500 word series (4) Improving the Quantity and Quality of Applicants


In previous articles we’ve looked at improving your employer brand, developing the job description and creating the job advert. These area’s alone won’t be enough to secure the best talent on the market.

You might not yet be in a position to formally advertise for a role. However, what you can do is to work on cementing your employer brand. This could involve building awareness of your organisation and your nascent tech initiatives. It could also involve disseminating information about your company culture and the opportunities you offer.

The purpose is to increase your presence on the radar of the wider tech community. Ideally, both active and passive jobseekers within this community will have the opportunity to find out more about you organically and will have a more informed opinion of you as a credible employment option by the time your job posting goes live. If you are particularly good at this, it may even be possible to attract a stream of speculative applications in advance of the formal recruitment round.

For most organisations, the standard sourcing process for technical roles involves rolling out advertisements on dedicated job sites, along with possible involvement of a recruitment agency. The follow suggested techniques can help to reduce your reliance on traditional paid forms of sourcing.

  • Distribute your job postings via social media. LinkedIn holds the reputation as the primary work-focused social tool. But did you know that more than half of job seekers also use Twitter in their search for roles? Refer back to your candidate personas and make sure you are rolling out careers information and updates on each of the platforms your potential employees actually use – not just LinkedIn.
  • Leverage employees’ social presence. For a typical organisation, the combined social reach of employees is at least x8 that of the company’s social presence. To disseminate careers information as widely as possible, encourage existing employees to share it via their own accounts. Focus your strategy on passive talent. In truth, most of the tech talent you are looking to recruit are probably not exactly desperate to move into a new role. In fact, as IBM found, only 16% of employees are actively looking for a new job. But beyond this, a further 46% are not “jobseekers” but would “consider a better opportunity if it comes to me”.
  • Create authentic, real life stories. Employee stories are among the most effective ways of building awareness, increasing trust and showcasing the best of your business. These could focus on data projects and other tech initiatives your people have been involved in. You can also use stories to show what it is really like to work within your business and to highlight examples of personal and professional development.
  • Increase your authority. Create case studies detailing your existing projects and publish these on LinkedIn. Research centered around customer data can be interesting to a wider audience, too.
  • You could also submit these to industry publications. From an employer branding perspective, the purpose of this is to establish your credentials as a go-to authority in this space: the type of environment where talented individuals have the opportunity to flourish.
  • Network. Attend role specific conferences and other events. Ask questions, share your insights – and use social media to join in and start conversations around trending topics. All of this helps to get you on the radar of potential applicants.