How Many Job Applicants Does it Take to Find One Qualified Candidate?

While the question sounds like the preamble to a funny punch line, the answer is no laughing matter.

According to an article last week in the Wall Street Journal, it takes many more than most employers think (or at least want to accept.) I repeat – a lot more. The actual numbers are numbing.

For example, an infographic presented in the article revealed that it takes approximately 1,000 online views by candidates to get 100 candidates to complete the application. Out of that, 25 applications are selected for review, then 4 to 6 candidates are recommended for an interview. When all is said and done, companies may find their one diamond in the rough only after 1,000 candidates view the job posting. If those numbers hold up, it is clear that the impending war for talent is no longer imminent or pending. It’s here today.

Not one to rely only exclusively on hearsay, I was prompted by the article to review 25 jobs posted on our applicant processing system by clients during the last 3 months. The results don’t only confirm the findings presented in the Wall Street Journal but throw up an even bigger gauntlet to challenge employers. The best views-to-applicant scenario was 10 percent. But a more common scenario was as low as 1 percent.

Unfortunately for many companies, as good or bad as those results are, the job search does not always end when the one lonely qualified candidate is identified and offered the job. According to research presented by Talent Function Group, LLC, “the chosen applicant accepts the offer only 80% of the time.” That situation leads to two options – offer the job to your second choice (if there is one) or go back to the drawing board. Neither choice is desirable when a company’s productivity and competitive advantage are on the line and dependent on a minimum time to hire and high quality of hire.

To win the war for talent moving forward, nearly every employer will need to cast the widest possible sourcing net to attract, identify, and hire qualified candidates. In addition, operations and sales managers don’t have the time to waste interviewing candidates who can’t do the job.

The competition for recruiting qualified skilled workers poses a formidable challenge for most organizations. Management has a choice: deal with a “resu-mess” which will inundate recruiting and human resource staffs, which are already running lean; or insist on applicant processing automation to build a talent pool of qualified candidates, reduce the time-to-hire, and ultimately improve the quality of employees.

This article originally appeared in The Total View, a weekly online newsletter that focuses on hiring, management and retention strategies. The Total View is written and published by Ira S. Wolfe, president of Success Performance Solutions and is distributed with permission by The Chrysalis Corporation. Subscribe for FREE to The Total View by typing your e-mail address in the newsletter sign-up box on the right side of this page.

 

Employers Scale Back Job Boards; Expand Social Media

In a trend started during the latter half of the past decade, employers were forced to sift through mounds of online applications, thanks to the convenience of online job boards. The recession and millions of displaced workers only exacerbated the challenge. Recruiters are forced to read a lot of applications submitted by candidates who don’t qualify. That has led many employers to scale back their use of online job boards.

According to a December survey from the Corporate Executive Board, about 24% of companies plan to decrease their usage of third-party employment websites and job boards this year. Instead nearly 80% of the companies surveyed are hiring a different breed of recruiters who can find passive candidates, using networking sites like Facebook and LinkedIn , as well poaching candidates from competitors.

The experience of a Northeastern Wisconsin employer highlights the problem of what I projected several years ago would be a “resu-mess.” The employer had 134 $15-an-hour entry-level job openings. It received 850 applications. After reviewing them for high school diplomas or GED certificates, work history and experience, it eliminated 450 applicants. The remainder were tested for physical dexterity and given eighth-grade reading and math tests, which eliminated 208 more. The remaining 192 applicants were given personal interviews which focused on character issues.

That article enticed me to visit our applicant processing system to assess the relationship between the number of ad views to completed applications per open position. For Chief Marketing Officer, 285 potential candidates viewed the ad using a combination of an online job board and LinkedIN. Seventy-two completed the application, but only one candidate met the requirements of the client. A sales executive position attracted 170 candidates after being viewed by 5,636 jobseekers. A search for hospitality associates caught the eye of 21,234 candidates. Eight hundred thirty-nine (839) applied. Less than 150 applicants qualified for interviews.

This sheer volume of applications is forcing companies, small and large, to rethink how they recruit. Simply cutting back on posting jobs to CareerBuilder or Monster isn’t enough.

Qualified but passive candidates are building connections in LinkedIn. But many companies have blocked accessibility to networking sites. Human resources professional, generally a conservative group, are also often reluctant to join networking sites. Without access to online networks and a robust list of connections, recruiters are fighting this war for talent in handcuffs.

This onslaught of applications is also being processed and filtered by fewer recruiters and downsized human resources departments. Recruiting, compliance and administrative human resources functions in many small businesses are handled by one employee.

More applications and fewer resources lead to delays in responding to candidates. Top candidates may fall through the cracks and be ignored. Likewise, they might be turned off by a slow response and lack of acknowledgment. That’s an ill-advised strategy that employers competing for a precious few qualified employees afford to continue.

An online applicant processing system (APS) is one solution many companies are adopting. An APS allows employers to open the recruiting funnel without overwhelming resources to filter out unqualified candidates.

Applicant Tracking and Processing SystemUsing an APS, a hiring manager creates a job listing and then adds screening filter questions. Each question is carefully weighted and prioritized. Candidates can apply using an unlimited number of online job boards such as CareerBuilder, Monster, Indeed), free job boards, social media networking sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook, employee referrals, and other sites like Craig’s List. When the manager logs into the APS system, he or she can quickly view all candidates or filter for only candidates who meet the minimum qualifications. Unqualified candidates can be notified automatically using the system’s email templates.

An online Applicant Processing System is a smart, cost effective solution to a growing problem confronting nearly every organization – recruiting qualified candidates.


This article originally appeared in The Total View, a weekly online newsletter that focuses on hiring, management and retention strategies. The Total View is written and published by Ira S. Wolfe, president of Success Performance Solutions and is distributed with permission by The Chrysalis Corporation. Subscribe for FREE to The Total View by typing your e-mail address in the newsletter sign-up box on the right side of this page!