How do I attract more qualified applicants?

Sharon Davies Talent Propeller
10.07.2015 Sharon Davies, Talent Propeller photo shoot in Auckland. Mandatory Photo Credit ©Michael Bradley.

As a small business, it can sometimes be challenging to get candidates with the right qualifications to apply for your open job roles. You may not have the visibility that some medium and large companies enjoy, or you may be operating in a niche market, which makes you difficult for qualified applicants to find. Looking for the right people can sometimes feel just as hard as finding new business prospects.

Posting an advert on job boards just doesn’t cut it anymore. It can be the equivalent of putting a message in a bottle and throwing it out to sea. You may receive many applications, but are they actually suited to the position? When you need someone who is qualified in a particular area and has specific skills, you can’t take the one size fits all approach. You have to get a lot more targeted than that.

One such approach is headhunting, which means scouring your professional and online networks to see if someone might fit the bill. LinkedIn is a useful tool to find individuals based on a select criteria and approach them about the role. You can immediately see people’s experience, work history, education and peer recommendations. It’s a great way to make new connections in your industry and find the right person for the job.

Another great social network for recruitment is Facebook. It may seem surprising but with 62.5%* of the Australian population are on the platform, it’s a tool that you shouldn’t underestimate. Social networks, in general, are now playing a defining role in reaching out to what recruiters call “passive job seekers” – people who may not be actively looking for a job but could be swayed for the right role.

This is how you go beyond job boards and actively target people who are relevant to you. Facebook Adverts allow you to specifically identify a target market for a small fee, and your job ad will be popping up in specific people’s news feeds. If you are also actively looking for millennials, you might want to have a strategic campaign across all platforms including Twitter and Instagram, in order to widen your reach.

Importantly, you will also need to ensure that your advert sounds attractive. Much like a resume, you have only three seconds to make an impression, so make it count. Don’t list bullet points that read like a job description. Excite and entice people by focusing on why someone would want to work for you, not what skills they must possess to be successful in the role.

Once you’ve had qualified applicants come through in your inbox, don’t waste any time or you may lose them to another employer. You will need to quickly assess their suitability, interview them and make a decision. If you’re looking for the best, it’s a race against time, so don’t miss out and make an offer soon. Good luck!


Sharon Davies, Founder and Managing Director, Talent Propeller