Hiring Managers: Frustrating Online Applications Can Kill Recruiting

Your company’s public-facing application process is a huge part of how many qualified professionals you will successfully pull through your process.

If your application is time consuming, invasive and mute once the app is submitted, these are the qualities your applicants will associate with your company. If your application is simple, quick, polite and frequently responsive to applicants, they will associate those feelings with your company as an employer.

Click-Click-Click to Apply

One thing we hear on a regular basis from our applicants is that they are tired of retyping their resumes and information on numerous online job applications across a wide variety of company websites. This antiquated demand makes applying for a job a time-consuming process and many candidates skip otherwise appealing job ads simply because the application process looks like an inefficient use of their time. So how can your company’s job application process improve so you don’t lose quality talent?

Using Profiles

Instead of requiring a long, multi-screen application process on your site, consider using Application Profiles. Allow the applicant to build a personal profile within your system that will allow them to apply for multiple positions within your organization. Having a preset profile they’ve already filled out encourages applicants to visit your open jobs page again and again, because future applications will be a breeze. Better yet, include a feature that allows them to opt in to future job notifications, so they can simply click an email link when a job matching their profile opens up and reapply.

Using Apply with LinkedIn

Better yet, implement an Apply with LinkedIn button that allows your job application to pull pertinent information directly from LinkedIn, essentially turning the work-history-gathering portion of the application into a single button press. LinkedIn boasts over 200 million members – it’s a resource you can’t afford to ignore.

Get a Better Resume Parser

If your application process features an option allowing applicants to upload a resume, make sure your resume parser (the software that reads the resume and auto-fills employment history fields on the application) works well. Many applicants feel that low-quality parsers add work to the application process because the auto-filled data is garbled or put in the wrong fields of the application. Include a sample resume somewhere on your site, with proper formatting standards made clear, so employees can set up their text-based resumes in a format that will allow your parser to do its job, rather than making more work for your applicants.

Don’t Ask for Too Much Information Up Front

The job application on your site is the first step in the relationship – the tentative courtship, if you will. Demanding too much personal information from applicants – especially passive candidates – can be a turnoff. Salary history, for example, is often a detail that’s better addressed in a follow-up conversation, on the phone or during an in-person interview. If you must include salary history fields on your online app, make those fields optional to fill in, or you risk losing the interest of the candidates who don’t wish to divulge these details before they get to know you.

Let People Speak

By the mere fact that someone applied for your position they have expressed that they feel they are qualified. By including 1-2 questions about what they bring to the table and what sets them apart, you will have established that you care about hiring people who do make a contribution and that you likely recognize people when they are successful.

Tell Me What’s Happening

Last, and perhaps most importantly, respond to every candidate. According to this survey, 44% of candidates who received no response after their application reported they have a worse opinion of that employer. 32% reported that they are less likely to buy a product from a company that failed to reply to their job application. It starts with how well you communicate your process. A video on your website about your hiring process can give you the opportunity to establish your personality and culture.

Next, your ATS (applicant tracking system) should automatically reply to the candidate with their name in the salutation, informing them that their application has been received. And if you evaluate their app and decide they’re not a fit, you should send a polite note letting them know, instead of keeping them floating in limbo. But offer information on how your process works with the auto reply.

Offer an email opt-in to receive updates if you have them. If they are being reviewed by a department, let them know. If the position closed – let them know. No response is the worst response and is likely to cause these applicants to share their negative feelings about your process and company with friends and colleagues or on social media.

By gaining a candidate’s trust using a simple and easy to understand application process, you’re already on the way to creating a stronger employer brand. By using simple profiles, quick-apply options, video and automated stage responses, you’re building a relationship candidates are more likely to respond to, return to and recommend to others. And that trust translates to a better candidate pool applying for your open positions going forward.

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