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Job offer: Top 5 mistakes according to candidates

Even today, job posting is an unavoidable part of the talent acquisition process. Many recommendations should be considered when writing them. But who better than candidates to tell what frustrates them most? We've asked them what recruiters should avoid, and we've come up with some alternatives to make your job offers a magnet for qualified applications.
Job offer: Top 5 mistakes according to candidates

More than 3,000 candidates across Europe told us what they expect from their relationship with recruiters*. The job offer is often the starting point of this relationship, and that's why it needs to be carefully designed. You'll never miss a candidate again. First and foremost, you should know that candidates are becoming increasingly strict about the reasons why they don't apply for a job. Some reasons may even surprise you! 

*YouGov / CleverConnect study (2023)

Here are the top 5 reasons why candidates would not apply for a job...

N°5 : the required skills mentioned in the offer are only technical and not relational

21% of people surveyed cited this criterion. 1/5th of your potential candidates think that reading a "shopping list" of purely technical skills would discourage them from applying. What they're missing are selection criteria based on personality and soft skills.

Candidates are tired of being numbers, a collection of techniques and experiences. They want to be seen (and treated!) as people with a voice. That's what they are, and it's important to take that into consideration. 

What you need to do: 

  1. Stop producing copy-and-paste job offers, all based on the same model, whether you're recruiting an accounting specialist, a project manager or a technician. You need to personalize your job offers according to the profile you're looking for, but don't forget that you're also looking for a personality that matches your corporate values. Soft skills should therefore be included in your job offer, just like technical skills. 
  2. Choose wisely the soft skills you mention in your job post. Just as you shouldn't try to find the famous "rare bird" on the technical side, you can't expect someone to have all the soft skills that exist. For each job offer, think about a few soft skills that are especially useful for that specific position, citing both "must-have" skills and those that would only be a bonus.
  3. Don't forget that you also need to enable the candidate to evaluate whether his or her soft skills are relevant for the job. To do this, you need to tell them the context in which they will be working, and (for instance) why being autonomous or an active listener is extremely important for the job. 

N°4: not enough information about the company's culture and values

24% of people surveyed mentioned this lack as a reason for not starting the recruitment process.

If you're waiting to be convinced by the candidates who apply to your organization... you should know that candidates also need to be convinced that applying is a good idea! And to do that, they need to get to know you and your commitments, even before reading a job description. Make sure you give enough details about your employer brand. 

What you need to do: 

  1. Be 100% sure of who you are and what you have to offer potential candidates. Often, it's hard to talk about who you are, what you promise and why they should join you... simply because you don't know what to say! If you don't have an employer brand platform (a summary of your identity, corporate culture, values and promises), it's time to produce it so you can speak to your candidates with a clear voice.
  2. Forget the buzz phrases and find out what makes you a unique employer. If everything you promise is also promised by all your competitors... you'll never stand out. A quick look at your competitors' or your peers' job offers can help you identify your "extra tricks", the ones that will make you a desirable employer.
  3. Include this info early on in your job ad, in a short, punchy paragraph. More than just a description of what you do, you also need to explain your commitments to both customers and partners, as well as to your employees...and potential employees!

N°3: the job offer is not easy to read due to a bad interface & design experience

25% of those surveyed would not apply for a job if "the website interface is not well-designed and makes the process of applying for the job long and unpleasant". Moreover, navigation is not only important for the job offer, but also for the application form. 18% would stop applying if "the application form is too long".

While the content of a job offer is extremely important, the page layout and navigation are just as essential. You could miss out on a quarter of your potential candidates!

What you need to do: 

  1. When you're writing your job offer, always think about who's going to read it. And just imagine that potential candidates might not read the whole thing, but simply skim over it initially. That's why you need to structure paragraphs in a way that highlights the job offer's key points. Stop long, copy-pasted paragraphs and don't hesitate to break up the text by skipping lines. 
  2. Add visual elements to make your offer more readable and attractive:some text
    • with what are known as reading levels: headings, bold for important parts, italics for quotations, etc.
    • with visuals and/or videos that can make your job offer more dynamic, more personalized and, above all, more human!
  3. Take care of your job posting's digital environment. Even if it's perfectly designed, it could suffer from the design of the site on which it's hosted. If you have your own career site and pages for job offers, you should ask yourself about the quality of their design and the fluidity of their navigation. This is an opportunity to audit your career site and optimize it as much as possible. 

N°2: selection criteria are not specified and there is no information on the recruitment process

31% of those surveyed identified these two criteria as being particularly critical and would not apply for a job because of them.

When potential candidates consider applying for a job vacancy, they don't just look at the job description and the company's expectations. More and more, they're also seeking transparency about the recruitment process in general, both in terms of the steps and the criteria defined by the company to select the right candidate.

If almost a third of candidates expect this information before they even apply, it's clear that you need to add it to your job offers, which isn't always the case.

What you need to do: 

  1. Ask the hiring managers not only to describe the profile they're looking for, but also how they intend to evaluate the candidates they meet. For this, you need to list key evaluation points and their level of importance; also add yours as a recruiter.
  2. From the very beginning, agree on a clear recruitment process with the hiring manager. Don't post the job offer until you've received a commitment that nothing will change (an extra interview, for example). He must have agreed on deadlines regarding the decisions required to select the candidate.
  3. Include this information in the job offer. You can write this section by mixing the two items: different steps, what they are all about, and what the recruiting team and hiring managers expect from the candidate at each step. Transparency is key!

The extra one: you can also consider proposing several choices to the candidate, for instance concerning the interview order. Some profiles (especially those suffering from talent shortage) might appreciate a choice regarding whether or not they would like to have a technical/business interview before the interview with the recruiter. This is the case with developers, as you will discover in our webinar with CoderPad: “What Developers Hate Most About the Hiring Process & What Recruiters Should Do Instead”. 

N°1: no details regarding missions and no remuneration indication

42% of people surveyed said these 2 criteria discouraged them from applying for a job.

Potential candidates are tired of reading vague job offers that don't give them a clear picture of their potential day-to-day life within the future company. Same for what the company might offer in terms of salary and financial benefits

What you need to do: 

  1. Même si vous ne citez pas un salaire précis, citez une fourchette de rémunération la plus précise possible et stipulant si une négociation est possible ou non. Cela aidera les candidats à savoir si le poste peut leur convenir et cela vous donnera aussi l’image d’une organisation honnête et transparente. De toute façon, vous ne gagnez rien à entamer un processus de recrutement, qui vous prendra du temps, avec des profils qui n’accepteront pas le salaire que vous proposez.
  2. Even if you don't give a precise salary, give as precise a remuneration range as possible, stipulating whether or not negotiation is possible. This will help candidates to know if the job might be appropriate for them, and it will also give you the image of an honest and transparent organization. In any case, there's nothing to profit from starting a time-consuming recruitment process with profiles who won't accept the salary you're offering.
  3. Take the time to think about the missions proposed with the hiring manager who's looking to recruit. Make sure that the whole is relevant, and that when the candidate reads the description of his or her future responsibilities, he or she will have an overview of the role within the company and future team
  4. For each mission, don't hesitate to provide useful details that will help potential candidates imagine their daily life in your company. Obviously, it's important not to be exhaustive, but to choose additional information that will help them better imagine the function. For example:some text
    • with whom will he/she interact internally or with partners?
    • what tools will he/she work with?
    • will he/she receive training?
    • What overall project will the mission serve?
    • and so on. 

These tips should be followed to avoid missing out on potential candidates for the position you need to fill... but also to complete your talent pool so that you can activate it when you need it. 

Take your recruitment to the next level by implementing a tailor-made Candidate Relationship Management strategy! 

👉 Discover our CRM (Candidate Relationship Management) tool

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