How to Streamline Your Application Process for Faster Hiring and a Better Candidate Experience

Is your application process stymying your recruitment efforts?

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Streamlining your application process to boost recruitment efforts

Competition for talent is fierce. Businesses are working hard to achieve necessary head counts to keep production flowing, serve customers, and stay open. Successful recruitment has never been more necessary, but organizations are often being stymied by their own application process.

If applying for a job at your company isn’t fast and easy, talent is moving on to the next company. If technology is making it more difficult (or redundant) to apply for an opening, job seekers are dropping out of the process. The first connection a job seeker has with your business is the ease or complexity of applying for a job. If the message your process sends is job seekers have to go through hoops to work there, they’re probably looking for a company that asks for less and offers more. Here are some issues and how to relieve them.

Application frustration

There are many pain points during the application process that may be keeping job seekers away. Most are easy to fix once you’re aware of them. A best practice is to review your process and see if any of these areas are stopping potential hires from applying.

Too long

60% of candidates will abandon an application that takes too long to complete or is too complex.

The longer your application, the fewer the applicants. CareerBuilder reports candidates don’t want to spend more than 10 minutes on a single application. In 2016 (a much better talent market for businesses), SHRM found 60% of candidates will abandon an application that takes too long to complete or is too complex.

Solutions for today’s market:

Cut your process down — dramatically. No matter what you’re hiring for, ask for the basics only. Ask for data you actually need — name, contact information, degree, and 1 to 3 past employers. Those should be enough to determine whether or not the candidate is worth pursuing. If they’re acceptable, contact them directly for a phone interview to get more information, or to schedule a time to meet.

404 Error — Page Not Found

We’ve all been frustrated when this message pops up. When candidates click to apply and get this notification, they’re generally lost. One study found over 56% of applicants encountered some form of technical issue when they try to apply. The result — they abandon their application and most never to return to the company’s site.

Solutions for today’s market:

Keep a close eye on your career pages and application process. Check it daily if necessary to make sure everything is in working order. If you’re seeing a slowdown in applications (or stoppage) there might be a problem.

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Not again!

Another application pain point is redundancy. For some sites, job seekers are asked to upload their resume then fill out an application. For others, clicking on a link to apply for sends them to a third-party applicant tracking system (ATS) that requires they create an account to proceed. They may need to upload their resume there, and fill out an application form. If they already have an account (for those using large job boards) they may move forward, if not, they might abandon the frustrating and redundant process.

Solutions for today’s market:

Make sure your career pages or third-party provider isn’t asking candidates to do more work than necessary. If they’re having to duplicate their history, you’re probably losing out. If your provider isn’t streamlined, move to another site or have applications sent directly to you.

ATS may not be your friend

In a good talent market, ATS screens out candidates that don’t meet minimum requirements. In today’s talent market, you may be getting no applications at all. The software that looks for keywords, longevity, and degrees is doing its job. What it isn’t doing is factoring in judgment and nuance. Artificial intelligence is literal: it looks for exactly what you request, and that might be working against you.

Solutions for today’s market:

Review the requirements you post for your position — can you adjust that 3 to 5 years’ experience down to 1 to 2 years? You may be getting more applicants if you do. Sometimes the smallest change can make a difference: “degree required” to ”degree preferred” may widen your candidate pool and net talent that’s worth hiring and training.

Desktop versus mobile

If your application process isn’t optimized for mobile, you’re missing out on talent. Researchers found 90% of job seekers look for work on their smartphone. If your site isn’t mobile-friendly — easy to read and apply — they’re moving on. Eighty percent of users will stop engaging with sites that aren’t mobile optimized. If screens are too small or large, or if links aren’t easy to find and click, you’ve lost out on talent. A slow loading mobile site is also problematic: 53% of users will abandon your site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load.

Researchers found 90% of job seekers look for work on their smartphone. If your site isn’t mobile-friendly — easy to read and apply — they’re moving on.

Solutions for today’s market:

There are third-party providers that can help optimize your mobile site for the application process. A bonus — they’ll make your site easier for consumers to navigate as well. Google has a free mobile test you can use. It takes less than a minute, shows problems and offers solutions to improve viewability and usability.

Old school solutions

One of the easiest way to streamline your application process may be to revert back to old school practices. Skip the tech and ask for resumes to be sent directly to (gasp) an actual person. Set up a separate email address — for example, [email protected] Check it regularly or set it to notify you whenever an email is received.

If you’re looking for entry-level candidates with little experience that can round out a resume, set up a text message account for them to apply. Tell them to include name, contact information, if they’re a student and/or list one job they’ve held recently.  In today’s market, a direct approach might be the easiest way to find potential hires.

What is this costing you?

There’s no way to completely know how many candidates you’re missing out on, but there are some measurable metrics. If your site allows, check to see how many applications are abandoned. Or you can measure how many clicks your job pages received versus how many people sent in a resume. You may be shocked to find very low conversion rates.

In addition to lost candidates, there are financial costs that add up when using recruitment technology. A study from Appcast revealed around 95% of candidates who click on a job ad don’t follow through and complete the application. For businesses that use a programmatic tool to manage ads and spending, each click costs money. When only 5% of your clicks result in an applicant, you’re wasting more money on lost candidates than investing in potential hires.

The best way to find if your application process is working for or against you is to give it a test drive. Go through every avenue an applicant has to use to apply and make sure it’s quick, easy and intuitive. If not, make adjustments to increase the odds the right candidate finds you and applies right away.

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