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Resource Guide to Enhancing Your Job Listings and Improving Applicant Numbers

This comprehensive guide will provide additional knowledge as to "how things work" when posting jobs along with key tips and strategies to enhance the qualified applicant yield from your Job Listings.

Recruiting applicants to apply for your vacant positions is a time consuming process no matter how streamlined it is so let the ExactHire team help you improve your efficiency. Using your HireCentric ATS helps improve your hiring process with its applicant management, reporting and analytic tools along with many other functions; however, as an Administrator or Posting Manager, there are a few things that you can do to help increase the number of qualified applicants who apply for your active job listings.  

This comprehensive guide will provide additional knowledge as to "how things work" when posting jobs along with key tips and strategies to enhance the qualified applicant yield from your Job Listings. It will provide you with additional links to tip sheets and blogs that provide you with in-depth advice to help you with your end game--winning with an exceptional hire!

Let's start with a few questions to enhance your foundation.

What is Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and how can it help my organization?

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a feature within HireCentric that allows your ATS portal the ability to create multiple different URLs featuring your job listings so that Google and other search engines have multiple opportunities to “crawl” your ATS site and rank your different pages for distinct types of keyword searches like location, job title, employment type, etc.  Clients who have the premium SEO feature enabled in their HireCentric ATS portal automatically have this feature; if you are unsure if your organization has this feature enabled, please email support@exacthire.com.

What is the difference between a Job Template and a Job Listing?

A Job Template is the "cookie cutter" for your job postings.  Job Templates contain the overview of the information for a particular job function; the Job Listing itself is what you customize with the minor details unique to the Job Listing that might not be included in the Job Template such as salary, benefits, job city, etc.  For all organizations, especially those who are subject to Affirmative Action Plan reporting, it is recommended to create new Job Listings using your Job Templates or use the option to "Copy From Job Listing" when you are posting an additional position or a position similar to a prior Job Listing that you have already posted and/or filled.  If you are subject to AAP, it is very important to create new Job Listings each time you have a new vacancy to fill.  Reusing past Job Listings can affect the integrity and accuracy of your compliance reports with mixed data and date ranges.  

As you create your Job Listings, consider customizing the content from the applicant's eyes.  Think about what the applicant might want to know about the job and include that information in addition to the details from the organization's mindset.  How you express content can affect applicant interest. If you are wondering Where Have All the Applicants Gone?, it is time to grab the mirror and take an internal look. Ask yourself:  Are you describing the job and the duties, or are you selling the applicant on the job? Where are you advertising your jobs?  Are you limiting yourself through limited advertising?  Is your job classification/category related to the position or to the company? If one classification is not working, try another.  Truly imagine yourself as the applicant...if you were hunting for a job like this, what path would you take to find it, and what would catch your eye?  

I have been creating job listings, but how can I check to make sure I am creating them correctly?

This tip sheet, How to Create a Job Listing, gives you step-by-step instructions and graphics to walk through each step.  You can use this guide to make sure you are not leaving out key details or formatting text incorrectly.  When you push your Job Listing to your selected job board(s), always include keywords. By adding additional keywords descriptive of the particular Job Listing in the "Ad Keywords" section, you are expanding the audience in which the Job Listing can reach.

This cannot be emphasized enough:  check the grammar and punctuation in your Job Listings.  An applicant is often denied consideration if there is one error on a submitted resume.  Employers are often held to that same standard.  Organizations can miss qualified candidates who skip over Job Listings with errors because applicants possess a definition of professionalism too, and organizations' Job Listings which contain errors do not portray a positive impression to the applicant.

If you are still wondering How Do I Get More Applicants, take a look at the length of your Job Listing. Is it too long or too short? Don't scream "Help! My Job Posting Isn’t Getting Enough Applicants!" until you explore these additional ideas.  If you start your Job Listing with a company description, instead of describing the vacant position, the potential applicant might move on without reading the full Job Listing simply because the initial few seconds of text did not catch the potential applicant's interest. Use a more specific job title. Learning more about the company is important so consider moving that information towards the bottom of the Job Listing so the applicant can readily just what (s)he might be doing in that particular vacant role. Plus, the odds of your job listing ranking higher in search results will partially depend on how early in your description you use job-relevant keywords that match the words job seekers use to enter queries into search engines and job aggregators...so unless you are a very large, well-known organization you may be better off having the company description at the bottom of the job listing. In this blog, Indeed offers insight on what might prevent your job listings from being posted on Indeed.

This five part blog series encapsulates some best practices to create more effective Job Listings.

  1. How to Write Job Descriptions Optimized for Job Boards and Internet Search, Tip 1
  2. How to Write Job Descriptions Optimized for Job Boards and Internet Search, Tip 2
  3. How to Write Job Descriptions Optimized for Job Boards and Internet Search, Tip 3
  4. How to Write a Job Description Optimized for Job Boards and Internet Search, Tip 4: Write your job description naturally and then edit accordingly to include the 3 Ps-Presence, Popularity and Placement. ​
  5. How to Write a Job Description Optimized for Job Boards and Internet Search, Tip 5: If your vacancy is in a smaller town or suburb of a larger metropolitan city, set your Job Board City to that larger metropolitan city. Your Job Listing itself should reflect the actual city, but expanding the Job Board City to a larger market increases your applicant reach.

How do I push a job listing to a job board?

This tip sheet, How to Push Job Listings to External Job Boards, outlines each step necessary to push a Job Listing to a job board.  Always include the Job City, Job State and Job Zip Code in the "Job Location" section. In "Job Location" section, you may wish to select a bigger metropolitan area to expand your applicant target.

In the "Automated Job Board Feeds" section, you can select up to five free job boards to push your Job Listing.  Within the "Additional Job Push" section, you can push that Job Listing to your Job Board Favorites, some of which might have additional fees. This tip sheet, Job Board Favorites, shows you how to add additional boards of your preference. How Do I Get More Applicants you ask? Consider where you are marketing this Job Listing.  Have you thought about state workforce boards (unemployment offices)? Niche job boards are additional resources to find job seekers who possess a particular type of expertise that correlates to the roles you seek to fill.  

What is the difference between the "Job Board Ad Body" and the "Formatted Ad Description"?

The "Job Board Ad Body" is the "preview" or the small amount of text that an applicant sees on a job board before clicking on the job for more information.  The "Formatted Ad Description" is the detailed information that is revealed once an applicant clicks on your job listing in order to obtain more details. Take a look at the images in this tip sheet to ensure you have a solid understanding of these fields and where they are located. By adding additional keywords descriptive of the particular Job Listing, you are expanding the audience in which the Job Listing can reach.

Oops!  I made an error on my job listing.  Can I correct it?

It is possible to update your Job Listing if you realize you made an error.  You can Edit a Live Job Listing where any edits you make to the existing Job Listing within HireCentric will automatically post to those external boards such as Indeed and/or CareerBuilder along with any of the selected boards in the "Automated Job Board Feeds" section of the job board push page without any further action on your part. For all other external job boards available for selection within HireCentric in your "Additional Job Board Push" area of the job board push page, Job Listings are manually posted by our Job Post team. For those job boards, you can edit the job listing in HireCentric which will update it on your HireCentric page, but it will NOT automatically update to that board.  If you want to update the Job Listing on that board, you will need to do one of these two options:  1.  Log in to your external job board on your end and make the correction/changes from within that job board's portal or 2.  Email us at support@exacthire.com with the details, and we will make that change. With this option, please note that we will only do this in the first 30 days of a job posting if the update is due to a major issue such as a typo and/or misinformation.

In our organization, we have a marketing team that has created various videos and other media. Can this be incorporated within our Job Listings?

Video and other media catch the eye of potential applicants!  Within HireCentric, you can Jazz Up Your Job Postings Today by embedding video and images into your job listings.  Here are Five Ways to Use Video in Your Recruiting and Hiring Process.  If you have PDF files that you would like to include, those can be incorporated into your site as well.  Also you can add additional pages to your HireCentric site if you would like separate page(s) to share information such as Benefits or Company Culture, among other topics.

Can I promote my job listings on social media?

Absolutely!  Social media is a great way to share the news that you are hiring, and your job listings can be viewed by individuals who already have some type of interest in your organization.  Check out these tip sheets:  Facebook Jobs App - HireCentric ATS and  Socialize Job Feed With Twitter & Facebook Using Twitterfeed - HireCentric ATS. If you do not currently post your jobs on social media, you are missing a huge target audience. YouTube reaches more U.S. adults aged 18-34 than any cable network. Consider these statistics, and if you still needed more convincing to enhance your use of social media...

Some of our current employees have individuals they recommend as potential applicants.  Is there a way to track employee referrals?

You can track referrals by current employees within HireCentric by allowing employees to create unique links with their names embedded so that when someone in their network clicks one of these links to apply, the ATS will automatically record the referring employee's name in the source section of the new applicant's record. Encourage your current employees to share that the organization is hiring. Word of mouth is a great referral tool, and when your existing talent can refer potential new talent, that can be promising!

How can I see what information we ask for in our organization's employment application?

One of the best ways for professional growth to occur is to examine the hiring process internally. Have you tested your own application?  Before our new clients go live, we always ask them to test their employment application(s) to ensure they see the application process from a potential applicant's eyes. This gives them a chance to examine if all the sections and questions they have asked for inclusion are truly needed in their preferred order and to help them determine if they have omitted key info necessary in the selection process.

For our existing HireCentric clients who have been with us for awhile, consider testing your own application(s). Information you wanted in your employment application(s) months or even years ago may be unnecessary now.  When you test your application(s), time yourself to see how long it takes. Did it take too long?  Do you really need the full mailing address of the applicant's prior employers? How about asking for the company phone number instead of the Supervisor's email and direct phone number?  Were your instructions clear and concise? Eliminate questions and/or sections that are unneeded.  Ask yourself:  How Applicant-Friendly is your Hiring Process?

Another option to consider is using the Two-Step Application for some or all of your job listings. The Two-Step Application feature allows you to break the application process down into two phases - a short initial application and then a follow-up to fill in the missing pieces. This is a great option when you are competing to catch the attention of in-demand applicants for a hard-to-fill position; these applicants do not want to spend a lot of time filling out a long application because they have a lot of viable employment options.

Sometimes, people are hesitant to click a button that says "Apply Now"; however, they could be more inclined to apply for that same job listing if they see the opportunity to start the application process on the same page as the job description.  The "Apply on Job Listing" optional feature is an available feature for your implementation.  

Applicants have a full plate to juggle whether they are employed full-time, part-time or are currently unemployed.  An individual might have started an application for one of your job listings; however, (s)he did not submit it.  Did you know that Administrators can run an "Incomplete Applicants Report" in HireCentric? In fact, we can even enable a feature that automatically sends an email reminder to applicants who have not yet completed an application for a particular job listing. You can specify how many days should pass from the time the application is started for the alerts to trigger. If you want this feature enabled, please email support@exacthire.com.

On the flip side, I feel like I am getting too many applicants.  Is there a way to filter the applicants to meet certain requirements?

You can create a group of Job Specific Screening Questions to screen the applicant and identify job specific information to determine if this applicant is or is not a good fit for the particular position in which (s)he has applied.  You can even establish scoring and disqualification filters to help narrow your applicant pool.  

A few additional items to consider...

Keep the applicant engaged.  Inform each applicant of his/her place in the hiring process.  Be timely with feedback to applicants about where they are in your process by using customized email templates. However, once the position is filled, reach out to the finalists who were not selected to help protect your employment brand by personally following up with them.  Even with the disappointment that comes with denial, a finalist will likely maintain a more favorable view of you and your organization by hearing a human voice with empathy sharing disappointing news than reading it in an rejection email. That finalist could very well be your next hire.

What happens to those applicants assigned the status of "Good Candidate--Keep for Future Opportunities"? Do they fall by the wayside in applicant limbo? As you sort through your "Good Candidate..." applicants, you can copy an applicant to a new Job Listing in which you feel (s)he could be qualified.

As you post Job Listings on your HireCentric ATS, keep this guide accessible to refer to particular strategies you found most applicable.  Even with this resource guide, it is natural to still have questions along the way. The ExactHire Support Team is here to personally answer your questions. Please contact us at support@exacthire.com when you need that extra assistance.