How to Attract More Job Applicants in the Current Market

In our winter Research Quarterly Overview we reported that 68% of charities were intending to recruit, but nearly half of charities (46%) had hard to fill positions. With job vacancies booming, candidates are spoilt for choice and can afford to be more choosy about the roles they apply for. If you’re currently hiring, you’ll need to work a bit harder if you want to stand out in a crowded market and make your charity a top choice. So what strategies can you use to attract more job applicants?

Be open to candidates from outside the sector

Our recent survey showed that 66% of our candidates are currently working outside the sector. That’s a huge untapped pool of potential applicants with transferable skills, passionate about moving into the sector and finding more meaningful work. Don’t underestimate their value just because they gained their experience in a different sector. They can also bring new ideas and a fresh perspective on your work—if you’re open to that (and who wouldn’t be?) then make it clear and state in your job advert that you welcome applications from outside the sector.

Consider increasing the salary

With the market so competitive and the cost of living increasing, this may be the time to review the salary you’re offering. When you post a job with us, you can use our brand new salary checker tool to benchmark your offer. This will give you a typical range, based on advertised roles in the last twelve months, but you also need to consider the size of your charity and the current state of the jobs market and the economy. You may need to look at the highest end of the range for certain roles that are currently in the most demand, such as fundraisers.

Be realistic about the role

While you should look at increasing salaries if you possibly can, we know this isn’t always practical. If you really can’t manage any uplift then look again at the job description. Are you being completely realistic about what you’re asking for the salary you’re offering? Is it enough for the skills and experience you’re requesting? Is the number of responsibilities appropriate? If not, then adjust the requirements. If you have existing team members who are keen to take on more responsibility, then maybe parts of the vacant role could be reshuffled among them to make the vacancy a better match for the package you can offer.

Review your employee benefits and flexibility

Speaking of packages, another way to increase your attractiveness to candidates is your benefits. Ask your existing employees if they value your current benefits. There may be some that are little used that could make way for more attractive options. What employees want from work has changed a great deal over the last two years, so reviewing your benefits package—and then making your offer clear in your job advert—is another way to attract more candidates. Flexibility is also key here. Job adverts that mention flexible or remote working get an average of twice as many clicks on apply as those that don’t. Again, be specific in your advert, e.g. clearly state the number of work from home days available. What was once a nice-to-have is now deemed a necessity by many applicants, so the more options you have for flexible and remote working, the stronger position you’ll be in.

Women sitting at table working flexibly from home with black cat next to her

Don’t exclude anyone

Make sure your job advert is welcoming to all and not accidentally excluding anyone. This means being careful that the language or imagery used isn’t biased towards or against any particular groups (you can use a gender decoder to help). You should also link to your diversity and inclusion statement and actively mention that you welcome applications from minority groups. Review your essential requirements and remove anything that isn’t genuinely essential. You could also offer an informal phone call before applying, so that potential applicants can get a feel for the role—and you get another opportunity to promote the position, your team and your charity.

Sell your organisation

If you don’t already, it’s time to shout about your organisational values and culture. With so many roles to choose from, why should a candidate want to work for your charity specifically? Make this information public on your website so potential applicants can find it. Ask your current employees why they love working for you and share this on social media (and ask them to). Blow your own trumpet about successful campaigns you’ve run and any awards you’ve won. Explain your training and development opportunities and how your staff have grown in their roles as a result. Make your charity the one that will be the most valuable on a candidate’s CV.

Audit your reputation

While you’re dealing with your charity’s external image, don’t forget to look at what’s out there already. Check your online employee reviews on places like Glassdoor, reach out to former employees for feedback, or send an anonymous survey. Try to get a picture of how your charity is currently viewed. If you come across negative reviews then respond to them publicly. That shows you care and you’re trying to put things right if there are issues—and then make sure you actually do make changes if needed. And if everything is positive, then don’t forget to shout about it!

Be flexible

Hiring someone great is still absolutely possible in the current market. But while it’s so competitive, you must be prepared to be flexible and either amend your offer or your expectations if needed. These steps can maximise your chances of attracting as many candidates as possible and finding your next brilliant team member. Ready to get started? Post a job with us today.

Tags: attracting the right candidates, charity recruitment, charity sector recruitment, finding the right people, hiring the right people, recruitment, recruitment process

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About the author

Karen Harlow

Karen Harlow is Digital Content Manager at CharityJob.