The HiringThing Guide to Increasing Your Applicant Traffic

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Increasing Both the Traffic and Quality of Your Job Candidates is Vital in 2024 

According to the SCORE Employee Engagement report, small and medium-sized businesses are still struggling to hire and retain high-quality talent. 

  • 61% of business owners say hiring the right (i.e.quality) talent is their top business challenge. 
  • 85% of employers report general hiring challenges. 
  • Nearly 50% of employers report difficulty retaining staff. 
  • 62% of employers struggle to keep new hires engaged and productive, which is directly related to the retention difficulties. 

A couple of years ago, increasing applicant traffic and questioning “the way we’ve done things.” was key to a solid recruiting strategy. However, today, engaging potential candidates in meaningful ways, ensuring quality candidates stay engaged during the hiring process, and retaining said candidates is crucial. It’s a more holistic approach to recruiting and hiring and will set you up for success in the future. 

We’ve designed this guide to help you: 

  • Reassess the state of hiring. What’s making today’s job seekers walk away from roles, and what attracts them to future opportunities? 
  • Figure out what today’s job seekers want out of the job application process. 
  • Learn the pillars of effective 2024 recruiting.

In addition to giving you expert-level insights and actionable tips to improve your hiring process, we’ve designed The HiringThing Guide to Increasing Applicant Traffic as a workbook, including checklists, audits, and organizers to help get you started thinking about how to increase your applicant flow.

Table of Contents 

Reassessing The State of Hiring 

To build your next superstar workforce, it’s vital to understand why, in 2023, 62% of workers wanted to, were looking to, or had plans to, quit their jobs. 

Recruiting doesn't happen in a silo. 

Companies must constantly assess and reevaluate what’s working with their recruiting, hiring, and engagement in order to ensure their efforts are meaningful. In this section, we’ll address the top reasons today’s employees are quitting their jobs and what’s stopping candidates from applying to your open positions. 

Why Are People Quitting in Our Post-"Great Resignation" World of Work? 

Employees overwhelmingly seek new opportunities because they don’t like or respect their managers or boss, don’t see opportunities for promotion and growth, or are offered better opportunities. 

Unsurprisingly, retention often comes down to compensation. Payscale, LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and Indeed all report compensation is the main reason behind turnover. 44% of employees would quit to take a better-paid job without thinking twice, while 39% of HR leaders say offering competitive salaries is a big challenge. 

Ensuring employees are engaged at work—and during the hiring and onboarding process—is crucial. Employees are three times more likely to explore new options if they don’t feel supported, and companies with low engagement lose an average of 31% of their employees (just putting here that companies with an engaged workforce are also 21% more profitable!).

Over 90% of companies want employees “back in the office” by 2024, with 30% of companies saying they’ll threaten to fire employees who won’t comply. This will certainly lead to more employees quitting, and flexible companies whose business models support remote work can take advantage of the remote work discrepancy between employers and employees. 

What Do Today's Job Candidates Want in a Career? 

It’s important to know what today’s job seekers are looking for in their next roles. That will help you craft your job ads, job descriptions, and other recruitment marketing collateral. 


A sense of purpose is important. A McKinsey study on where people find purpose found that 70% of employees say that their work defines their sense of purpose. Other research found that 9 out of 10 professionals told researchers they would sacrifice as much as 23% of their future earnings for “work that’s always meaningful.” 

HiringThing Pro Tip: Have candidates answer a purpose-driven question during the application process.

Learning and Development

A lack of career development and growth opportunities is the top reason today’s employees leave their jobs. Employers must let prospective candidates know they can learn and grow in their roles to remain competitive. 

HiringThing Pro Tip: Emphasize the opportunities to grow in your role in your job posting. Better yet? Create content highlighting an employee’s professional growth in your organization. Employee-advocate company, Everyone Social, has a guide for how to build an employee story. 


Diversity and inclusion are essential to job seekers of all ages today. A Glassdoor survey found one-third of job seekers said they wouldn’t apply to a company that doesn’t prioritize diversity. The Millennial survey found that 74% of millennials believe an organization with a culture of inclusion is more innovative. 

HiringThing Pro Tip: Go over your entire website to ensure you’re using inclusive language (candidates don’t just look at the job posting). Need help? Check out this comprehensive, inclusive language guide. 


A report by Indeed found that 84% of employees and job seekers are open to new opportunities and that the top wish for new roles was “more flexibility.” 

For employees, flexibility can mean:

  • Choosing where they work from.
  • Creating a schedule that fits their life. 

80% of workers would choose a job that offers a flexible schedule over one that doesn’t. These days, flexibility almost always means having the option of working remotely. 65% of workers currently want to work remotely, and 51% of job seekers are looking for remote work (that rises to 63% if we’re focusing on Gen Z).

When LinkedIn surveyed hiring and HR professionals, 55% didn’t mention company culture or mission in job postings or the hiring process. That’s a missed opportunity when considering what today’s job candidates seek.

A Positive Work Environment

A Harris Poll found that ⅓ of Americans report going to therapy because of toxic bosses or managers! For too many years, toxic workplaces and managers have been “business as usual” in the world of work. However, more and more people are prioritizing their mental health and wellness in the workplace and leaving those toxic situations behind. 

Great Job Descriptions!

A job posting is the first impression job seekers have of your company. This is what makes a quality employee apply for your open roles!

Crafting your job posting makes your open roles stand out from the crowd. Here are our tips for writing excellent job postings:

  • Use standardized job titles: Using “Marketing Ninja” instead of “Marketing Manager” might seem cute, but it’s confusing. 
  • The title should indicate the job: Account Executive III is confusing, but Account Executive isn’t.  Save the formal title and specifications for the job description.
  • Your posting should mirror company culture: Make sure your language reflects the job and your company culture, and it’s targeting the kind of applicants you want to attract.
  • Use inclusive language: You want as many qualified people as possible to apply for your job, so use language that includes everyone—we linked to a guide to inclusive language earlier in this guide.
  • Keep it concise: LinkedIn found that job posts with 150 words or less got candidates to apply 17.8% more frequently than job posts containing 450-600 words. Keeping things concise is also better for the modern candidate who may be using a mobile device for their search—50% of job views on LinkedIn are on mobile devices. 
  • Use job description keywords to stand out: Hundreds of millions of job searches are conducted monthly through Google. While most reputable job boards do the work to ensure their postings are searchable in the major search engines, employers still have the most influence on ensuring your posting rises to the top of search engine results. This article is an excellent guide to optimizing your job postings. 
  • Consider adding multimedia: Infographics and videos will help your posting reach the top of a search engine results page. It’s also a way to help your posting stand out from the crowd. 
  • Format your post: Use bold and bulleted lists to make your job description easy to read.
  • Be direct: Candidates spend an average of 14-30 seconds on your job posting, which means you need to cover the most important aspects of the job as soon as possible. A study by The Ladders tracked job seekers’ eye movement—candidates spent the most time reading the top and skimming the information at the bottom. 
  • List your salary: Include a salary range in your job posting. A joint Glassdoor/Harris poll found 67% of job seekers look for salary when deciding whether or not to apply. 
  • List benefits: Much as salary is important to candidates, so are benefits. If you have them, list them! And remember that health insurance and PTO aren’t the only benefits to highlight. “High level of autonomy,” “room for growth,” and “flexible schedules” are all benefits to today’s job seekers.
  • Don’t get too casual: Some companies will go super playful, utilizing language like “Kickass rockstar wanted” or hashtags like “#ProcessObsessed.” While they’re attempting to differentiate themselves from overly corporate-sounding language, LinkedIn found that candidates were 2x-4x less likely to apply to excessively casual job descriptions. 
  • Keep true to your brand: If your brand is overly casual, don’t listen to us! These are just suggestions, after all. You need to be true to who your organization is. 
  • Keep in mind what candidates are looking for: We’ve covered what today’s job seekers are looking for in a career. If your posting can speak to purpose, development, diversity, and flexibility, make sure it does!
Rethink Your Job Qualifications 

You want the best job candidates, so common knowledge (with a dash of “the way we always did things”) says to include an entire list of qualifications to weed out candidates who won’t work. However, research shows that adding unnecessary qualifications could backfire

Data shows that, on average, employers only expect job seekers to meet 70% of the job requirements to be considered for a role. That might be fine for Gen-Z and Millennials who feel confident applying to jobs that meet 63% and 68% of the criteria. Still, Get-Xers and Baby Boomers feel like they need to meet at least 77% of the criteria to apply—you may be missing out on highly skilled, older employees. Women and minorities similarly feel the need to meet more than less qualifications and may not apply for jobs they think they’re underqualified for, even though they may be perfect candidates!

Treat Your Job Candidates Like Customers 

As a 2018 HRDive headline reads, “Treat candidates like customers, the study recommends.” It makes sense. You need to market to candidates, nurture them through the process, and provide them with a truly stellar experience if you want to keep them interested. Then why, for so many years, has the job application process been so grueling, exclusionary, and frustrating? 

HR thought leader Josh Bersin said in his annual HR-tech report, “the HR tech market is turned inside out—it’s entirely focused on employees, not HR.” To remain competitive, savvy employers need to tailor their actions to appeal to today’s potential candidates.

However, companies seem to be sliding back to their old ways: posting job positions they don’t intend to fill, not communicating with candidates in a timely manner, and even ghosting candidates midway through the application process. 

The Talent Board North American Candidate Experience Research Report found 20% of candidates were still waiting to hear back from employers more than two months after they applied for a job, and only 20% of candidates ever received an email from a recruiter or hiring manager notifying them that they were no longer being considered. 

There are myriad reasons you should treat job candidates the same way you treat customers:

  • You want stellar candidates who didn’t get the position this time to apply again. 
  • You want job candidates who are loyal customers to continue being loyal customers. 
  • You want job candidates to widen your talent pipeline by telling their networks how great their experience was with you, even if they didn’t get the position. 
  • You want job candidates to write positive reviews about the application process. 
  • You want to stand apart from companies that aren’t doing this. 

It can’t be over-emphasized enough how shortsighted it is to disregard the candidate experience. Ensure your recruiting strategy is people-first. Treat your job candidates the way you treat your customers, tailoring and nurturing them through a candidate journey that leaves them wanting more.

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What Do Candidates Want Out of the Job Application Process? 

This past year, SHRM published a shocking job-application statistic: most people—92%—never finish the online job applications they start.

Our technologically streamlined world means that overwhelmingly, people are drawn to quick and easy processes that produce almost immediate results. Today’s job candidates will eschew applications they deem unwieldy or a waste of their time. Bad technological experiences—like having to enter the same information repeatedly or not parsing a resume correctly—may make candidates think roles at your company will mirror the clunky hiring process. 

This section will cover what candidates are expecting in top-application experiences. 

Mobile Friendliness

Close to 90% of today’s job seekers utilize a mobile device as part of their search.

 and 40% of job candidates won’t apply for a job if it isn’t mobile-friendly. Many candidates quit job applications after clicking “apply” via their smartphone or tablet, only to discover that the application isn’t congruent with the technology they use most. 

Promote Your Mobile Friendliness

Promoting a job as mobile-friendly can improve the number of job applicants by 11.6%.

Lean Into QR Codes

Creating a QR code means job seekers with phones who see the posting in a paper, walking down the street, or as a current customer can quickly and easily access the application as soon as they see the code. 

Ensure the Entire Process is Mobile-Friendly

Ensure that your job posting isn’t only accessible via smartphone but that your entire application process is mobile-friendly. 


CareerBuilder found that 60% of job applicants quit midway through online job applications due to length and complexity. Even applications designed for efficient application experiences—applications that average five minutes to complete—include many stop-provoking clicks. An audit of Fortune 500 company application processes found it necessary to click nine or more times after hitting “apply” before stating the actual application (they found the average application averaged 51 clicks). 

Companies can streamline their applications by: 

  • Not asking candidates to create usernames or passwords just to apply. 
  • Not asking different versions of the same questions. 
  • Not having candidates regurgitate information from their resumes.
  • Knowing how many steps and clicks each application takes and seeing if you could easily eliminate any.
  • Not asking in-depth questions they plan on asking during the interview process.
  • Avoiding having candidates answer arbitrary questions that elicit canned responses (why do you want to work here?) or should have been answered in their cover letter (what makes you a good job candidate?).

Salary Transparency

More and more locales are making it a legal requirement to list salary in job postings, but it’s still not the norm. ZipRecruiter finds only about 12% of postings on US job boards include salary ranges.

LinkedIn also found that only 50% of organizations still disclose salary ranges as part of their interview process. Once again, it’s a candidate's market, and doing anything to set yourself apart from the competition, especially something today’s candidates want, will only reflect favorably on your organization. 

6 in 10 hiring managers said including salary information in job postings helps attract quality candidates and provides an edge against the competition. 57% of job seekers say they’ll take themselves out of consideration for a role if salary ranges aren’t provided upon request!

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The Pillars of Effective 2024 Recruiting 

Recruiting shifts every year. These are the tenets to keep in mind to help set yourself up for success in 2024. 

Ensure You Have an ATS

An applicant tracking system (ATS) can be integrated into your hiring strategy to help increase applicant traffic. 

Data shows that adopting an ATS will improve your hiring process

  • 86.1% of ATS users said it increased the speed at which they hire.
  • 78.3% of ATS users said it improved the quality of candidates they hire.

An ATS can speed up the hiring process, automate tasks, designate workflows, and take the stress of organizing and communicating with job applicants off your plate. An ATS will give candidates a four-star hiring experience that will reflect positively on your organization, encourage them to recommend the process, and delight your job candidates. Most importantly, an ATS can help you efficiently accomplish all the recommendations in this guide. 

Be Transparent 

Transparency hasn’t always been highly valued in the workplace. Organizations kept finances, key decisions, and even the specifics or certain roles under wraps. However, as the expectations of workers shift and companies amend practices to keep up, forward-thinking workplaces are embracing transparency, especially in the interview process:

  • 15% of job seekers report ghosting an interview process due to a lack of transparency.
  • If you’re not transparent, job seekers are going to find out. A whopping 86% of employees and job seekers research company reviews and ratings (on sites like Indeed or Glassdoor) to decide whether to apply for a job.
  • Transparency is also integral for retention. Almost 30% of job seekers left a job within the first 90 days of starting, which often indicates a misalignment between what they were sold and the reality of a role.

You can be transparent by: 

Conducting Team Interviews

Group hiring shows the candidate exactly who is on the team and puts them together face to face. This approach is becoming increasingly popular due to the benefits and success of a more inclusive interview procedure that increases your chances of hiring the right individual.

Not only does a collaborative hiring process give you a better idea of how the candidate will fit into your company, but it also gives the interviewee a realistic glimpse into the inner workings of your organization. Seeing how the current team interacts and having a chance to ask them direct questions about the role is beneficial for the candidate as well.

Discuss Salary Early 

We just discussed this, but it bears repeating. LinkedIn found that 70% of professionals want to hear about salary within the first call from a recruiter. And while it’s starting to become more normalized, 50% of companies still don’t like to advertise salary in job postings or early on in the interview process.

Paint an Accurate Picture of the Role

Painting an accurate picture of what the role entails is important for two key reasons:

Getting the Best-Fit Candidate(s)

You want someone who actually fits the role as is, not as you think it should be marketed. You’re doing your organization and job seekers a disservice if you’re not hiring based on a role’s reality.


The best job candidates know they have other options and won’t hesitate to walk if the role they interviewed for is not the role they end up working. Hiring costs time and money. Save your organization both by being upfront about the day-to-day of every role, even the non-glamorous parts.

Give Hiring a Human Quality 

According to Oracle’s AI in Human Resources Report, 50% of employees already utilize AI in some capacity, and 88% of businesses worldwide already use AI in some capacity for HR tasks.

One of the strongest ways to ensure technology doesn’t eradicate humanity from the hiring process is not to treat it as a replacement for people but as a collaborative partner that makes the hiring team stronger. We love this passage from a Harvard Business Review article titled AI Should Augment Human Intelligence, Not Replace It: 

The question of whether AI will replace human workers assumes that AI and humans have the same qualities and abilities — but, in reality, they don’t. AI-based machines are fast, more accurate, and consistently rational, but they aren’t intuitive, emotional, or culturally sensitive. And, it’s exactly these abilities that humans possess and make us effective.

As the article's title suggests, AI should augment our experience, not replace it. The article goes on to say: 

An essential element of a truly intelligent type of future of work, however, means that we do expand the workforce where both humans and machines will be part of, but with the aim to improve humanity and well-being while also being more efficient in the execution of our jobs.

Little things, like having a human face to connect to when reaching out to candidates, ensuring they get warm welcomes during phone or video interview calls, and providing feedback during the interview process, make it feel more human. 

Go Where Your Candidates Are

Posting your job to the careers portion of your website and calling it a day just isn’t going to cut it anymore. You need to be posting where job candidates are looking.

HiringThing Pro Tip: Survey your current staff and see where they found the job posting that got them their current role! 

Post on the Right Job Boards

Only 35% of job seekers found jobs they applied to by visiting a company’s career site, while 51% say their preferred source is an online job board like, Glassdoor, or LinkedIn.

There are two types of job boards to consider:

  1. Free: Free job boards allow you to post job openings at no cost. The post will typically be included in search results or job feeds on the board, organized by the posting date. 
  2. Sponsored: Some free job boards have premium options to sponsor a job post to have it appear more frequently and earlier in search results. Other boards have all-paid options, often for niche jobs or to take advantage of an advanced network of job seekers. 

There’s no correct answer here when it comes to getting more applicants. It depends on your budget for the role, the field, and where job candidates for a specific role search for jobs. Different demographics gravitate towards different boards. For example, LinkedIn would be where you’d want to advertise jobs in the business world, while Craigslist is a better bet for manual labor positions.

Target the Right People

If your job posting doesn’t get seen by your target “market,” then all that good work may have been a waste. We discussed creating job-candidate personas the same way you’d make a buyer persona for your customer. This will also help you decide where you should be posting your jobs. It also means tailoring your language to appeal to your ideal job-candidate persona. 

Utilize Referrals

85% of jobs are filled through networking. That’s a powerful statistic to understand when revamping your recruiting strategy. 

If you’re already hiring amazing employees, why wouldn’t you mine them to find more great hires? Setting up an employee referral program is incredibly easy and is proven to have great results: 

Utilize Social Media 

We already talked about tailoring your recruiting to what candidates want. And job candidates want to be on social media: 

  • 79% of job applicants use social media in their job search.
  • 73% of millennials say they’ve found their last position through social media.
  • 84% of organizations are now using social media for recruitment efforts. 

The most important takeaway here is that if your organization is not utilizing social media, you should start. It’s not only where job seekers are looking for new roles, but it’s an excellent opportunity for you to demonstrate your employer brand. 

Prioritize Employee Branding 

If you’re marketing to customers, you should be marketing to job seekers! HubSpot defines employer branding as “your reputation among the workforce as well as your employees’ perception of you as an employer.” A good employer brand can reduce turnover by 28%, while 75% of active job seekers are likely to apply for a job with a strong employer brand. 

Building a strong brand starts with the recruiting process, and if candidates have a bad recruiting experience—overwrought applications, miscommunication, or communication lags—they develop negative connotations with a brand.

Building and maintaining an employer brand takes time. This Glassdoor guide for building your employer brand is an invaluable resource. 

Embrace Flexible Work 

While it’s not an option for every line of work, offering a remote/hybrid option is something today’s job seekers want. Embracing a Work-From-Anywhere hiring policy will increase your applicant traffic and strengthen your applicants' quality by: 

Widen Your Candidate Pool

Going to a remote working environment opens up the pool of candidates that can potentially apply to your organization. Geography is no longer the limit. Instead of the typical 25-ish mile radius, your applicant pool will expand to the entire country. We have an inkling that might increase your applicant traffic! 

Diversify Your Workforce

We’ve established that today’s applicants want a company that prioritizes diversity. Opening up your candidate pool to the entire country versus your geographic locale increases the backgrounds of the candidates you’ve been able to hire and can go a long way in diversifying your organization. 

Make Yourself Appealing

Job candidates overwhelmingly want positions with remote options. They’re quitting jobs that don’t offer remote options. What better way to increase your applicant traffic and become more competitive? 

Transitioning to remote work isn’t something every company can do right away (although plenty were able to during Covid-19 closures). While it’s easier than you might think, we’d recommend checking out some guides for transitioning to remote work from remote-work pioneers like FlexJobs.

Build Onboarding In Your Hiring Strategy

Good employee onboarding increases employee engagement, productivity, satisfaction, and retention, yet 88% of companies admit they aren’t great at executing a solid onboarding experience.

While traditional onboarding begins once an offer letter is extended, savvy organizations know that onboarding begins during the recruiting process, beginning with the job posting itself as a way to engage potential candidates and set them up for success. Onboarding encompasses compliance issues, administrative work, and getting candidates excited about their new role, which is extremely important since 1 in 5 candidates who accept an offer letter don’t show up on their first day of work. 

27% of HR professionals say that technology is the missing ingredient from their organization’s onboarding program, and 47% of companies struggle with onboarding employees because they don’t have the correct technological infrastructure.

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About HiringThing

HiringThing is a modern recruiting and employee onboarding platform as a service that creates seamless talent experiences. Our white label solutions and open API enable technology and service providers to offer hiring and onboarding to their clients. Approachable and adaptable, the platform empowers anyone, anywhere to build their dream team.

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