Tailor Your
Recruitment Solution

Get Started

How To Make Sure You’re Speaking To The Right Candidates

If you’ve ever advertised for a role and then spent hours sifting through dozens of applications in vain hoping to see that perfect candidate, you’ve probably experienced first-hand the challenge of attracting the right candidates to apply for a role.

Some estimates suggest that as many as 75 per cent of applicants aren’t qualified for the roles they’re applying for. That’s a lot of unnecessary sifting, sorting, reviewing and responding! So, what can you do to ensure that the right candidates apply for your job vacancy? And how can you streamline the process of shortlisting applicants to save time and still ensure you’re selecting the best people?

Communicate clear selection criteria

Being clear about your selection criteria will help to ensure that applicants understand the qualifications, knowledge, skills and experience required for the role you’re advertising – and discourage candidates who aren’t suitably qualified.

DO: Ensure the job title is a clear description of the job function, use dot points and have white spaces so the advert and PD can be easily read.

DON’T: Use excessive technical language, long sentences or include too much or too little information.

Appeal to the best

While you want to deter those who are unsuitable for the job, at the same time you want to encourage the best talent to apply, so creating an eye-catching and inspiring job advertisement can help. Be sure to keep your job ad concise and talk directly to the candidate by referring to the reader as ‘you’ to help them imagine themselves in the role.

DO: Use your logo/ company branding, utilise bullet points and short paragraphs.

DON’T: Include over the top graphics or design elements. Keep it slick and clean.

Take the opportunity to talk up your brand

Remember that every time you recruit is an opportunity for candidates to have a positive interaction with your employer brand.

DO: Mention employee benefits programs and other unique and exciting aspects to the business.

DON’T: Damage your brand by failing to communicate effectively with candidates e.g. failing to respond to applications in a timely fashion.

Shortlist strategically

Once candidates apply based on your clear selection criteria, your next step is creating a strategic shortlist. 52% of talent acquisition leaders say shortlisting candidates from a large candidate pool is the hardest part of their job, so we suggest a simple three tier scoring system or traffic light approach.

The tiers should be assessed against the selection criteria as follows:

Tier 1 (Green): Meets all requirements

Tier 2 (Amber): Meets some requirements

Tier 3 (Red): Does not meet your requirements

We suggest including full names and candidate contact details in your spreadsheet so hiring managers or someone else in your organisation can pick up the process if need be. We utilise an e-recruitment system, but this kind of spreadsheet can be replicated using Excel.

DO: Keep it simple and use a scoring system when shortlisting applicants.

DON’T: Write off great candidates because they don’t meet ‘desirable’ criteria.

Connect with standout applicants

When a candidate stands out from the crowd, ensure your interactions with them are personal. If they weren’t right for this role but displayed potential, they could form part of your candidate pool for future vacancies, saving you time and ensuring you have a pool of quality candidates when future vacancies come up.

DO: Personalise your response to standout applicants. Pick up the phone and provide feedback where possible.

DON’T: Use a standard rejection letter or email for these applicants.

Outsource to the experts

If this part of the process still sounds daunting or too time consuming to manage in-house, outsource to experts! Even if you want to manage other aspects of the recruitment process yourself, such as the interview stage, recruitment agencies like Harrison McMillan – where we offer a cost- effective pay-as-you-go recruitment model – can assist you with this part of the process.  It can also save valuable time during the interview stage of the process by ensuring you have the very best candidates in front of the hiring manager.

Taking these steps will help to ensure you’re attracting and talking to the right talent to improve your recruitment function in both the short and long term.

Need help attracting the right candidates? Email or visit