 percent full employment, and many states and cities are well below this number.  In addition, the hospitality industry has seen major job growth over these past few years.  Let’s break it down: Less applicants searching + more jobs available = you, pouring money into recruiting and job ads with no end to your problem in sight – but there may be a solution you haven’t thought of yet.

What can you do?

Job descriptions:

If you haven’t revised your job descriptions lately, it’s probably time to do so.  Getting rid of technical language and speaking to an applicant as you would if they were sitting in front of you is important to grabbing their attention.  The job description is the applicant’s first impression of your company, so reflecting your culture and values is key.  Consider using internal promotion stats, benefits that are unique to your company, and simple, to-the-point language.  A restaurant is anything but dry, dull, and boring, so make sure that your job description is really describing what it’s like to work for your company.  Put yourself in the applicants’ shoes and think, “If I had my pick, would I apply to this job based on the job description?”

Application questions:

A few years ago, using assessments and long, drawn-out application questions may have been necessary to weed through the high volume of job seekers.  Changing your applications to short, easy to fill-out applications can have the biggest impact to getting your application in the hands of the limited number of applicants.  Take a look at your applications, and decide what you really need to know.  If you require a resume, don’t also require education and employment history, as double data entry can be a point of frustration for an applicant.  After revising your applications, fill one out yourself and take an objective look; the rule of thumb is the shorter, the better.  Easy, short applications can connect the applicant to you quicker.  If you are restricted by an applicant tracking system, shop around; some offer complete application customization while others aren’t that flexible.

Think Outside the Box:

What’s your recruiting strategy?  Are you only relying on traffic from walk-in applicants, or the advertising you’re getting with an applicant tracking system?  Think outside the box.  How can you use all of the tools to your advantage?  Using a diverse number of applicant sources can only work to your advantage.  With some applicant tracking systems, like WyckWyre, you are given a job board that’s easily accessible with your own unique URL that you can use anywhere you please in order to advertise your positions, such as your social media accounts, hiring centers in your stores, or local job boards.  You can utilize your existing staff for employee referrals, and carry material with you to promote your positions wherever you go.  Researching job fairs and having a representative that is enthusiastic about your brand can be beneficial.  In the job climate we’re in now, it’s important to realize that we have to attract applicants to our jobs in ways we might not have done before. 

Retention, retention, retention:

When you have good workers, the best way to avoid dealing with an applicant shortage is to work on keeping them.  Be sure to stand by your culture points, and reward hard working employees.  Be open with your employees: providing open lines of communication so that everyone is in the know can work wonders for reducing stress in the workplace.  Think about what you wished for as an hourly employee: more flexibility in your schedule, a clear path for advancement, recognition for going above and beyond?  Most often, the things an employee wants goes further than a paycheck.  If you can recognize that and put things into place that fulfill your employees’ needs, you may hold on to your rock star workers.

Want to discuss things further?  Email to see if WyckWyre can help you revamp your recruiting plan.