There was a time when candidates, particularly those paid hourly, were willing to spend 20-30 minutes (sometimes up to an hour) on a job application. This was the standard. It was simply the way things were done.
Well, not anymore.
Most candidates are no longer willing to complete long applications upfront. There are too many alternatives from employers offering applications that can be completed in seconds, from any device. Employers that mandate a long application process — one that requires job seekers to create an account and fill in pages of information — are going to find that the lack of applicant issues they are experiencing will only get worse as more of their competitors modernize their application.
Would You Treat Your Customers That Way?
At CareerPlug, our clients — no matter their industry — tell us that hiring a superstar team member is more valuable than gaining a new customer.
With that in mind, would you ever make a prospective customer fill out a long application upfront? If you run a business that relies on getting sales leads from the Internet, imagine what would happen to your lead volume if prospects had to complete a form that took 30 minutes and asked for their social security number. You would have no leads! If a great new hire is more valuable than a sales lead for your business, why are you forcing candidates through a 30-minute application right up front?
Many industry-leading companies, particularly those recruiting technology professionals, understand the value that a simple, focused initial application has and have significantly reduced the time it takes to apply to their jobs.
Can You Apply From Your Phone?
Well over 50% of candidates are using their mobile devices to search and apply for jobs. This number skews much higher for hourly workers who often use their phones for all of their online activities. Your mobile experience will not only affect the rate in which you convert candidates who have viewed your jobs into applicants; it can also affect where you appear in search results on major job search sites. For example, Indeed will prioritize job postings that have the Indeed Apply functionality in their search results for candidates using a mobile device since this makes it much easier for them to apply. It is important to focus on your mobile experience now as this trend will continue to move toward mobile devices becoming the primary way to search and apply for jobs.
A Better Way – Two Step Applications
You may be thinking: What about all of the information that needs to be collected as part of the application process? You can still capture all of the information you need – as a second step in the process. Use the first step to capture the lead and any essentials you need to measure initial qualifications, and the second step to capture any additional required information that is not critical to the initial evaluation.
For the first step, we recommend collecting the candidate’s resume, contact information, and asking 3-5 prescreen questions that are critical to your initial evaluation. These questions can range from asking about a required license or skill to something as simple as schedule availability. You should ask multiple choice (not open response) questions so that the answers can be scored. Remember to limit these to the essentials – if it isn’t critical to your initial evaluation of the application, save it for step two.
The second step of the application process can start as soon as the first step ends, but it’s important to give candidates an option to complete this step at a later time that may be more convenient for them. You can facilitate this by emailing them a link to the second step in the process. This is particularly important if your application process includes assessments or essay-style questions. Remember that many of your candidates will be applying from a mobile device.
What to Avoid in Step One
The list of things to avoid should include anything that would make the application difficult to complete within a few minutes (from a phone), including:
- Detailed Job History/Education History: almost all candidates now have a resume, so these sections are no longer necessary
- Essay Questions: save these for Step Two, if necessary
- Assessments: save these for Step Two, if necessary
- Requests for information that may not be readily available: these include things such as a previous employer’s phone number
- Creating a username & password as part of the application: though many systems require this, it is simply not necessary
- Forms that are not mobile optimized: if they need to pinch to zoom and/or scroll from side to side, then it’s not mobile optimized
- Too many questions/fields: too many questions or fields of any sort will keep candidates from applying
Would You Apply?
Ready to take action? Start by assessing your current application process. Put yourself in your candidates’ shoes and apply to one of your job postings from your phone. How was your experience? Would you want to go through that as an applicant? Think about what you can change to make it easier, including adding a second step to the application process. If you make it easier for candidates to apply, you will ensure that you and your team will have a better chance of hiring more superstars.
Your people are the heart of your business. Building a strong pipeline of high-quality people is vital to your company’s growth, and CareerPlug helps over 7,000 companies attract and hire the right people. Over our years of collective experience and expertise we’ve created a playbook for building your own Talent Magnet: download the free eBook here for the full story.