Have you noticed a drop in the number of applicants lately? Maybe it’s time to do a deep review of your current application process to correct what’s not working well. From the candidate perspective, completing applications is a tedious and undesirable way to spend time. This is especially the case with lengthy applications or applicant tracking systems that don’t read data from resumes well.
A study conducted by Jibe showed that 55 percent of job seekers view a long job application process as a negative experience, and many will refuse to fill one out if it looks like it’s going to take more than a few minutes. Another survey, this one by CareerBuilder, indicates that 60 percent of job seekers quit mid-application when they realize it’s too complex or lengthy.
Historically, applicant tracking systems were not designed to give candidates a positive experience nor have they been great at supporting candidate engagement efforts. They have simply been a means to obtain as much information possible on candidates to fill positions and create talent pipelines. Today, with candidates in the driver’s seat, it’s important to be focused on giving them the ultimate experience with a recruitment platform that focuses on their needs.
Why does the candidate experience matter during the application process?
The job application process is the first encounter that a candidate may have with your company brand. Do things right and you will make things pleasant for each candidate, helping to make your brand stand out among other companies. Give them a negative experience and you can bet they're going to talk about it. Even one candidate who has had a bad experience will create a ripple effect that can cause others to not apply for jobs or do business with your company ever again.
A CareerArc study advised 72 percent of candidates who’ve had a negative experience with a company have shared it with others via social networking sites, on employer review sites, and directly with friends and colleagues. LinkedIn research showed that half of U.S. professionals would not take a job with a company that had a tarnished brand, and that it can cost employers up to $4,723 more to place new hires. (Source: Bullhorn)
Understanding what candidates expect from the job search process is vital to making the employer brand a positive one long term.
How can employers improve application completion rates and improve the candidate experience?
Fortunately, your organization has taken the time to become aware that there is a potential problem and is ready to do something about it. There are three strategies you can use now to improve your job application rates and make the candidate experience a positive one.
#1 - Try an updated system for accepting applications
There are many choices in recruitment technology that vastly improves the candidate experience. Instead of a system that requires candidates to upload a resume and then fill out the same information all over again, give candidates a chance to build a profile. This can include an upload of their resume that the recruiter can download later. The candidate can have fun with it by adding a photo, more information about what they are looking for, and their top skills -- but only if they choose to take the time to do so. Match the candidate up with a few jobs at once and give them the chance to send one application for all. Be sure this takes no more than five minutes to complete.
#2 - Use a mobile friendly application platform
The majority of candidates are searching for jobs via their mobile devices and smartphones. It’s the most convenient way to conduct a job search, especially if an employee is already employed and searching on their work commute. Your company should have a recruitment application that promotes new career opportunities and accepts simple job applications from candidates. This can also include a video introduction by your hiring manager, explaining the job and welcoming candidates to apply. Candidates can then submit their own recorded video introduction in lieu of a resume. When there are leads to new jobs or when the candidate is getting interest from the company, text messages can encourage candidates to return to learn more.
#3 - Be responsive and informative with each candidate
It is absolutely critical for all companies to have a system for keeping in communication with candidates throughout the recruitment process. There should be a way to thank candidates for their application, immediately asking them to self-schedule for a phone interview. Then the next step is to invite the candidate to the interview asap, welcoming the candidate in person and guiding them through every step. When candidates feel safe and supported, this speaks well of the company brand. Never neglect candidates or leave them wondering what’s happening. Keep in touch with them through emails, text messages, chatbots, and phone calls. Respond to their questions promptly and keep them informed of what is happening and when a decision has been made.
Remember, these are just a few things you can do to improve the candidate experience and the number of applications being completed. Regularly review things and find other ways to make the recruitment process more positive and fruitful.