Human Resources Blog - Spark Hire

5 Ways to Improve Your Application Process and Boost Candidate Conversion

Do you think you’ve already converted a job applicant the moment that they hit “Apply Now”? According to Symphony Talent, approximately 74% of job candidates drop out of the application process before hitting “Submit”. 

That’s a significant amount of lost talent. You might be wondering, what’s making candidates drop out of the job application process if they were interested in the first place? The short answer: not all candidates are looking with the same urgency.

The long answer considers a few more factors like how badly they need a new job and what it’s like to apply for one. It’s not uncommon for employees to find themselves searching a job board during a particularly bad day at work or wanting to secure new employment before leaving their current position. In fact, 8 out of 10 employees say that they are “likely or very likely” to start job-searching after one bad day at work. But since they have an existing job to fall back on, they’re not as likely to undertake a tedious and frustrating job application process. 

Don’t let your job application process scare top talent away. Below are five ways that you can improve your application process and boost your candidate conversion.

Keep Your Process Short

 A seemingly never-ending process is one of the most common reasons why job seekers abandon their online applications. According to Appcast, today’s job candidates are approximately 365% more likely to drop out of an application process if it takes more than 15 minutes to complete. 

To simplify your application process, evaluate each question and determine:

  1. Is the question necessary?
  2. Can the question be asked later in the screening process?

For questions that are necessary, consider making them as concise as possible. Questions that are lengthy to read will only add time to the process and drive candidates away. Additionally, consider opting for a multiple-choice format over a short answer format. This will also cut a significant amount of time. 

Job seekers prefer application processes that take just a few minutes to complete – ideally, five minutes or less. Invite a few friends from your professional network to complete your company’s application process – this will give you an estimate of how long it takes candidates to apply to your jobs.

Make it Mobile Optimized

According to Glassdoor, 90% of job seekers apply to applications on their mobile device. Many job seekers look at postings when they are out and about. They might be browsing while on the subway, scrolling while waiting for an appointment, or applying to jobs as they are in line for a cup of coffee. These individuals want to finish the application process on their current device – they don’t want to complete their application on a desktop sometime in the future.

Ensure that your application experience is properly optimized for a range of devices. Consider testing the application experience across all mobile devices, tablets, laptops, and desktop computers. It is always a best practice to condense the number of actions within the process and ensure that the text is legible. Additionally, allow applicants to upload their resumes directly from Google Drive, Dropbox, and LinkedIn. Give them many upload options so they can remain on their current device. 

Compare with Competitors

Who are some of your biggest hiring competitors? Consider going through their application process on mobile and desktop to see how your organization compares. Make sure to note the elements of their process that might be better than yours. Once complete, analyze your findings and determine the components of their approach that your company can adopt or improve upon. 

Having the best application process in your field has substantial benefits. If job seekers abandon other applications because they are frustrating or time-consuming, there is a chance that you’ll attract that talent instead. 

Make it User-Friendly

There are endless ways that you can make your job application process an easier one. In general, consider addressing features that would make any online form more user friendly or easier to complete. Some questions you might want to consider include:

  • Is it simple to upload documents? 
  • Is there a bar that measures your progress during an application?
  • Are there few steps in the process?
  • Can you save your application mid-way and finish it later?
  • Can candidates complete the process without creating an account?

If you’ve answered “no” to any of these questions, then your application process likely has room for improvement. Consider taking some time to address those pain points and improve your candidate experience. If your current applicant tracking system (ATS) doesn’t permit those changes, then consider switching systems or investing in an Employee Experience Platform (EXP) to improve usability.

Ensure it Aligns with Your Brand

Many organizations expect candidates to learn about their brand through their career site – the beautiful resources that they’ve invested tons of time and money towards. Unfortunately, more and more candidates are bypassing companies’ career sites. In fact, TalentBoard reports that only 15% of candidates actually visit career sites. Instead, they are jumping into the application processes directly from job boards and aggregators.

With these applicant tracking systems being the first and only point of contact for most job seekers, they play a huge role in shaping brand perceptions. Ensure that your application process matches your company’s brand – it should have your brand colours, logo, and be similar in look and feel to your company’s site. 

If your application process is dated or cumbersome to use, then this might turn candidates away. Don’t neglect your applicant tracking system – be sure to accurately convey your organization’s brand in all aspects of your company operations.

Final Thoughts

Improving your application process is certainly a large undertaking, but it is well-worth the upfront investment of time. An efficient, mobile-optimized, and fully branded application experience will reduce applicant drop-off and ensure that candidates make it to the “Submit” button. 

With an increased number of candidates entering your pipeline, you’ll be able to save your talent acquisition team time and reduce your recruitment marketing spend. Your company will be able to fill roles with better talent and scale much quicker. 

Author Bio

Megan Doleweerd is a Marketing Coordinator at InFlight. InFlight is an Employee Experience Platform (EXP) that optimizes existing software investments to resolve bottlenecks that result from overly complicated applications creating friction for candidates and employees. InFlight uses analytics to improve the user experience, reduce training and support requirements, and streamline workflows for existing HCM, ATS, Financials, and other applications. 

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