5 Ways Your Application Process is Hurting Your Hiring Outcomes
Getting the ideal candidate to click on your job ad is only half the battle. If your application process is long, slow, full of friction or messy, you’ll lose quality talent in droves. Most recruiters have been candidates at some time or another and have seen first-hand how damaging a poor candidate experience can be. The resume black holes. The hoops to jump through. The interview that turns into two and then three. The ghosting and lack of follow-through.
And yet, when the shoe is on the other foot, they stop seeing things from an objective viewpoint. Between too much work and too little budget, it’s easy to fall into processes that should make the job easier—but in reality leave you waiting too long to hire and regretting the ones who got away.
Good talent follows the path of least resistance. If you have any of the following in your application workflows, then you're putting unnecessary roadblocks between your organization and the candidates you want to hire.
#1: Too many steps from search to apply
When a job seeker finds your job on a job board or job site, understand that it is very early in the process for them. They may not know what they're looking for and they may have received dozens of suitable jobs in their search results. Either way, they are not ready to invest time in a long and arduous application process.
Here’s a mind-boggling number: 92 percent of people who click the ‘Apply’ button never complete an application. More than nine out of every 10 candidates will abandon applications that have an exorbitant number of steps and clicks. If you require upfront registration, multiple logins, passwords, triple-factor security verification, answers to the same question over and over again or data that is already contained in the resume they uploaded, you’re setting yourself up to fail. That’s a lot of wasted opportunity that’s easily fixed through an accelerated application process.
TIP: Activate an “Easy Apply” button on your job boards. Ensure it contains all your screener questions so candidates can apply in a click or two using their stored information and resume.
TIP: Use JobSync to create integration from job sites and job boards to your Applicant Tracking System. Job Sync’s native apply allows the candidate to complete your full application of must-have screening questions without having to be redirected or create an account. This will drastically increase the amount of full applications you are getting with no drop in the candidate experience.
#2: Asking too many questions
Remember, 92% of people who click the ‘Apply’ button never complete an application. Some of them are not interested in the job but a bigger number abandon the application because they are frustrated by the number of questions you’re asking. Today’s candidates are used to the Amazon way of doing things—they want to submit an application in just a few clicks. There are three kinds of questions that turn off your candidates:
Open-ended questions. If your question starts with the words ‘explain’, ‘tell a story’ or’ give an example,’ it doesn’t belong in your application process.
Redundant questions. If you’ve already asked it, don’t ask it again. Especially questions like ‘have you worked here before’, ‘email’ and ‘name’.
Inappropriate questions. There is a time and a place to ask for a social security number, date of birth and references. The application is neither the time nor the place.
For recruiters, a drop-off rate this high has all sorts of negative consequences. Your candidate volume will plummet while your cost-per-application, cost-per-hire and time-to-hire will all rise. Almost every recruiting metric can be improved by bringing down the drop-off rate down—and that starts with cutting all unnecessary questions.
TIP: Remove all redundant and unneeded questions so applications are done in minutes, not hours. The longer it takes to apply, the fewer chances of getting enough candidates.
#3: Asking the wrong questions at the wrong time
While it’s important to thoroughly vet candidates before making a hire, it’s just as critical to ask your screening questions at the right time. For example, it's legitimate and necessary to ask “Do you hold a Class 3 CDL?” as part of the initial application because you can’t advance a candidate without it. It's not legitimate or necessary to ask Work Opportunity Tax Credit questions. These types of questions should be left for when you know the candidate is viable and asking them will not frustrate the candidate or have a negative impact on candidate flow.
TIP: Take your custom screening questions and give them the MoSCoW treatment: Must-have (non-negotiable information you need to figure out if a candidate is qualified for the job), Should-have (important information to get in the phone screen), Could-have (nice to know information that can be saved for interview) and Will-not have (unnecessary questions that might make your candidates uncomfortable or turn them away.) Must-haves go in the application; everything else can wait or be removed from the process entirely.
#4: Assessments before the first screen
Which comes first—the technical assessment or first resume screening? Many recruiters believe that technical, behavioral or intelligence assessments are part of figuring out if the candidate is eligible but it doesn’t make sense to waste time and resources on testing people who may not qualify for other reasons (Do they have a right to work in the US? Are they over 18?).
The most capable candidates with great resumes are going to be very annoyed that you're asking them to perform tests BEFORE they've decided if they like you. Meanwhile, your more agile competitors have met with these potentials and sold them on their opportunity.
TIP: Screen and meet the candidate first, test and validate later. This way, you can ensure there’s a mutual interest and your test-takers will actually put some effort in. Speed is everything so keep technical assessments short and use them in tandem with the interview process, not as an additional step in the application.
#5: Running background checks too early and too liberally
Asking candidates to hand over their social security number, date of birth, and background check authorizations as part of the initial application is a red flag for most—no one wants to give this information when they don’t know what the job is yet! It’s especially outrageous if the salary hasn’t even been disclosed! It’s much better to wait until you're seriously interested in a candidate and they're seriously interested in you before running a background check and requesting references. Otherwise, you’re just radiating time and money, delaying your recruiting process and risking candidate drop-off for no real gain.
TIP: Set rules in your recruiting tools and processes to trigger a background screen only for your finalists when you're close to making an offer.
Don't waste a candidate's time!
In this era of talent shortages, candidates are not going to move heaven and earth to make an application. Recognize that their time is precious. A short, user-friendly application that collects the information you need and nothing more goes a long way and boosts your chances of securing top talent, not driving them away.