When you’re hiring for an open position, why does it always seem that the people who you don’t want applying, apply; and the people you do want to apply, don’t?
Your online job application process could be contributing to the problem.
As the economy continues to improve, and talented candidates have more jobs to choose from, “little” things like the way your job ads are written and the design and functionality of your online application matter more than ever.
A frustrating online application process can scare off good talent. If it’s too difficult, good people simply won’t apply. Or worse, they may develop a negative view of your company and share a bad impression with others.
Let’s take a look at some of the reasons your online job post or application may be discouraging candidates from applying.
1. Your job description and application are too long.
Don’t make your candidates read between the lines. Keep your online job description brief and to the point. Put the most essential experience and skill requirements at the top of your list.
In addition, if you want to increase the number of qualified applicants you receive, consider reducing the number of form fields in your online job application.
Don’t ask for more information than is necessary for the first stage of consideration. Keep the application short by requiring name, contact information and resume only.
Asking for too many details, like social security number, date of birth, residence history and information that can be found on applicants’ resumes (e.g., work history and education) may exhaust candidates and cause them to give up halfway through the application.
2. Your job application process is outdated.
You may have noticed there was no mention of a cover letter in the list of what to include on the application. That wasn’t a mistake – cover letters are dead.
If you don’t read them and don’t pass them around the office, don’t ask for them. Writing them can take a considerable amount of time and will definitely deter people from completing your application.
3. You don’t include a WIFM.
Do your job postings and applications tell candidates “what’s in it for me” (WIFM)? If not, they’re definitely not as attractive as they could be.
In the first few sentences of your job descriptions, begin with the reasons why someone would want to work for you (beyond your list of traditional employee benefits). Were you voted a top workplace by a local news outlet? Is there something special about your company culture? Do you have a high percentage of long-tenured employees? Do you have a unique or exciting mission?
Highlight these benefits to increase your appeal to top talent.
4. Your job application process is unfriendly.
Because online job applications are often automated, they can quickly turn frosty, making candidates wonder if a real human even wrote them. Make the experience more personal by including the contact information for the position’s hiring manager.
Also, don’t let candidates think their application fell into a black hole. Be responsive and provide feedback throughout the hiring process. Job seekers expect you to inform them about their application status. Make sure it’s in a timely manner, too – within 24 to 48 hours of receiving an application.
5. Applicants experience tech troubles.
Have you ever abandoned a full cart while shopping online because you ran into technical difficulties during the checkout process? Did the store seem more or less credible to you after the tech problems?
The same thing can happen with an online job application. You lose credibility and qualified applicants when your online application presents candidates with tech hurdles.
Check to be sure the resume upload feature isn’t too slow or onerous. Make certain that candidates can follow up online to check their application status. And consider taking steps to make the process go more smoothly for candidates who choose to fill out your application on mobile devices. Invest in a more reliable applicant tracking system, if needed.
All things considered, even if you come from the school of thought that says talented, earnest candidates will persevere even when faced with a less-than-perfect online job application process, it’s better for you not to overcomplicate it.
You will likely lose qualified applicants if you’re guilty of any of the job application process mistakes above.
From posting a job opening to onboarding new hires, talent acquisition can be tricky. Not sure if your company is following best practices?
Get your free guide, Talent Acquisition: 13 Secrets to Recruiting and Retaining Top Talent, to learn how to avoid making common mistakes that scare off talented candidates.