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The job market is bouncing back, and that means employers aren’t just hiring to fill vacancies, they’re hiring to grow. With more jobs on the market than people to fill them, job seekers can be selective about the opportunities they pursue.

All that to say, competition is fierce, and every time you lose someone from your candidate funnel, you lose a potential great hire. Possibly to a competitor!

Here are 4 common reasons candidates jump ship (or don’t apply at all):

  1. Job ads are generic and make the position seem dull.
  2. Companies don’t sell themselves as a great place to work.
  3. The process is difficult, frustrating, or takes too long.
  4. High potential candidates get lost in the masses.

Remember, active job seekers are probably applying for several jobs at a time, so they’re having to repeat this process again and again. The best way for you to stand out as an employer is to make the candidate experience a positive one. Not only will you keep more candidates, you’ll also create happy customers—nearly 70% of job seekers say they’re more likely to buy from a company that treated them well in the application process.

Here are 6 tips for improving your candidate experience:

  1. Keep the application process short and sweet. Step into the candidate’s shoes and see what the experience is like from their perspective. Also see how your process compares to other companies. Candidates aren’t on your payroll yet, so lessen the workload as much as you can.
  2. Connect people to the purpose of your organization. As the job market evolves, we’re seeing that meaning really is the new money. Job seekers and employees are looking for the “WHY” in their work-life. They want jobs that are driven by purpose, not just paychecks. To attract and keep candidates, you need to give them purpose.
  3. Give candidates a reason to stick with you. Look at how theme parks like Disney have made waiting in line part of the ride. In the HR world, the end game isn’t a roller coaster, but you can certainly take something tedious and turn it into something that’s engaging and has value for the candidate, not just for you.
  4. Know how to pinpoint your best candidates. Top candidates may not be on the market long. You need a way to quickly separate high potential from the rest, before they’re snatched up by the competition. Pre-hire assessments are a great way to do this, especially if you’re working with a large pool of candidates.
  5. Lean on technology, but keep it human. Automating your process is the best way to create a seamless experience, but don’t forget to add a human touch. Candidates want to know that you’re interested in them as a person and that they’re more than a number in your system.
  6. Don’t leave candidates in the dark. A little communication goes a long way. Let candidates know what to expect at each step and what’s next in the process. And consider following up with all of the candidates who apply, even the ones who didn’t make the cut.

The key is to keep as many candidates as you can in the funnel, and then narrow down to the very best fit. But don’t stress if you optimize your process and still see some candidate drop off. Be confident in your recruitment message, and know that the right people will stay.