In the depths of the recession, there was an average of six unemployed people for every open job in the United States. Slowly, that average has whittled down to three people per open job — still high, but definitely demonstrating a welcome shift in hiring.

From a recruiting standpoint, what actions should you be taking now that more people are getting back into the workforce and the applicant pool is shrinking?

When you were swamped with resumes, it was easy to use your recruiting system to sift through all of those applications and automatically send a canned message to applicants:

Reviewing your resume. Will get back to you if there is a match.

Since so many people were looking, you really didn’t think twice about “the employer brand” as long as you acknowledged an application (it was a buyer’s market). In most cases, the communication ended there unless you chose to move forward with an applicant.

Now that there are fewer applicants and the competition for good talent is heating up, it’s a critical time to revisit your entire applicant process, your communications with applicants, and discover ways to build up your employer brand within social media.


Now is the time to review your process, from a user perspective. Start by going through your online process as a candidate and search for a position you know is available. See where your Ad’s are being displayed (Indeed, Monster, etc.) and how they look. Fill out and apply for a position and ask yourself if what this company is asking for is reasonable?


  • Is the process easy or complex?
  • How long do applicants spend submitting an application?
  • Is that acceptable? Is it too much?
  • Do you risk losing good applicants because of the process?

You want the application process to be easy and fast. Be wary of requesting too much information and making this process time-consuming. Avoid the abandoned shopping cart syndrome.


Take a look at the communication pieces that applicants receive once they apply.

The “resume received” email is a given. But look at increasing your communications so that you build the relationship with each applicant.

This may be as simple as adding a courtesy email that says the position has been filled, but there are many other creative ways to keep the conversation going. Avoid the black hole syndrome, where applicants never know what happened or where they stand.

Consider sending these additional communications once an application has been received:

  • Company brochure/newsletter (Thought you would like to know more about us)
  • Latest company press release announcing a new client, etc.
  • Top 5 reasons why employees love working here
  • Video clip (i.e. CEO message with vision, mission)

In marketing, we have drip campaigns that provide content to prospects over time. Think along those same lines for your applicants to keep them informed, engaged and excited about your company!


Most of you probably check out a candidate on LinkedIn these days. Likewise, job applicants are also checking out your company on Facebook, LinkedIn and other social media channels.

Make sure these social media channels are updated with company news and other items, rather than functioning as static signposts.

Also, be on the lookout for negative comments on Glassdoor and other web sites. Many savvy job hunters will look at these. Consider providing a list of objections to staff members that will be actively interviewing candidates so they can defuse some of the negative comments you find.


HRIS systems (automated systems used for recruiting and tracking applications) initially came into being to help address a time-consuming and costly process. It’s time to revisit this powerful technology and insert some “human” touches back into the process, by keeping candidates better informed on where they stand in the process and treating them as individuals rather than a number


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