Benefits of improving your application process

June 4, 2021 Christina DeBusk

The first step to hiring top talent is having them fill out a job application. But what happens if your application process is deterring your next star employee from submitting their information, sending them to your competitors instead? If you haven’t updated and improved the way your job candidates apply lately, you may want to consider doing it now as it offers many benefits.

Improved applicant retention

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) cites two studies, both of which found that lengthy or complex job applications can cause a candidate to walk away before they’ve even input all of their requested information. One study mentioned by SHRM noted that the number of job seekers who walk away from this type of application is around 60%. Another found a 50% decrease in completed applications when there were around 50 questions versus those that contained half that amount.

Quicker position fill

A Glassdoor study involving 344,250 interview reviews states that it takes an average of 22.9 days for U.S. companies to take an applicant through the interview process. If your application is lengthy, it takes you or your human resources staff longer to review.

This leaves the open position vacant for a more extended period of time, ultimately affecting your productivity and profitability. Conversely, a streamlined, more efficient application process can get you back on track faster.

A more appealing company profile

Put yourself in the shoes of a job seeker for a moment. If you want to apply to a particular company, yet find that the application process is cumbersome or time-intensive, what do you think of that potential employer?

Now imagine that you are applying for a job role and the process was quick, simple and easy to navigate. How does this change your image of the company? Every interaction you have with a job candidate has the opportunity to leave a good or bad impression. This begins with your application process.

Conducting a thorough review of the way you accept applications

If you’re not sure of the impact that your application process is having on your business, a thorough review can help identify what you are doing right as well as any potential issues. Ask recent new hires their thoughts about your application.

Also pay attention to the metrics if you collect applications online, noting how many candidates aren’t completing them and, if possible, when they drop out. You can also reach out to some of these candidates who quit filling out the information part-way through and inquire as to what made them stop.

Application improvement options

If you determine that an issue exists, the next step is to modify your process so it is more efficient and, thus, more appealing to job prospects. Possible options to consider include:

  • Shortening your current application. The studies highlighted by SHRM indicate that a shorter application means a greater number of applicants. This provides a larger pool of people to choose from when filling an open position. Look at your current application and get rid of any questions that have minimal impact on your decision to interview. You can always seek more information if you decide to advance the prospect to the next step.
  • Accepting applications via mobile app. Almost everyone nowadays has a cellphone, so allowing job candidates to apply on a mobile app can make it more convenient as they don’t have to wait until they’re at an actual computer. Capterra offers a list of the highest-rated job recruiting software and apps if this is of interest to you.
  • Quick apply by text. Did you know that you can also allow applicants to apply by text message? There are a few online services that offer this option. It generally involves having job seekers send a specific text message to a certain number (such as texting “hire me” to 555-1212), after which they are directed to enter their information and answer a few pre-screening questions. This option allows you to capture data from interested prospects even if they don’t have time to fill out a complete application.

Streamlining and shortening your application process offers a few benefits and is relatively simple to do. Not only will job candidates thank you, but your hiring staff will be happier as well.

Struggling with recruitment still? Download our free recruitment guide with out-of-the-box ideas to help you find the most qualified candidates. 

About the Author

Christina M. DeBusk creates small business content for a variety of publications, some of which include Businessing Magazine, Compendent, Chiropractic Economics, and more. She is also the author behind the column, "The Successful Solopreneur.

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