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Why Aren’t Job Candidates Applying for My Company’s Open Role? [Three Reasons Why and Three Tactics That May Help]

Written by David Salters on July 8, 2021

Warren Averett candidate open role image

Many of today’s business leaders are finding themselves staring at an empty resume file and asking this question: if unemployment is so high, why aren’t candidates applying for my company’s open role?

It’s important to understand how the current talent market is operating—and consider why you may not be getting a steady stream of applications from qualified candidates for the job you just posted.

We’ve listed three reasons why your company may be struggling to attract those new hires and why those factors may be at play.

The good news is that companies that not only understand the talent market, but accept it and work to create an effective strategy are already positioned to be more competitive in recruiting. We’ve included some tips for how to do that too.

Did you know that Warren Averett hosts an entire division of talent advisors and recruiters? Learn how our team helps businesses attract and retain the right team members here.

Three Reasons Why Candidates Aren’t Applying for Your Company’s Jobs

While these three reasons certainly aren’t exhaustive, we see that these are some of the most common reasons why organizations are struggling to hire for their open roles.

1. The candidates you’re looking for may already have jobs.

The number you see as the unemployment rate doesn’t necessarily reflect the situation across the board and throughout different industries. Just because the unemployment rate is high doesn’t mean that the open roles at your company will have an interview line out the door.

Most open jobs are currently in the hospitality or manufacturing industries. Those roles account for a disproportionate majority of positions that are currently open.

When it comes to fields like IT, engineering and sales, the United States has a fully deployed workforce, which means that many of those kinds of roles are already filled. Candidates you are targeting in those areas likely aren’t waiting for a job offer to come through because they are already employed elsewhere.

So, while unemployment rate may be high overall, the unemployment rate within your specific industry may not be high at all. It all depends on the talent you are looking for in your company’s industry.

2. Your culture and benefits aren’t compelling enough for your candidates.

The American workforce has developed new priorities and expectations for the employers they choose to work for.

If you company hasn’t evaluated your compensation models in the last few months, you may already be behind your competitors for attracting new employees. Companies are going to new heights when it comes to compensation and benefits so they can attract new people and retain the ones they have. In comparison to other companies vying for the same candidates, your offerings simply may not be the most attractive.

But it’s not just about money. Today’s employees want to work for companies that demonstrate corporate responsibility in the form of community service and philanthropy. Not to mention that employees also expect their employers to prioritize the social and environmental causes that are important to them.

If your values don’t align with the candidates you’re pursuing—or you don’t communicate your values at all—it will be difficult to convince your talent pool that your organization is the right choice.

3. You are operating in an extremely competitive market.

At the end of the day, today’s talent market is just tough. Every company is attempting to pull out all the stops in the name of attracting the sharpest new employees.

And because many candidates that companies are looking for already have jobs that are desperately trying to keep them on the payroll, the best candidates may have their pick of companies to work for. Competition is just steep.

How To Competitively Recruit Talent in Today’s Market

While the talent market is tight, there are a few tactics you can use to help your organization maintain—or create—a competitive edge.

1. Clearly define and communicate your culture and values.

Candidates will want to know what your company’s all about, and you’ll need to have an answer prepared. What is it like to work there? How does your organization show appreciation for employees? What causes does the company support? What principles drive decision-making? The answers to questions like these matter more to job candidates now than ever before.

Still, it’s one thing to know and experience your own organization’s culture and values, but it becomes even more important when communicating it externally. When you’re talking with candidates, invite them in for a glimpse into what their experience may be as an employee.

Share photos of your team working and having fun together on your social media accounts. Better yet, connect your candidates with your current team members who can give a first hand account of what the culture is like. Considering how your organization lives out its culture and values and communicating that vision well will help you recruit not just any candidates, but the right ones for your company.

2. Task someone in your company to develop, execute and track your talent strategy.

In a market this competitive, companies need to have a seat at the leadership table for someone who can speak to the talent market, you company’s needs, what your talent strategy is and if it’s working.

If you don’t already have someone in your organization with this responsibility, now is the time to designate someone to help ensure your company isn’t falling behind in such a fast-paced time of recruiting and communicate your status to your company’s leaders.

Talent strategy shouldn’t be an afterthought, and your approach shouldn’t be arbitrary. Someone in your company should consistently access and analyze the data that can help you gauge how your organization is doing—including data and comparisons of compensation, benefits and culture.

Some things to consider in particular are hybrid and remote work options. Data shows that a flexible work environment is here to stay, and many candidates will not only desire but expect this offering from professional employers.

It’s also important to evaluate how your company is doing when it comes to how your strategy is being executed.

With new remote work acceptance and capabilities, are you taking advantage of the opportunity to recruit outside of your local markets? With data showing that mothers are more likely to be out of work than fathers or non-parents, are you tapping into this talent pool? Are your recruiting efforts fast acting, or are you taking so long that time is killing your deals?

Like any other business endeavor, your recruiting should include strategy, measurement, reporting and accountability.

3. Budget for talent costs and stay ahead.

It’s important that companies consider the financial cost of their goals when it comes to talent. Don’t turn a blind eye to the impact a talent market like the one we’re in can have on your expenses.

Turnover on your team can be outrageously expensive, so consider that one of the best ways to save on talent costs is to retain the team members you already have. Spending a small sum on a token of appreciation for your team or an event to advance your culture and values can go a long way—and it’s much cheaper than what you would pay to find a replacement for any role.

The same can be said for investing in training for your management teams. Spending the money to equip your leaders in soft skills and management techniques that lead to employee engagement will be much less expensive than replacing their team members every few years. In the end, keeping the talent that you already have is one of the best things you can do for your recruitment efforts.

Anticipating what will retain your team and focusing on those costs will help you to stay ahead.

Learn More about Responding to Today’s Talent Market and Recruiting Well

Competition is tough, and there are many challenges that organizations may face to recruit and retain the right people for their business, but with the right talent strategy and an understanding (and acceptance) of the market, you’ll be prepared to meet those challenges head-on.

If your business needs assistance with staffing and recruitingtechnology or employee relations, connect with a Warren Averett advisor who can help.

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