Just ask yourself: How many times have you booked a hotel room or airbnb without seeing the photos first? Probably never. And that makes sense. After all, we want to know what we’re getting into before we do something, even if it’s just for one night in a hotel. That’s the general rule, right?

The Irrelevant applications nightmare

Interestingly enough, this general rule does not apply to students. When it comes to finding a job after university, they apply to just about any opportunity - sometimes even sending out hundreds of applications at the same time - without really knowing what the organisation is like or what the day-to-day work looks like.

What does this lead to? Other than a lot of stress for students, it leads to a lot of irrelevant applications.

And. No. One. Likes. Irrelevant. Applications.

They cost loads of time to go through and turning down hundreds or thousands of candidates - inevitably in some kind of automatic way - also hurts your employer brand.

So, how do we prevent the irrelevant application nightmare? Well, first we need to understand why they occur.

Lack of understanding

We do a lot of research among students. One survey we did a couple of months ago contained this question: “Do you feel that recruiters are reaching you with the right content to help them make the right choice?”. The results speak for themselves:

Understanding pie chart

Less than one in three students actually thought that the employer communication they received was giving them good insights to make a career decision.

Get students to apply

Now as we look at what kind of employer communication is being sent out by (mostly big) employers, it becomes clear why students think that they information they get is not clear.

This is because the objective of this communication is almost always to get students to apply.

Apply today

However, this does not give students the information they need to understand, for instance, if the organisation (culture) is a good fit for them. Hence, students just apply to anything in the hope to get a couple of job offers in the end, in order to only then make the choice which company to go for… sending out hundreds of thousands of irrelevant applications in the process, which you are encouraging with your “Apply now” call-to-action in your communication.

Get students to understand

What helps reduce these vast numbers of irrelevant applications and increase the quality of your applications is to change the objective of your communication from get students to apply, to get students to understand. To understand your organisation. Your culture. The role. The day-to-day tasks.

That means to sway away from generic “Apply today” banners and cover photos on company profiles, and replace them with actual photos of the work environment of where your graduates will be spending their working days.

Office background

We try to support that by, for instance, allowing for photo galleries and sending professional photographers to the offices of Magnet.me users, but the real change will need to come from graduate recruitment teams. It’s a change of mindset. Get the students you reach out to, to understand, not just apply. And apply they will. But then only the ones you actually want to apply.