A quality applicant is one that meets all the essential criteria. A number of less than five indicates you really need to extend your reach into the specific marketplace to promote your offering. This may mean an increase in the reward on offer, painting a clearer picture about why you are a top-class outfit or just making it easier to apply. If you are obtaining a number of more than 15 you can afford to enhance your criteria.
Arriving at a suitable short-list of applicants is great, losing half on the way isn’t. In Justin’s experience, he suggests having a minimum of two candidates whom you would feel happy to offer the job too. This really means you need eight candidates for interview. In a competitive marketplace, you need to be clear on the process, timescales for interviews/assessment and when decisions will be made. If you are losing more than 25% of applicants before you complete your recruitment, you are definitely missing out on high potential candidates to competitors.
If you don’t leverage the power of your employees when recruiting you are missing a trick. For a typical SME, a minimum of 15% of your applicants should be referrals. Essentially Justin has often found that recommended candidates are of a higher quality than most, they are more bought in and often will have an advocate in the organisation to advise them (which is a great thing). Next time you recruit, review the performance of referred candidates against others to see if my experience holds for you.
Most think that the hard work is completed when you decide upon the most suitable candidate, after all, it is just a question of rolling out the offer… wrong. You have one chance to make an acceptable offer, trying to low-ball is a mistake and it’s very hard to come back from. The Abacus Director strongly advices offering just slightly above the market. Business people that recruit well make the financial aspect of the offer of employment secondary to the opportunity available, therefore they insulate themselves from the inevitable counter-offer.
Remember, metrics help identify trends. It’s your job to act upon the trends and to improve your performance when you go to market.