I read a staggering statistic this week: according to SHRM (the Society for Human Resource Management), 92% of people NEVER finish online job applications. This is terrible news for recruiters and employers in a candidate-short market. You simply cannot afford to turn candidates away through an onerous online application process. How can you improve this critical part of the candidate experience?
Try it out yourself
Take your phone and apply to one of your jobs. Document every single step you have to complete, and note any particular sticking points that arise. Consider that candidates who are actively look for a new role may very well apply to multiple job postings. So you need to consider fatigue level as well. Multiply how difficult your online application process is by the number of different times a candidate is doing this. Note the point at which you are so frustrated you want to give up and assume that is where candidates will opt out as well. If you haven’t been through your *own* organization’s application, make it a priority to test this out TODAY.
Don’t force them to register
Whether you’re an employer or a recruiter, do not force job seekers to create an account before they can apply to a job. This is an unnecessary step and often requires information the job seeker may not be willing to share with you just yet. Especially if registration is going to lead to unwelcome emails or text messages.
Don’t make them reapply
If a candidate applies to a job on your site, and then applies to another job on your site, do NOT make them fill out the application again. Figure out how to save/store their application – this is a *huge* time-waster and can easily lead to job seekers abandoning the online application process.
Don’t ask them to repeat information
Stop asking candidates to supply information that is already contained in their resume. Do not ask them to supply information they have already given you during a different part of their job search. Candidates HATE this. Frankly, I suspect all consumers hate this, whether it’s their bank, their doctor’s office or their local grocery delivery service.
Don’t ask for too much, too soon
Review your application questions. Are you asking for references before you qualify the person or schedule an interview? Why do you need that information upfront? The more you ask, the fewer people will apply. Is that really the right strategy? Could you start with a very basic list – name, email, phone, location (not full address), and either a resume or a link to their LinkedIn profile?
Don’t punish applicants for mistakes
What happens when an applicant skips over a required field, or supplies the wrong type of data (a number in a text-only field, for example)? If a mistake in one field wipes out everything that was entered in all the other fields, forcing the applicant to start over, that is a sure-fire way to chase them away from your career site. Keep your required fields to a minimum, and if there are specific rules about what kind of data can go in a field, make sure that is clearly explained. This is another reason to reduce the number of fields on your form – to reduce form fatigue as well as form errors.
An onerous online application process drives up cost-per-application in addition to alienating potential candidates. If you are paying for acquisitions, and getting very few of them, it’s time to consider whether your application process is the reason for so few conversions. This is especially true if you’re getting a high number of clicks, which suggests your job postings are attractive and relevant. Candidate experience is becoming an increasingly important part of the hiring process. Make sure you deliver a good one!