The average online job listing receives more than 250 applicants. While half or so are typically irrelevant, most recruiters have an overwhelming number of applicants to choose from. But, what happens when you don’t? If your job description isn’t getting any applicants, chances are that the problem lies in the description, not the job.

By making changes, updating your job description in line with company culture, and ensuring it is formatted in a way that is clear to readers – you will increase your chances of getting qualified applicants.

What to do if you have a lack of applicants

Make Sure It’s Easy to Find

Most applicants search for jobs using keywords and on job boards. If you don’t have an online presence, it’s highly likely that the candidates you want simply aren’t seeing your job. Review the title, make sure that you aren’t using abbreviations, add keywords related to the job title, and make sure it’s listed on places like LinkedIn, Monster, etc.

  • Avoid abbreviations even when they are used in your industry
  • Use terminology the job seeker will use, so generic job roles rather than internal names for the role
  • Make sure it shows up in Google search.
  • Check that your classification on job sites is correct

Review Your Job Description

Your job description is where you communicate what you expect from the candidate and what they have to be good at to do the job. It’s where the candidate decides if the position is right for them, and where they decide whether to apply or not. Some of the most common mistakes are including too much detail, not saying enough, and saying it in the wrong way.

  • Clearly outline the job role. No one is going to go through a long application process without knowing exactly what they will be doing.
  • Return to your job profile and ensure that it’s accurate
  • Make it about the applicant. Integrate company culture, the job role, and the job description while writing to the candidate. What does that look like?

Ready for a challenge? As a junior controller at XYZ company, you’ll handle accounting operations for an up and coming leader in IT technology. Our startup team launched in 2014, and now deliver solutions across the globe. If you’re ready to contribute to a fast-paced team, with 60% growth year over year since launch, apply now.

  • Review the grammar and spelling. Not everyone is a good writer, but there are plenty of tools online (ie. Grammarly) that will help you polish your writing so that your job posting looks as professional as possible.
  • Include specifics like salary range, expected work hours, and location.

Review Your Requirements

Most of the time, it’s difficult to decide exactly what job requirements to look for. However, it is important. If you put something like “Ph.D. preferred” you might have Masters candidates with years of job experience turning away from the role because they believe they won’t be accepted unless they have the higher degree.

Review your competency models to determine what factors you’re really looking for and write your job description accordingly. If you need a requirement, list it, if you don’t, skip it. You can always ask about preferred qualifications during the interview, which will help you avoid scaring any qualified candidates away.

Most of the time, hiring is an investment. If you spend the time and money finding and choosing the right candidate now, chances are they will remain part of the company for years to come. Taking the time to craft a job description based around your company culture and competency model will pay off in the long run.

About the Author: Jocelyn Pick