Your Guide to Creating a Career Development Program

Your Guide to Creating a Career Development Program

Each job applicant or new hire brings their own set of skills and aspirations to the workplace. Most people have goals for their careers, even if they are just starting out. Career development programs give each diverse worker a chance to thrive inside and outside the office.

Growing small businesses are constantly faced with the realities of management and hiring departments wearing many different hats. Budgets for hiring may be stretched, making the prospect of developing a career development program daunting. In order to balance your company’s goals of attracting and retaining top talent, here are some ideas to create a career development program.

Career Growth vs. Career Development

Growth describes advancement in roles along your career path, like starting out as a store associate and receiving a promotion to become a store manager. While promotions require the acquisition of skills, they may be specifically related to the jobs at hand.

Career development is a broader category that encompasses learning new skills, taking education courses, or attending seminars on more generally applied topics such as leadership or project management. The resulting skills can contribute to a promotion but they are also useful in a person’s current position. Employees can set goals for a long-range view into their career’s longevity and success.

What Is the Value of Career Development?

A recent Workspace Intelligence study found that “89 percent [of those surveyed] said they’re ‘extremely’ or ‘somewhat’  motivated to improve their skills.” The reasons cited go beyond just salary increases, recognition, or climbing the career ladder. 48 per cent said they thought it could lead to improved work-life balance and 41 per cent said it could contribute to their sense of purpose.

Conversely, around 65 percent of respondents said it’s “extremely” or “somewhat” likely that they would leave their employer for lack of skills and education opportunities. Without career development, their current employment felt like a dead end for job transition, career advancement, and upskilling. In the evolving job market, employees feel empowered by a focus on their personal career advancement and are actively seeking out those benefits.

Those statistics show that career development is a mutually beneficial undertaking. For employers looking to hire top talent, your career development program suggests a balance in what the candidates can offer the company and benefits the company will offer in return. A robust career development program is an acknowledgement that an individual’s career goals and aspirations are meaningful. 

Supportive career development can offer timely required or optional certifications, enriching the current work environment and complying with regulations. It contributes to a positive work environment that sees employees not as a monolithic force mindlessly clocking in and out, but a living, evolving set of individuals who bring a unique perspective and skills and aspirations to their work. 

Small businesses may not be able to offer the benefits of Apple and Amazon but they can fill a benefit gap by focusing on career development and upskilling. Career development doesn’t exist just to benefit the company’s bottom line. It’s ideal to craft a program that finds a balance between skills that contribute to the employee’s current job and respects their own personal goals and aspirations.

Career development is an excellent investment in employee retention. Achieving 100 percent employee retention isn’t practical or possible, but aiming for as little turnover as possible helps your company avoid costly disruptions. Career development programs rank as one of the valuable tools to boost retention.

Strategies to Create a Career Development Program

When resources are stretched, consider a combination of outsourcing and employee-led career development with some of these ideas:

Include development opportunities in job postings

It may be helpful to name specific benefits, such as tuition reimbursement or access to funds to attend industry conferences. A candidate scanning quickly may stop and take a second look when their goals align with your offerings.

Outline access to options in onboarding

Along with the necessary onboarding information about the company and work responsibilities, you could offer some time to participate in webinars over a company-provided lunch, or allow time for the employee to write out some career development goals to be discussed with supervisors. This shows you’re interested in a long-term plan to help a new employee meet their own goals.

Outsource education and training

If your company doesn’t have the resources to write and develop a set of training courses, look for reputable organizations that offer education specific to small businesses and/or your industry. Provide incentives for employees if attendance is mandatory, like meals, travel expenses, or PTO in exchange for the time spent in the meetings.

Allow employees to suggest personalized development opportunities

This program could allow employees to submit a proposal for tuition reimbursement for an evening or weekend class through a university, travel to a leadership training seminar, or a day to participate in a local service opportunity. This kind of generosity and flexibility shows you trust the individual employee to identify and pursue their career goals and that you’re willing to invest in them.

Use software tools to streamline processes

A tool like ApplicantStack allows you to quickly and easily populate job postings with career development benefits to attract top talent. You can also make notes within each person’s profile to record their stated career goals and schedule check-ins to see how the company is supporting the employee.

Identify company-wide goals

To support a company’s mission statement and core values, career development may include a company-wide training on problem solving, conflict resolution, or leadership development.

Training specific to your brand or field

Give all the employees an equal opportunity for training by an expert or a brand ambassador in your field. This can be helpful when you’ve identified company-wide areas for improvement or to train everyone on changes in the field. Observing employees’ responses to training and implementation can identify potential for internal recruitment.

Huge companies like Amazon have invested in an Upskilling Pledge, offering 300,000 employees skills training and education programs. While small businesses can’t compete on that scale, they can still offer their employees meaningful career development. In a smaller organization where it’s easier to be known and valued, the employees and the company can reap great rewards.

3 Tips to Improve Communication with Applicants

3 Tips to Improve Communication with Applicants

Applicants in the modern job market expect timely and frequent communication. In a survey conducted by CareerBuilder, results showed that 84 percent of candidates expect an email confirmation that they received an application or resume, and 36 percent expect to receive communication throughout the process. Yet the survey revealed that only 26 percent of companies meet these expectations.

For small businesses especially, it’s understandable how these things may unwittingly fall through the cracks. If multiple employees are contributing to the hiring process, it can be difficult to keep track of who is meant to send responses. Read on for some tips to help improve your communication with eager applicants.

Why Is Responsive Communication Important?

In a competitive job market, timely communication can set your company apart. Imagine being known across job boards and forums as the company who always responds, who keeps candidates apprised of their place in the process, and shows prospective employees they are valued at every step along the way.

The communication worst-case scenario is ghosting, when a company or an applicant abruptly stops communication without explanation. This industry trend is on the rise, with 77 percent of job applicants reporting being ghosted by a prospective employer since March 2020. Even if you believe that your company stays far on the other side of the ghosting line, everyone can benefit from examining company practices to improve communication with applicants.

Along with showing respect and building trust, effective communication techniques can save you time and money. Here are some tangible benefits:

  • Shorter Time to Hire. This important metric is affected by every stage of the hiring process. Every day that passes between application and onboarding costs the company money. Speeding it along involves participation by both the company and the applicant.
  • Higher Acceptance Rates. Effective communication not only can foster a positive personal connection but it can give your company the edge with an applicant who is weighing multiple offers. Losing a perfect candidate because of tardy communication forces you to start the search again, wasting valuable company time.

Methods of Communication

The world has moved to almost an entirely electronic form of communication vs. telephone calls and paper mail. Video messaging took the world by storm after the pandemic cut off in-person communication. In the application stage, email and text messaging are most frequently used, and interviews may be conducted by phone, video, or in-person. 

The sheer volume of wanted and unwanted messages in the modern world means what you send ought to stand out in the sea of data. It’s become more common for hiring managers to use both email and text messaging to communicate, but it’s still important to observe some etiquette.

Email Etiquette Tips

Email has long been considered the most formal and appropriate method of communication by most businesses and job applicants. It’s still important to consider some of the following ways to use it best: 

  • Craft your email subject to be noticed in a quick scan by the recipient. Make sure it’s descriptive but not too long and avoids being perceived as spam.
  • Use salutations like first name or Mr./Ms. and full-name signatures with your job title.
  • Use correct grammar, appropriate capitalization, complete sentences, and extremely judicious insertion of emojis. Third-party services that offer grammar suggestions as you write can be extremely helpful.
  • Make sure the tone matches the level of your relationship. Don’t try to be overly familiar or jokey in initial contact.
  • Be concise and use formatting like bullets or short paragraphs, especially when sharing a large volume of information.
  • Inform the recipient the days or hours you will respond to emails. For example, let them know no one will respond on the weekend or after 5 p.m. if that’s applicable. You can also let them know what to expect in terms of response time if replies are received within working hours.

Text Message Etiquette Tips

Text messaging is the most used form of communication in the modern world, and it’s possible to use texts effectively for hiring purposes. Younger job applicants especially may prefer it to email. ApplicantStack has a built-in “Text-to-Hire” feature that keeps your messages organized, allows for batch sending, and allows tracking within the ATS.

Consider some of the following to effectively use text messages:

  • Obtain a candidate’s permission to communicate via text message before sending anything.
  • Start with a greeting and identify yourself. Don’t assume the person has saved you in their contacts.
  • Use professional language. Imagine you’re writing an email and meet that level of speech.
  • Use capital letters, pronunciation, and good grammar. Proofread before sending; you could even paste into a document to double-check with a third-party editing plug-in.
  • Avoid long strings of information in text messages; use them for acknowledgements, follow-ups, or reminders. Make sure the language sounds human even if you’re using a prepared script.
  • Only send and reply to text messages roughly within your company’s business hours. This can be an important signal to the recipient that you value work-life balance. 

Points in the Hiring Process that Require Outreach

When scrutinizing how your company communicates at all phases of the hiring process, consider the following touchpoints and how effectively you’re keeping in touch:

    1. Pre-Application Phase. This would cover anyone who has signed up for a company newsletter or information about open jobs. This is an opportunity to sell yourself to prospective applicants.
    2. Application or Résumé Received. This first contact establishes the tone for future communication. Automated responses through ApplicantStack can save time and avoid mistakes. The contents should sound like it came from a human.
    3. Personal Contact. Once a candidate makes it past the initial review, a personal and professional email is warranted to set up plans for the interview process.
    4. Scheduling the Interview(s). The relative urgency of scheduling and confirming appointments makes it a prime candidate for text messaging if the applicant consents.
    5. Post-Interview Follow-up. Even if the company isn’t ready to make a formal offer, a “thank you” message is usually well-received. Some companies take this opportunity to solicit feedback or questions on the interview process.
    6. Status Updates. Some companies leave application periods open for a set length of time no matter how many qualified applications they receive. If there’s a gap between initial contact, interviews, and when you can make an offer, check-ins and status updates will likely be welcome and keep communication open between you and preferred candidates.
    7. Job Offers. Even if a verbal offer is part of your company style, a follow-up with a written offer makes sure everyone knows the particulars of salary, job requirements, company policies, and other vital details.
    8. Start Details and Onboarding. This communication is vital to a new employee. As soon as someone has accepted an offer, prompt attention to their next steps will help them immediately feel a part of the company.

Hiring managers don’t have control over every detail of the job process, but communication is an area where you can always improve. It’s important to identify weak points in how your company communicates and set up policies and procedures to save time and money. ApplicantStack is a perfect solution for centralized tracking and messaging so nobody slips through the cracks.

Essential Best Hiring Practices To Attract and Retain Top Talent

Essential Best Hiring Practices To Attract and Retain Top Talent

Attracting, hiring and retaining top talent is not a game of chance — it’s all about strategy. In fact, there are right ways, wrong ways and optimal ways to go about hiring that can increase your chances of attracting the right people for your open roles.

When completed with care, you can:

  • Get your job listings in front of the most qualified candidates.
  • Attract passive candidates.
  • Engage job seekers.
  • Improve the candidate experience.
  • Retain top talent.

In this blog, we’re discussing some of the most important and lucrative hiring best practices that can help set you up for recruiting success in 2024 and beyond.

The Benefits of Getting Your Hiring Process Right

At the end of January 2024, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported approximately 8.9 million job vacancies nationwide. This figure is down from an all-time high of 12.2 million in March 2022, but there’s still some work to be done to fill these millions of open roles.

And, while hiring best practices can change significantly from one industry to another, we believe there are a few core principles and strategies that provide value to recruitment and retention across the board.

Before diving into those best practices, let’s first understand some of the benefits that a focused and well-balanced recruitment process can provide for your organization.

Higher Quality Talent Acquisition

A well-executed hiring process can increase your chances of attracting the most qualified candidate for your open role — someone who possesses the skills, experience and cultural fit necessary to excel at your company.

Well-executed, of course, means a genuine, optimized and fair hiring process. Unfortunately, this is something that employers need to be reminded about. A recent study revealed that a surprising 36% of hiring managers admit to lying to potential candidates. Even more surprising, a whopping 80% of hiring managers believe that lying is “very acceptable” during the recruitment process.

So, what is the cherry on top of all this fibbing? About 35 percent of prospects that were lied to and then hired ended up leaving the company within one month, and 31 percent within three months.

Finding and retaining good talent needs to start off on the right foot: the honest one.

Improved Performance and Productivity

Hiring the right people can enhance team dynamics and productivity, which can lead to improved performance and better business outcomes. McKinsey calls this employee archetype the “thriving stars.” And, based on research, they say that employees belonging to this archetype “bring disproportionate value to the company” and “have a hugely positive impact on performance and productivity by, among other things, creating psychological safety and trust in a team setting.”

Cost Savings

Hiring the right candidates from the outset can help reduce recruitment costs associated with turnover, training and onboarding. No study is required to discern that hiring is an expensive mechanism of the modern workplace.

Job advertising and interviewing aside, high turnover sometimes means higher severance pay for fired employees, while onboarding new ones may mean more signing bonuses and relocation assistance.

Beyond the cost of the recruiting process itself, there are plenty of other expenses that can strain your budget quickly.

Enhanced Company Culture

Hiring individuals who embody your company’s core values and contribute positively to the workplace culture can strengthen your organizational ethos and foster a sense of belonging among employees.

The result? Oftentimes, hiring individuals who are a good cultural fit results in higher employee engagement, reduced turnover and better performance all around. By consistently hiring and retaining top talent, organizations position themselves for long-term success, growth and sustainability in today’s increasingly competitive business landscape.

The Negative Impacts of Hiring the Wrong People

We’ve discussed a few benefits of hiring an ideal new employee, but what about some of the less obvious, negative impacts associated with poor hiring practices?

Have a look:

  • Wasted resources: Unoptimized processes take longer, are more prone to error and may unnecessarily extend your time-to-hire, which costs money.
  • Missed opportunities for innovation, growth and achieving strategic objectives: With a drawn-out recruiting process, you risk losing the interest of qualified candidates.
  • Reputational damage: Poor practices are pretty evident — especially to prospective hires who have no stakes in your organization. An unideal process may warrant criticism, which can harm your brand image.

5 Hiring Best Practices

Hiring isn’t easy—but it also doesn’t have to be rocket science. Employ these five recruiting best practices to get the ball rolling in your organization’s favor (while also appeasing prospective employees).

1. Define Clear (and Honest) Job Descriptions

Harkening back to the research done on employer honesty, you absolutely should not lie to a potential candidate at any point throughout your recruitment strategy. Not in the job description, during the interview process or onboarding.

For curiosity’s sake, here are the top five things that employers lie to candidates about — so you can do the opposite:

  • The role’s responsibilities (40 percent)
  • Growth opportunities at the company (39 percent)
  • Career development opportunities (38 percent)
  • Company culture (31 percent)
  • Benefits (28 percent)

Be honest about the responsibilities and expectations of each role in your job postings, and your new hires may just stick around for longer.

2. Use an Applicant Tracking System (ATS)

The average time to fill (TTF) across companies is 47.5 days, according to recent research. Using an ATS can help reduce TTF to get new employees hired and onboarded more quickly to help save company resources. Beyond this, however, 32 percent of companies are looking to consolidate their talent acquisition tech providers, and instead want partners that can help with multiple areas of the funnel, including:

  • Sourcing (30 percent)
  • Onboarding (25 percent)
  • CRM (24 percent)
  • Assessments (19 percent)

One ATS platform that can do it all is exactly what recruiters are looking for. More than that, 21 percent want AI-driven solutions.

3. Don’t Forget To Assess Cultural Fit

Workplace culture is at a bit of a strange juncture these days. With an increase in remote/hybrid working arrangements, employees say that feeling less connected to their organization’s culture is a major challenge.

For organizations, some believe that hybrid work has negatively impacted their workplace culture. So, what’s the solution?

Both of these revelations communicate that culture is still important, even if employees are going into the office less and less as time passes. So, when hiring new employees, it may be more important than ever to assess cultural fit and how a candidate could positively contribute to your hybrid atmosphere. Here are some questions to ask during the interview process to glean good cultural information:

  • Can you describe your ideal work environment?
  • Tell me about a time when you successfully collaborated with a team.
  • How do you handle ambiguity or change in the workplace?
  • Describe a situation where you had to resolve a conflict with a colleague.
  • What do you value most in a workplace?

4. Invest in Your Employer Branding

According to Universum’s 2023 Employer Branding NOW study, employer branding is a top priority for organizations right now and a critical HR investment.

What’s influencing this investment? Well, 86 percent of surveyed employees revealed they are likely to research a company’s reviews and ratings when deciding on where to apply. Moreover, half of all candidates say they wouldn’t work for a company with a bad reputation. Here are a few ways to  improve branding to optimize the hiring process:

  • Create consistent brand messaging
  • Provide growth opportunities
  • Emphasize employee well-being
  • Welcome, monitor and respond to employee feedback

5. Promote Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI)

DEI in the workplace is a bit of a difficult topic these days. There’s a strong political divide between those who support DEI efforts and those who believe having strict race requirements for certain roles, grants or opportunities is iffy.

What we do know for certain, however, is that everyone—no matter their background—deserves an equitable chance at success in their work.

As we progress further into 2024, the way organizations approach DEI may change, so it’s important to stay abreast of hiring trends to determine the most beneficial path forward for everyone—job seekers, employees and organizations included.

Here are a few ways to help promote that success:

  • Foster inclusive leadership: Train managers and leaders to promote inclusivity in their teams, to actively listen to diverse perspectives, advocate for underrepresented employees and create an inclusive work environment where everyone feels valued.
  • Review and address pay equity: Regularly review your organization’s compensation practices to identify and address any disparities based on gender, race or other characteristics.
  • Create employee resource groups (ESGs): Establish employee resource groups or affinity groups where staff from diverse backgrounds can connect, share experiences and advocate for positive change.

Optimize Your Hiring Process With a Purpose-Built ATS

Curious how an Applicantstack can take your hiring process from bad to best? Take a tour of the platform to see for yourself!

With solutions for recruiting and hiring, candidate management and onboarding, ApplicantStack is an end-to-end recruiting solution that streamlines, automates and optimizes the traditional, time-consuming tasks of hiring to help you find better candidates, faster.

Cast a wider net, communicate promptly and onboard quickly in today’s ever-evolving job market. Want to see it in action for your organization? Try it for free today, no strings attached.

Recruiting Top Talent: A Guide to Successful Hiring

Recruiting Top Talent: A Guide to Successful Hiring

In most cases, and for most job openings, recruiters want to secure top industry talent for their open roles. Why? Beyond being the most qualified or suitable person for the position, top performers come packaged with an array of benefits that can give organizations a competitive advantage, improve company culture and help develop organizational leadership.

But attracting and retaining the most befitting employees is easier said than done. So, what exactly are the best ways to ensure you’re attracting the most qualified individuals? And, what does an effective and successful recruitment strategy look like?

Here, we’re breaking down the basics required of a solid recruitment strategy to ensure you’re getting your money’s worth not just out of your newly recruited, talented employees but your hiring efforts, too.

The Basis of a Strong Recruitment Strategy

There’s more to attracting, sourcing and securing top talent than simply posting a job listing. Even if it’s well-written and alluring, there are always others that are more so. This can be especially challenging for smaller organizations looking to get on the same playing field as their larger corporate counterparts.

Hiring managers must not only curate their job listings to a tee but also their strategies to identify and attract those most suited for a particular role. If you’re unsure where to start, or where it went wrong for your organization, start with these seven recruiting basics and get them right:

1. Identify Your Needs

You can’t fill a ravine with water and expect it to be as easily traversed on foot then if there were a bridge instead. Before you go looking for candidates, you first need to identify what you need to help your organization succeed.

This involves collaborating with relevant stakeholders to:

  • Define job requirements and expectations.
  • Clearly understand the specific skills, experience and qualities desired from the ideal candidate.

Once everyone is aligned on the best way to proceed, you can start building the hiring bridge.

2. Attracting Qualified Candidates

To attract the right people, you need to create compelling job descriptions and employer branding strategies. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Clearly stating the company’s values.
  • Effectively communicating your culture.
  • Identifying and making evident the growth opportunities with your organization.

Doing these three tasks the right way will help you attract high-caliber candidates.

3. Sourcing Qualified Candidates

In a perfect world, highly qualified candidates seeking employment would deliver themselves straight to your front door. Unfortunately, hiring isn’t that easy and, oftentimes, top talent needs to be head-hunted. Hiring managers should leverage various sourcing channels, including job boards, social media platforms, professional networks and even industry-specific events, to proactively seek out qualified candidates. A passive candidate is someone who isn’t actively searching for new opportunities but would be happy to entertain an attractive offer.

What Do Top Candidates Want From Organizations?

Before jumping into more concentrated efforts that will help you land top talent, let’s take a look at what job seekers actually want from their prospective organizations. While fair and just compensation is still highly important for a lot of candidates, especially top talent, other elements are equally, if not more important.

For example, a recent study revealed that 91 percent of new hires who received quality culture training felt more connected to the organization than those who didn’t—underscoring the importance of a healthy, active culture for new and prospective hires. Culture training involves educating and familiarizing new hires with the values, norms, beliefs and behaviors of your company’s culture. It’s not just about learning the job tasks or responsibilities; it’s about understanding the organization’s ethos and how to thrive within it.

This often involves training about how to effectively handle challenges within the organization and be a strong leader, as well as expectations for collaboration; diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) and more.

Beyond culture training, here are a few more nice-to-haves in today’s market that can bolster your organization as one worthy of employing the most talented candidates in your industry:

  • Strong offer letters
  • A streamlined and engaging hiring process
  • Evident opportunities for professional development
  • Strong work-life balance
  • Open and honest communication

How To Attract Top Talent

Great, so we know how to get the basics right and what job seekers truly want from their prospective companies. Now, let’s streamline, optimize and condense everything we’ve learned into one actionable checklist that will surely help you secure the right people for the jobs at hand.

1. Develop A Strong Employer Brand

You attract what you exude. When your brand communicates enticing qualities like excellence, transparency and drive, you’ll inevitably entice like-minded people who wish to work for such a strong, reputable company.

In terms of recruiting, here are a few to-do’s:

  • Define your employer value proposition (EVP): Identify what makes your company unique as an employer.
  • Craft a brand message: Develop a clear, concise and compelling message that communicates your EVP to potential candidates.
  • Build a strong online presence: Leverage social media platforms to share employee stories, company achievements and behind-the-scenes glimpses of your workplace.
  • Provide an exceptional candidate experience: Ensure a seamless and positive experience for each and every potential candidate throughout the recruitment process — which translates into a better employee experience if you play your cards correctly.
  • Invest in employee well-being: Prioritize employee well-being by providing work-life balance initiatives, mental health support and wellness programs.

2. Write Compelling and Detailed Job Descriptions

No one wants to be left guessing after reading a job description. Clear, compelling posting should include:

  • A clear title that’s representative of the role.
  • An engaging overview of the job.
  • Key responsibilities.
  • Requirements and necessary qualifications.
  • Salary information.
  • Expected working hours.
  • Information about company culture.

3. Use More Than One Sourcing Channel

Casting a wide net is key to attracting more talent. The larger your sample size, the more likely you are to catch qualified candidates. This is especially important for small businesses that, by default, aren’t on the same playing field as their larger counterparts.

To do this effectively, post your job openings on popular job boards, industry-specific websites and social media platforms to maximize visibility. But, instead of doing all of this manually, use an applicant tracking system that can cast the net for you.

4. Offer Competitive and Creative Benefits

According to research by the Harvard Business Review, 60 percent of employees say the cost of going into the office outweighs the pros. That being said, one of the most important benefits employers can offer in 2024—beyond insurance and the like—is a well-balanced hybrid working model.

This and other creative benefits, such as student loan assistance programs, more paid time off and funding for professional development are all attractive incentives for today’s workforce.

5. Emphasize Career Development

According to a 2023 study by LinkedIn Learning, providing learning opportunities is the number one strategy for retaining top talent employers can use. This is important because, when you secure top talent, you want them to stick around.

For recruiting, this means:

  • Highlighting growth opportunities from the get-go
  • Building attractive and effective training and career development programs
  • Actively encouraging continuous learning
  • Providing adequate mentorship and coaching
  • Conducting performance reviews and providing actionable feedback

6. Commit To Continuous Improvement

You don’t have to get recruiting right on the very first try. Each organization is different, and depending on the type of industry you’re operating in and what your ideal candidate looks like, your recruiting strategy can change. But that’s the beauty of it!

The easier you can make the hiring process on yourself, the quicker you can adapt your recruiting strategy to fit the needs of diverse candidates — no matter where they are in the talent pipeline.

Streamline Your Hiring Process For Success in Securing Top Talent

It all starts with advertising and recruitment marketing. Create a compelling job posting and cast it out to hundreds of popular and niche job boards in one click.

From candidate sourcing to retaining top talent, Applicantstack makes it easy to quickly scale your team or fill niche roles without any of the hassle associated with traditional, drawn-out hiring practices. Text-to-apply functionally puts control back in candidates’ hands: While they continue their job search, you can start reviewing resumes.

These features, and many more, are what make Applicantstack the premier choice for streamlining your hiring process to attract the most high-quality candidates for your team. Interested? Try it for free today.

3 Tips to Improve Communication with Applicants

Using Paid Online Advertising for Recruitment Marketing

Connecting job seekers with hiring managers happens in a variety of ways. Word-of-mouth, networking, promoting from within, cold calling: these are all tried-and-true methods to find candidates for open positions. The speed of technological advancement has changed the hiring landscape and demands that hiring managers look to new methods to reach a wider audience.

According to a survey done by The Cambridge Jobs Board, 85 percent of job seekers reject the popular recruiting websites that bombard with relentless messages and impersonal communication. Those disenchanted job seekers may be uniquely prepared to be reached by thoughtful and powerful recruitment marketing.

Does Advertising Jobs Online Work?

Online job marketing is a $36 billion dollar industry. The sector has seen a 15 percent increase in growth since 2015. So how can your business claim a piece of that hiring pie? Go where the people spend a huge majority of their time.

Online advertising for recruitment requires a diverse skillset: some marketing knowledge, some recruiting knowledge, and the ability to sell your company to a wide variety of eyeballs. Done well, your ad may reach an active job seeker and a disenchanted worker who becomes inspired to make a job switch.

Kepios estimates that 62.3 percent of the global population are active consumers of social media. That’s an astronomical pool to pull from. Even if your small business is really only looking to cover a smaller region of job seekers, that stat suggests your recruiting pool will be active social media users. 

Statistics to Know About Your Recruiting Pool

Before you jump headfirst into creating paid advertising, consider defining the non-negotiables for your recruiting pool. This way your ads can be sure to reach out to the right candidates. You can identify metrics with market research, surveys, and analytics. In the modern world, personal data is valuable currency. Here are some of the many metrics to identify and tailor your ad dollars to the right pool.

  • Where are they located? Is the position remote? Is it in-person? You might want to tailor your ad to specific time zones or even cities to reach candidates who are able to meet this criteria.
  • Education level required. This metric can help you choose which social media platforms to use; ones tailored mainly to teenagers won’t give you candidates with a required Bachelor’s degree.
  • Where do they spend their time online? Tools like the Pew Research Center can give valuable insight into where various demographic groups spend time online.
  • Specific interests associated with your brand. Knowing candidates’ interests can help you parlay that positive association and experience into work.

How to Craft a Compelling Recruiting Ad

Follow these steps to craft a more appealing ad for recruiting.

  1. Start with this question: What does the job seeker want to know? This requires understanding some basic metrics which you can acquire from each individual social channel you’re using. 
  2. Choose the right platform. Use statistics and demographic information to make sure you’re targeting the ideal candidate.
  3. Deliver a punchy message within the first 10 seconds of the ad. Use graphics and word choices that define the value proposition for the viewer immediately. Give just enough information about your company to inspire further engagement.
  4. Focus on SEO. What keywords will put this ad in front of the right eyes?
  5. Define the Call to Action: “Click to learn more” or “Click to apply” for example.
  6. Link the ad to a landing page that is also easily scannable and inviting. Include clear descriptions of requirements, instructions for applying, and information about company culture.
  7. Critically evaluate your conversion data to figure out where you need to make tweaks to the ad itself or to the platforms where you share it.

Online Advertising Platforms to Consider

When you’re trying to stretch your advertising dollar, it’s important to know the pros and cons of the popular online platforms for reaching your targeted audience. Pew provides some important insight:

  • LinkedIn is more popular among those with advanced degrees. 51 percent of adults said they have a Bachelor’s Degree or higher, compared to 10 percent with a high school diploma or less.
  • Pinterest is used by more women (46 percent) than men (16 percent).
  • YouTube is the most widely used app by people of all ages: 95 percent of adults age 18 to 29 use it, 91 percent of those age 30 to 49, and 83 percent of those age 50 to 64.
  • Facebook has the lowest usage from adults age 18 to 29 at 70 percent, with the highest engagement coming from the 30 to 49 age bracket at 77 percent
  • Instagram users in America are 52 percent Hispanic, 49 percent Black, and 35 percent White.
  • Snapchat is almost entirely the domain of young people, with 65 percent of adults age 18 to 29 compared to 24 percent of those 30 to 49.
  • YouTube and Facebook are nearly equally used by urban, suburban, and rural Americans.
  • The data suggests that the majority of users visit their platforms of choice every day.

Demographics are a great place to start. After that, most social media sites provide very robust report options that can be customized to the specific metrics that are most helpful for your hiring process. Meta offers stats like reach, impressions, frequency, and clicks among many others. On YouTube, metrics include view rate and if the video was played to 25, 50, 75, and 100 percent. 

Manage Your Applicants With ApplicantStack

The sheer volume of reported metrics can be overwhelming to parse and sort. A tool which ties these important metrics to individual candidates helps connect this important work with humans that can fill your open positions. Within ApplicantStack, you can record the results of your marketing recruiting efforts. Each metric becomes a potential valued member of your team. You can also take advantage of the integration with Indeed to utilize the Sponsored Jobs feature and get in front of a wider audience.

Essential Best Hiring Practices To Attract and Retain Top Talent

9 Helpful Steps to Speed Up the Hiring Process

The ever-changing job market demands that businesses of all sizes adapt to find the best candidates in the hiring pool. Speed of hiring can make or break a job seeker’s experience with your company. According to The Society of Human Resource Management, it can take between 24 and 36 days from application to offer, numbers that can seem daunting to a company looking to grow and fill open positions.

A thoughtful analysis of your company’s hiring practices can reveal some places where you might be unknowingly hitting the brakes. Here are some steps to help you speed up the hiring process.

Write Thorough Job Descriptions

Attract top talent through honest and accurate job descriptions. Especially if you’re recycling previous descriptions, examine the language for vague clichés or missing responsibilities. Make sure benefits and compensation are clear, and that you give some information about company culture or unique things about your business.

Most people can figure out what it’s like to work at Apple, but the features that make your small business special may not be as easy to find on Reddit or Glassdoor. Let your description act as a marketing tool. It needs to attract candidates fast. Don’t let precious days pass between posting and receiving applicants.

Update Your Social Media and Website

Once you’ve piqued a candidate’s interest, their next step is likely checking you out on social media and your website. It’s easy to lose an interesting candidate who gets turned off because your last Instagram post is two years old or your website still features an announcement about Covid closures. Social media is useful for helping people understand your company culture, highlighting products or initiatives, and even advertising for open positions. It’s good for your public-facing media to not look abandoned.

Scrutinize Your Application Process

When was the last time someone from your company test-drove the application process? An internal review can reveal sections where a potential candidate may get bogged down. Make sure your tech works properly at each step. If you encourage applications through a web form, check that all the information transfers to the right people in a timely manner. Give job seekers details like what kind of documents are preferred or allowed, any file size limitations, or required information. Try to identify points in the process where someone might get discouraged or abandon it altogether. A clear and simple experience means an expansion of your pool and the ability to act quickly.

Invest in Automation Technology

You’ve got a brilliant job description and a streamlined application process: now what to do with all the data? Automation technology like ApplicantStack helps you avoid an overwhelmed inbox or a messy spreadsheet. Open jobs are laid out in an easy-to-view grid with many ways to proceed from there. Sort candidates by referral source, suitability rating, and dates to keep on top of interview scheduling, contacts, and overall view of your candidate pool. You can set tasks and deadlines that ensure nobody falls through the cracks. Handle simultaneous hiring timelines with ease, cutting down significantly on time to hire.

Keep an Open Mind for Potential

Qualifications for a job are the gold standard for advancing a candidate through to the next step. But the job pool may be full of underqualified people (on paper) who may fit in well with your company culture. Putting them on the back burner or dismissing them outright while waiting for the perfect candidate can waste precious time. Valuing potential can be very productive to the hiring process. If a person gives you every indication they’re capable of learning and adapting to something new, it might be worth giving them an opportunity sooner rather than later.

Avoid a Drawn-Out Interview Process

Hiring managers and job seekers are equally invested in the time to hire from first interaction. Along with scrutinizing your job descriptions and hiring protocols, consider the effectiveness of your interview practices. In the modern job market, phone calls and videoconferencing are ideal for preliminary interviews. They save time and travel expenses and serve as a useful tool for first impressions and determining next steps. 

The ability to conduct multiple interviews in a day means faster movement through the process and gives in-person priority to serious candidates. Faster decisions also means faster communication with your candidates, which can keep them engaged and at lower risk of ghosting you or dropping out of contention.

Keep Communication Open

Notifying candidates about their place in the process ensures an open dialogue that benefits both sides, even if the end result isn’t an offer. Looking for a job usually means a fair amount of uncertainty as a candidate juggles companies’ various application and interview processes. Clear communication about next steps and dates is always welcome. A well-timed email of assurance in between can go a long way in showing your company’s interest.

With texting capabilities built right in, ApplicantStack supports your company’s efforts to communicate and meet candidates where they are—on their phones.

Issue Offers Quickly

Once the hiring managers have made a decision, issue the offer as soon as possible. Every day that passes with a candidate waiting for an answer is a day lost to the process and an opportunity for them to become discouraged by your process or take another job. Even if you decide not to extend an offer, a prompt rejection shows you respect the candidate’s time.

Set Internal Deadlines

Depending on the size of your business, you may have people wearing multiple hats of management and hiring. Organization is crucial to keep the process moving, especially with unforeseen circumstances that inevitably pop up. ApplicantStack includes candidate management functionality, reminding you of deadlines you’ve set and allowing other members of your team to help. It clearly lays out the hiring priorities in a way that makes it simple to spread out the work and keep the process moving efficiently while ensuring everyone involved stays on the same page.

Adapting to changes in the job market demands adaptability from hiring managers. Modern technology gives companies the tools to speed up the hiring process and fill open positions with engaged and enthusiastic workers.