5 Simple Tips to Get Better Candidates in Your Door

5 Simple Tips to Get Better Candidates in Your Door

When you’re gearing up for another recruitment cycle, it’s easy to be pessimistic. The hiring process can be longer than intended, a qualified candidate can be harder to reach than expected, and your internal team may already be stretched thin with other projects.

The candidate market is tight. Studies show that top candidates are off the market in 10 days. If you want to find, source, and recruit top talent, your team needs to be ready to strike at any moment. When it feels like time just isn’t on your side, you might need to employ a few methods to streamline your recruiting efforts so that your team can focus on getting those right people in the door.

1. Establish a Search Plan

Before you even begin to write a job description or pursue candidates, your team needs to establish a search plan. Every position for which you hire will be a little different, and so should your method of filling it. Begin by clearly mapping your objectives for the search and defining potential hurdles.

What is your most important consideration? Time? Cost-to-hire? Culture fit?

Will you have to educate applicants on your employer brand?

Establish 2-3 objectives and keep them top of mind throughout every step of the hiring process. Talk through any hiring obstacles you have, and attack them up-front.

Establish a scoring mechanism early on to make sure that your team is reviewing applicants impartially and to the same standards. There are hundreds of interview-scoring templates available online. Each put different weights on individual responses to questions, overall competencies, and culture fit. Use these as a jumping off point, but review your mechanisms before every search and adjust your method based on specific roles.

Make sure that there is a single point of contact that owns the recruiting process. Consider bringing in an external recruiter to be the one to connect and coordinate with candidates. External recruiters have industry expertise, networks, and knowledge that your internal team doesn’t. They can add a lot of value to the hiring process. Often, this means sourcing and qualifying candidates with less ease and effort compared to an internal hiring team.

2. Be Picky About Job Boards

Your team has no shortage of job sites to which they can post an opening. However, not every platform is made equal, and posting to too many sites can lead to a crowded pipeline of unqualified candidates. (this can also become a major time suck for you and your team)

Take a step back and consider where you will find the highest quality candidates. In some cases, big platforms like LinkedIn, Indeed, and Monster might yield the best results. They can even offer you a pool of applicants to consider the next time you have an opening. However, the time-cost of managing high-volume recruiting efforts is often higher than you think, and the benefits of the few qualified applicants do not always outweigh the cost of the unqualified clutter.

Instead, consider honing in on your most qualified applicants using niche job boards. These sites have specialties ranging from IT to marketing to executive search and can help attract higher caliber applicants than a standard job site. Even though your ads will have less traffic, the odds of finding a handful of qualified applicants increases. This reduces your overall time-to-fill.

3. Focus on the Job Description

Don’t be afraid to spend more time upfront figuring out exactly how to attract the right fit once you post your position. Writing job descriptions is an artform, but the substance, of course, matters very much. You want to balance clarity with branding and let your culture shine through.

There are millions of competing job postings that distract qualified people from your position. Your job description needs to excite a candidate about working at your company. Be very clear about the job title and duties (these matter to prospects more than you might realize). You don’t want to waste either of your time with vague qualifications. Use your branding and culture to grab a candidate’s attention, and don’t forget to mention any workplace perks you have.

Most importantly, be accessible. Remember the point of contact that you established in your search plan? That recruiter is now that face of this job description. Encourage them to include contact info or a link to their professional LinkedIn page to help humanize your recruiting effort. An excited, qualified candidate will jump at the chance to make a personal connection with your hiring team during the application process.

4. Use Your Application to Qualify Candidates Up Front

The application is your first line of defense against unqualified candidates. Build in upfront questions to help you quickly assess a person’s fit for your role. For example, ask applicants about their long-term career goals to see if they align with your company’s current trajectory.

These questions will require more focus from your applicants and will ensure that they are serious about your open role. It can also cut down time on the several rounds of interviews it can take to rule out people who are bad fits for your company’s culture.

5. Be Ready to Make an Offer on Day 1… or Day 100

Never forget the fact that while you are interviewing several people for the same opening, your applicants are doing the same. Remember, top candidates, are typically off the market in 10 days. You don’t want to be hasty with your decision, but you will know the right candidate when you meet him or her. Don’t let a burdensome HR process slow you down.

Work with the HR team to develop offer letters, benefits info, and other essential details that you can have on hand the day that you start your interviews. This will save both you and your candidate time and get them into their new role more quickly. If you don’t have an HR team, look online for resources or seek outside help from expert recruiters.

However, don’t rule out the possibility that the process could drag out longer than you would like. Remember, the average in-house job search takes 90 days. Make sure your budgeted time, your job description, and the empty spot on your team can handle a lengthy search. Keep those objectives in mind, and actively pursue qualified candidates.


Time isn’t always on your side, but the right recruiter can be. Don’t shy away from engaging with a recruiter throughout different stages of the job search to help source candidates, qualify applicants, or send final offer letters. Streamlining your recruiting efforts will help your internal team and any external help communicate effectively and work together towards the same goals.

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