What Can You Do About the Candidate Shortage?

Are you struggling to recruit at the moment? You’re not alone. Lots of charities are advertising new roles as they begin to bounce back from the pandemic. There’s also a distinct lack of candidates, which means finding the right person to fill a vacancy can be a tall order right now. But it’s easy to overlook some of the simple things that you can do to tap into the widest, deepest and most diverse talent pools available. Here we look at what you can do about the candidate shortage.

Do you really need to recruit?

This is the first question to ask yourself. Do the skills you need already exist within your current pool of employees? Could training, a promotion or slight restructuring of staff fill the gap?

If the answer is no and you do need to recruit, then follow our tips below to ensure you aren’t excluding anyone who might want to apply.

Remove all bias

If you want to attract the widest possible group of applicants then you need to remove bias of any kind from your job advert and application pack. Be sure to review the language, such as removing ageist words like ‘energetic’ or ‘dynamic’. Adverts with ‘masculine’ words can be less appealing to female applicants, so you can use a gender decoder to remove any gendered language. Carefully consider your wording as it can, consciously or unconsciously, put off whole groups of potential applicants.

Make sure that any images you use are representative of any and all groups who might want to apply for the role. Only using images of young people may make older applicants feel unwelcome. Try to get a diverse range of people to look at the advert before you publish it, as they might have a unique insight you could miss.

If your charity has a diversity or inclusion statement of any kind, linking to it may boost the numbers applying. It can also help to directly state in the advert that you welcome applications from a diverse range of groups. If you can, take active steps to reach them as well.

Don’t forget, removing bias is still important after you receive applications. Applicant Manager, our Applicant Tracking System, can help to do this by anonymising applications.

Be flexible in your requirements

Do you really need the role holder to have a degree? Women in particular tend to only apply for roles where they meet 100% of the criteria. Ask yourself if all the essential job requirements are really necessary and remove anything that isn’t actually essential.

Promoting flexible hours and/or remote or hybrid working has the potential to open up a whole new spectrum of candidates in terms of location, circumstances and even age. If you’re open to it, state it, but be clear about exactly what you mean, otherwise potential applicants may not apply if they aren’t sure what’s on offer.

It’s been reported that candidates fear that employers value experience in one sector above transferable skills. So it could also help to state that you welcome those from other sectors to encourage them to apply.

Woman with mug sits over laptop smiling

Make your job ad as attractive as possible

The job advert is a candidate’s window into the role and you as an organisation. Keep it focused, avoid jargon and don’t make it longer than it needs to be. Candidates are 15% more likely to apply if the ad is 500 words or less. It’s also essential to include the salary, as this will usually give you twice the number of applications, and mention any flexibility that you will consider. You may also need to review if the salary is competitive for the role—you can use our salary checker tool to check this.

This could be the ideal time to choose our Enhanced package, when posting a job ad, which delivers an average of 251% more clicks on ‘Apply’ and six times more views than our Basic advert.

When you have the perfect job ad, advertise the vacancy as widely as possible – the more who see it, the more might apply. Why not take advantage of our cross-posting options and cross-post your ad to LinkedIn to reach more candidates? Or think about some proactive outreach work, such as posting to the specialist disability recruitment portal Evenbreak.

Make applying easy

Candidates have lots of jobs to choose from at the moment. Make it as easy as possible for them to apply for your job. The fewer steps, the more applications you will get. If you usually ask for an application form, consider just asking for a CV and covering letter. Or why not select the ‘Apply by CharityJob’ option when posting a job? This streamlines the process even further for both candidates and recruiters and is proven to lead to more applications.

Recruit from further afield

If you still can’t find enough suitable candidates then consider looking further afield, such as specifically targeting candidates from outside the charity sector, looking for freelancers or actively recruiting from overseas.

It’s a strongly candidate-led market at the moment, but with a little extra thought and planning you have the highest chance of finding the best talent in the sector, ready and raring for a new challenge.

Ready to start? Post a job now.

Tags: attracting the right candidates, charity recruitment, charity sector recruitment, diversity in recruitment, equality diversity and inclusion, finding the right people, flexible working, hiring the right people, inclusive recruitment, job market, recruitment process

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About the author

Karen Harlow

Karen Harlow is Senior Content Manager at CharityJob.