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Talent Talk: Hiring in 2021? How to Use Job-Seeker Frustration to Your Advantage

Image: Terovesalainen/Adobe Stock man searching for job online
Understand the frustrations of job seekers and do what you can to overcome them. It will make your company stand out and immediately improve your ability to attract top talent.

If your company is planning to hire in 2021, this will give you some ideas on how to gain a competitive advantage over other companies trying to attract the same people. The premise is simple: Understand the frustrations of job seekers and do what you can to overcome them. It will make your company stand out and immediately improve your ability to attract and land top talent.

The first frustration job seekers encounter when beginning a search is a poor job description. If someone is browsing job openings, this is the first thing they see and may be the deciding factor in whether they apply or move on. Lengthy discussion about the need to have excellent communication skills — both verbal and written — is not attractive nor a compelling reason for someone to apply. At a minimum there must be a clear description of what the job entails, but the job description ideally should be a document that tells a compelling story of why someone who is currently employed, successful, and fairly compensated might want to come work for you. For step-by-step details on how to do this, check out our article from this summer.

If a job seeker has some initial interest in a position, but is not familiar with the company, they will immediately look for more information, which will probably lead to their next frustration. This is a great time to see what is available online about your company — the culture, success stories, awards, market position, plans for growth, new products, and so on. While there are other places to host this information, start with these four: Your website, LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and Indeed.

Our discussion to this point has been on the two biggest job-seeker frustrations that might prevent them from even applying. Now let’s take a look at their biggest frustrations after they have applied for an open role with your company.

Job seekers often complain about the lack of feedback at each stage of the interview process. You can differentiate yourself simply by providing clear and honest feedback from the beginning. For applicants you choose not to interview, give them a short, standard response thanking them for their interest but letting them know you will not be inviting them to interview. You will do this after the initial interview and at each subsequent stage.

Perhaps even more importantly, tell those you are interested in potentially hiring what to expect. Job seekers report that an unclear, or overly lengthy hiring process is discouraging. Mostly this is a lack of transparent communication up front. Even if the interview process is lengthy you can make this much more manageable by setting clear expectations from the start. Try this in 2021, and I believe you will see more top performers eventually accepting offers to join your company.


About the author

Paul Sturgeon is CEO of KLA Industries, a national search firm specializing in plastics, packaging, and polymer technology. If you have a topic you would like to see discussed, a company that is growing, or other ideas for this blog, e-mail Sturgeon at

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