Have you ever applied to a job and an hour into the thirty question application wondered if it was worth it? Or maybe you clicked apply and were directed to a login screen to find that you’re still three steps away from beginning the actual application.  Did you muddle through? Walk away?  Save it for later?

To employers, detailed applications may seem like the right choice: get as much information as possible upfront to help narrow the hiring process as quickly as possible.  To job seekers, spending hours on complex applications to send them into the void (maybe never to hear back) is an investment many won’t make.  This doesn’t mean these job seekers are lazy, but rather that they can recognize opportunities that are worth their time.  

According to Indeed, the more complex the application the higher the drop off in applicant flow.  When your application has just 10 questions there is a 17% reduction in applicants.  30 questions saw a 50% drop, and 45+ questions caused an 88% reduction in applicants. As an employer, a “detailed” application might not be worth the risk.  

Here are a few ways you can simplify your application process:

Essentials Only

You might have 80 questions you’d like to ask applicants, but chances are their resume and a few key screening questions are enough for the first phase of your screening process.  Asking applicants to do more might weed out talent that would be a great fit for your organization.  Get the essentials up front, and build in more detailed applications as a second step.  

Fewer Clicks

Especially as more and more job seekers use their mobile devices to search for jobs, having a streamlined application is necessary.  Limit your application to one page and work with your team to see how applications can be completed in as few clicks as possible.  

No Logins

Asking job seekers to create a login before they can complete an application is a sure way to scare off candidates.  This is an extra set of steps before they even reach the application, usually making job seekers navigate away from the page to get the email confirmation.

You’ve worked hard to attract talent to your opportunities, don’t get in your own way with a complex application.  Make it easy to apply, and they will.  

Want the full story? Download our free ebook here: How to Build a Talent Magnet

Views: 411

Comment by Katrina Kibben on October 8, 2015 at 10:26am

Thanks for sharing your post! You definitely touched on a lot of what adds up to 50% of candidates leaving websites before completing the application. 

I just wanted to add, and emphasize your point, about mobile. It blows my mind how many sites aren't mobile optimized, even though we know candidates are communicating with us via mobile devices. Mobile optimization is the key to a better candidate experience, bottom line. I pulled together a mobile check list for RecruitingDaily here if anyone's interested in checking it out.

Comment by Eric Putkonen on October 8, 2015 at 3:52pm

Yes, we need to simply the application process.   If you don't measure candidate drop off...you should.  You may find that you are losing a ton of applicants because of the application process.

Comment by Katrina Kibben on October 8, 2015 at 4:19pm

Eric - have you been able to ID exactly where people drop off in the application process? If so, how? 

Comment by Raphael Fang on October 8, 2015 at 6:01pm

There is an increase in resume after we simplified the resume submission process.  

Comment by Katrina Kibben on October 9, 2015 at 10:09am

Raphael - what changes did you make in your simplification process?

Comment by Raphael Fang on October 9, 2015 at 11:59am

Why should the process be different when they are apply through the company?  It is easy when candidates applied through ads from indeed, craigslist and Monster.  They just need to attach their resumes to the email and write/edit up a cover letter. 

But when candidates apply through our company’s website, they needed to create a profile and set up a password.   The process took up to 10 minute by entering information that are already on their resume.  This form also asked candidates for their references, and salary expectations.   

When I asked about who created this form and the answer wasn’t surprising. It was created by HR Generalist and the person didn’t have a strong background in recruiting.  I am not bashing her competency, but she didn’t have a good understanding on what candidates want.

I quickly edited the submission form and candidates only need to provide their name, email address, and their resume.  It’s quick to the point and candidates can do it when they are at work with ease.  Yes, It can be done on the mobile phone and tablet easily. 

If this process isn’t quick and painless, candidates are going to go apply elsewhere.  It is especially hard for us, as we had to compete with other well established EPCM companies that can give their engineers a variety of projects.  We serve a very niche market, Pulp and Paper, which requires a special set of skills.  We cannot afford to lose any potential candidates.

I also included my direct line on the advertisement because I want candidates to establish a relationship with me.  I want to network with them whether they have the skills that I am looking for at the moment.    If they call me, I will spend the time with them.  I want to them to have a good experience and tell their friends about us.


Comment by Katrina Kibben on October 9, 2015 at 12:41pm

Great move - thanks for sharing!


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