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 upcoming book, How to Hire, to be released in late 2022. Pre-order your free copy at the link below.

Pre-order 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, will be released in late 2022, but you can be the first to receive a free digital copy by pre-ordering below.


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