How Would You Rate Your Application Experience?

Creating a great job posting and getting it in front of the right people is just one piece of the recruitment puzzle. Now, you have to get job seekers to actually apply to your open roles. 

You may not put much thought into what candidates think of your application. After all, as an employer, you’re looking for specific information and want job seekers that will take the time to answer your questions and fill out your application no matter how long it takes. Right? 

Not quite. 

In today’s competitive labor market, it’s more important than ever to make your application experience smooth and easy so that job seekers that view your job posting are compelled to complete the application and move further down your recruitment funnel. 

So it’s worth asking: How would you grade your current application experience? 

Is it possible that it’s causing you to miss out on quality candidates? 

Let’s look at why a great application experience matters and how to create a process that will help you make more of the right hires. 

Why application experience matters 

In a labor market where job seekers have more options than ever before, a bad application experience could cause a great candidate to abandon your application in favor of someone else’s. In fact, 60% of job seekers quit in the middle of filling out applications because of length and complexity. 

job application abandonment rate

Job seekers simply don’t have time to spend thirty minutes or more applying to one job. Instead, they want to be able to apply in just a few clicks and move on. 

The application process also plays a role in the overall candidate experience, which is made up of all the interactions a candidate has with you from job posting to job offer. A negative candidate experience can deter candidates from accepting your job offers – according to our Candidate Experience Report, 58% of job seekers have declined a job offer because of a poor candidate experience in the hiring process.  

This means that even if a job seeker does make it through a laborious application process, they may not be left with a great impression. Since the application is one of the candidate’s first touch points with your employer brand, this perception may serve as a mark against your company when they are deciding between one or more offers. 

Your application process is just one small part of the overall candidate experience. To learn more about how to create a positive experience and keep candidates engaged, check out this video from our Senior Director of People, Natalie Morgan: 

How to create a great application experience 

We’ve covered why a great application experience is so important. But what do job seekers want from an application experience? The following tips can help ensure that your application doesn’t scare off great candidates. 

Make applying easy 

Job seekers are often applying to multiple roles at once, and many will skip a long, complicated application process. Talented candidates – especially busy talented candidates – know their time is important. Show them that you value it by making your applications short and easy to complete. 

Our advice: You shouldn’t make applicants create an account or a login simply to apply. And definitely don’t make them re-enter their work history if they’ve already attached their resume – no one likes that! Using an applicant tracking system like CareerPlug will help you automatically organize your candidates and their resumes so requiring them to fill out tedious applications should be a thing of the past.

Don’t include too many pre-screen questions

We highly recommend two to three pre-screen questions in your job applications. These can help weed out unqualified candidates and speed up your hiring process. 

However, an application that has more than a few pre-screen questions can overwhelm candidates and cause them to abandon your application in favor of a shorter one. 

Pick the top two to three things that are most important to you for the role (such as education, the number of years of experience, or availability) and use those to determine your pre-screen questions. Remember: The purpose of the pre-screen questions is to eliminate candidates who don’t check your most important boxes. Don’t turn your pre-screen questions into an entire interview. 

Don’t ask for sensitive information

Sure, eventually you will need a candidate’s information like date of birth and a social security number. But asking for these things in your initial application could be off-putting for candidates nervous to share their sensitive information online. 

Save these questions, along with reference requests, for later in the hiring process. 

Make your application mobile-friendly 

Today’s job seekers want their search for the perfect job to be as convenient and quick as possible, so it’s not surprising that nearly 86% of candidates use their smartphones for job searching. Because of this, a mobile-friendly application experience is crucial. 

Make sure that both your job posting and your application are just as streamlined on a cell phone as they are on a computer screen. Keep in mind that bulky paragraphs or a long application will seem even longer on a mobile view. 

Your application process doesn’t have to be the only part of hiring that’s optimized for mobile. Try text recruiting so that you can reach out and schedule interviews with qualified applicants sooner than your competition. Your candidates will be grateful for the quick and easy communication. 

Grade your application experience 

Now that you have a better idea of what makes a great application experience, how does yours stack up? We’ve compiled these tips and created an application experience worksheet that can help you grade your experience and take stock of what changes need to be made. Click the button below to download your free PDF.  

Note: The “Grade Your Application Experience” worksheet is just one of the many free resources offered in Clint Smith’s new book, How to Hire: The Essential Guide to Recruit & Retain the Right People. Download your free copy below.

Get your free digital copy of How to Hire!

CareerPlug Founder and CEO, Clint Smith, wrote the book on small business hiring – literally. His new book, How to Hire, is an essential playbook for business owners to recruit and retain the right people.


Recent Posts

Steve Fowler

Manager of Partner Growth

Christina Waite

Platform Engineering Manager

Taylor Coleman

Tier 2 Manager

Al Foote

Consultant Manager

Sydney Kidd

Tier 1 Manager

Nicolle Gatlin

Manager of Partner Success

Aiden Kinney

Consultant Manager

Joe Lepis

Engineering Manager

Polly Schandorf

Engineering Manager


Hiring is hard, but partnering with us makes it easier. From posting jobs to scheduling interviews, CareerPlug allows you to automate certain parts of the process to improve your results and save you time.



Once you think you have found the right person, use our reference and background check resources to verify them. Then, send an electronic offer letter from CareerPlug to close the deal!



Use our prescreen questions and assessments to identify the best applicants. Then use our interview questions and scorecards to evaluate for the right things consistently.



Use our notifications and automations to be the first to respond to qualified applicants. Send texts and emails from directly from CareerPlug to convert applicants to scheduled interviews.



Use our templates to create an attractive careers page and job posting. Then promote it through our job board partners, as well as directly with your employees, customers, and social network.


Brandy Lee

Business Intelligence Manager

Eric Morales

Manager of Account Executives

Kirsten Penaloza

Director of Client Experience

Zach Garcia

Senior Manager of Operations

Tulay Solak

HR Manager

Tyler Berndsen

Manager of Partnership Account Executives

Ashley Johnson

Senior Manager of Partner Services

Originally from small town in central Texas, Ashley Johnson graduated from Texas State University in 2013 with a degree in Business Administration. She was hired by CareerPlug as a Talent Specialist in 2014, and moved up to ultimately lead the Recruitment Services team. From there, she pivoted to Implementation, and is now the Implementation Manager.

As the Implementation Manager, Ashley and 3 direct reports function as a transition between Sales and Partner Success in helping our clients get set up and established in our software. She spends her free time raising her 2 dogs, playing cornhole, and perfecting the art of charcuterie.

Kate Sensmeier

VP Marketing

Ashley Garia

Director of Product Marketing

Canaan Davis

Director of Engineering

Teresa Hall

Director of UX & Product Design

Brad Pilot

Senior Director of Sales

Leslie Chamberlain

Senior Director of Client Experience

Natalie Morgan

Senior Director of People

Andrew Robinson III

Vice President of Product and Engineering

Chris Igou

VP of Business Development

Chris accidentally started a 20-year career in franchising when he was 18 years old and took a job painting houses for College Pro Painters. That job turned into the ownership of his first franchise (a house painting franchise). While at Monmouth College in IL, he operated his business, played on the varsity football team, and studied to become a teacher.

The taste of entrepreneurship and desire to coach others led Chris deeper into franchising, working with a few franchise brands helping them grow their businesses. He lived in the Chicagoland area his entire life until recently moving his family to Austin, TX.

In his free time Chris coaches youth sports, especially youth football, and spends as much time as he can with his wife and 2 children.

Jenny Leman


Native to Texas, Jenny graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 2004 and joined CareerPlug in 2017. She retired her first career path as a Registered Dietitian after 10 years, and has found her true belonging in business operations.

As CareerPlug’s President, Jenny leads all teams to an aligned effort toward achieving our vision. She works to build healthy and scalable internal systems to equip and empower the CareerPlug teams to bring their best for our clients. She loves contributing new ideas and rethinking the status quo. Jenny really connects with the company’s core values, but especially with our intent to “Keep Growing.”

In her non-work life, Jenny enjoys time with her family, playing drums and performing with the Austin Samba School, and finding excuses to be on the lake.

Clint Smith

Founder & CEO

Clint founded CareerPlug in 2007 with the simple idea that there was a better way to help employers connect with quality applicants. Today Clint works every day to fulfill CareerPlug’s mission: Make Hiring Easier. Leading by example, Clint loves spending his time developing new ideas and teaching others.

After graduating from the University of Florida, Clint worked in investment banking and strategic marketing; both experiences influenced the development of CareerPlug. He also spent a year away from the business world teaching 5th grade in Boulder.

Clint is passionate about helping others succeed and is involved in numerous mentoring programs. He and his wife, Sarah, are also foster parents. Clint enjoys family time, beach volleyball, and outdoor adventures.