How We Exponentially Expanded Our Applicant Pool - and Hired the Right People

Putting the Right Team Together is Tough

Putting the right team together is essential to running a business. You can’t completely avoid turnover, of course, but hiring the right people—and keeping them—undoubtedly saves time. The right people will constantly be learning. Eventually, they’ll be able to solve problems the way you would when you’re not around. But how do you find them?

In my company’s early days, we ran into a lot of trouble trying to hire the right people. Not that we were hiring the wrong people, but we couldn’t seem to find the right ones. We posted on every popular online job board. Regardless of the position—SEO Specialists, Social Media professionals, etc.—we got very few applicants. We were lucky if ten people applied for one position.

We eventually found that the problem was with the posts themselves. Though they accurately reflected what the jobs would entail, they were too specific to show up in many online job searches with basic keywords. Prospective employees don’t always look for specific job titles; rather, they search for keywords related to the job level, industry, or personality.

Finding More Applicants Means Hiring the Right People

Of course, it’s not just acquiring applicants that ensures you hire the right people for your company. We have a specific and rigorous interview process that is the key determinant of who we take on. However, so much of our success depends on our employees’ interactions with one another. The more prospects we get to the interview stage, the higher our chances of finding the best fit.

How could we widen our pool of applicants? We needed Project Managers and Content Writers, but we knew we could train anyone with the right personality to be able to do these jobs well. So, what kind of personalities did we need?

For starters, we knew that applicants straight out of college and eager for work would be good people to fill these roles. However, very few of them would search for jobs with “specialist” in the title. Rather than searching for a highly-focused dream job, recent graduates are much more concerned with finding a job in the first place. There were plenty of potential employees out there with the eagerness and discipline we’d been searching for. Plus, their college degrees and other experiences ensured they would be highly trainable. But with our highly specific job posts, we weren’t attracting them to the company.

Make Job Posts Friendlier to Applicants

So, we began making more of our posts friendly to entry-level job searchers. We molded the posts to the kind of candidates we wanted rather than to the specific job title. For instance, instead of titling a job post “SEO Specialist,” we named it “Admin/Content Writer.” For project managers, we used terms like “PR Coordinator.” By using general entry-level terms like “admin,” “assistant” and “coordinator,” we immediately saw an increase in the number of qualified applicants; instead of getting maybe 10 resumes in total, we were now receiving closer to 200.

I can’t over-emphasize how having the right team members—the ones who ‘get’ your company and its other employees—is vital to your company’s success. It’s much easier to get these people onboard and shift responsibilities as it becomes necessary rather than undergoing constant turnover.

By Puneet Mehta