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Having trouble finding great job applicants? It might be you

By / March 14, 2018

Are you struggling to find great hires? Are the applicants crossing your desk less than stellar? Sure, it’s easy to blame the tight labor market, and that certainly may be part of the reason. But it may also be you (or your company, at least).

If you’re looking for answers, consider these potential internal factors that could be deterring quality candidates from taking the leap.

1. You’re not getting the word out to enough people

How wide are you casting the net? Posting your opening to a single job board, and one that only gets a hundred visitors a month, will not reach a full, quality pool of potential candidates, including those only casually looking. Diversify your methods. This includes multiple job boards and groups, as well as asking for referrals from customers, employees, and the rest of your network. And don’t forget social media, including organic posting on your Facebook and LinkedIn pages and groups, and paid job ads on LinkedIn.

2. You’re being impatient

It’s tempting to go after the low-hanging fruit. “Bob is a good guy. He’s had some success selling cars; I bet he can sell windows,” you think to yourself. “Plus, then I don’t have to run an ad, respond to unqualified people, conduct uncomfortable interviews. So, I’ll tweak what I need to fit what I think Bob can deliver.” The end result is hiring someone and fitting the job to them rather than hiring someone who fits the job you need. And that can mean either quick turnover or years of dissatisfaction.

3. You’re being cheap

The old adage is true: You get what you pay for. You can’t expect an A-player if you’re offering C-level compensation. Or if your benefit package is “meh” at best, with a paltry week of PTO—instead of the standard three weeks—and a $200 stipend for health insurance (or nothing at all).

You may be putting this on display in other ways, too, by nickel-and-diming them during the interview process. For example, I had a client who asked final candidates to drive five hours to their headquarters for an interview. The company didn’t offer to pay mileage reimbursement unless the candidate asked.

Several candidates declined offers, and one candidate indicated it was specifically due to the feeling that if the company was this cheap, they’d be difficult to get expense reimbursements back from and to work for in general.

“You will lose great people if you take them for granted, particularly in today’s employee-friendly job market. If you’re offering 3% raises every year because it’s the cost of living adjustment, you may be saving hundreds but are risking losing thousands.”

The same attitude can impact your overall turnover, as well. You will lose great people if you take them for granted, particularly in today’s employee-friendly job market. If you’re offering 3% raises every year because it’s the cost of living adjustment, you may be saving hundreds but are risking losing thousands. At some point, the person you’ve been taking for granted will get a call from someone like me, and the difference in pay is going to get them interested enough to learn more. Even if they don’t take that opportunity, once they realize they are underpaid, it affects their mind-set and often leads them to proactively seek better opportunities where they feel more valued.

4. You’re forgetting to sell them

If your business isn’t a household name (and in our industry only a handful of companies are), you may have to work harder to get candidates interested in your opportunity. Communicate what sets your company apart from others and why it’s a unique and special place to work.

You may not need to do this for everyone—but for people with the right experience and personality, it’s most definitely worth the effort.

Rikka Brandon

Rikka Brandon is the founder and Chief Executive Recruiter of Building Gurus, a boutique executive search and consulting firm that works exclusively with building product manufacturers and distributors to find, hire, and retain top executive-level talent. She is also the best-selling author of "Hire Power: Everything Entrepreneurs Need To Know To Hire Awesome People."