Talent Acquisition

The Top Reasons People Aren’t Applying for Jobs

Enticing people to apply for your jobs seems like it should be a straightforward task. They want a new job, you’re offering them one that seems to be a good fit, but sometimes the applications just don’t roll in. That’s because anyone who has been through the process of applying for jobs has been burnt so many times by unscrupulous recruiters, companies that aren’t what they seem and jobs that definitely aren’t what was advertised.

So, to make sure that the roles you’re advertising don’t fall into the recruitment black hole, it’s useful to look at the reasons that people avoid applying for jobs, and this flow-chart is the best example of the kind of thought processes applicants should go through. After all, changing jobs is a hugely significant gamble for anyone to consider, so they need confidence right at the outset that they won’t be making their situation worse.

The first thing to think about for both recruiters and applicants is how current the job posting seems to be. We all know that businesses can take a long time to fill a vacancy, especially if it requires very specific skills and experience or the hiring managers keep changing their minds about what they’re looking for. This means that a job you posted four months ago can still be current, but anyone finding it for the first time will probably think that it’s old and you’ve forgotten to take it down.

Another stumbling block can come with whether it’s clear who the job is with, and this is a common trend with roles posted by recruitment agencies keen to keep that information out of the public eye for fear of other agencies contacting them and adding in competition. However, it can be off-putting for job hunters, particularly with the suspicion that there might not even be a real job involved and that this could just be a way to get their CV on file. So, when you can, be as transparent as possible.

Increasingly, people need to be aware of potential scams and there are a few red flags that you need to be aware of and avoid doing if you want applications. Overselling the ability for making a lot of money doing the job, asking applicants to call a premium rate number or using an instant messaging service to conduct interviews is all potentially suspicious behavior that will make people wary of getting in touch with you.

There’s plenty of over-used cliches in the world of job descriptions and many of them can’t really be avoided, but some definitely should be. Saying that the role would be ideal for students or stay-at-home parents can give the impression that the pay will be rock bottom, while calls for people who are ‘flexible’ or have a ‘good sense of humor’ implies that there’ll be lots of high-pressured work to do, including out of hours.

Of course, these may well be part of the jobs themselves, so potential candidates need to know so they can factor such things into their thinking, but you can still be careful how you describe them so you’re not putting people off unnecessarily. Something this flow-chart does make very clear is just how much thought needs to go into job applications, both from the side of the people thinking about applying, but also those creating them in the first place. So, the next time you’re putting up a listing for a new role, why not go through it and see whether you would apply for it if you were in their position? If you end up at ‘No’, then clearly there’s more work to be done.

About the author: James Ellaby is a freelance writer, journalist, content marketer and researcher working on behalf of NeoMam Studios.

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