Please raise your right hand if you have ever been frustrated by an online job application. This reaction is more common than you think. Truth be told, many companies do not invest in making the experience a good one for their candidates. And given that the application process is the crux of the online hiring process, it’s a mystery why companies neglect this critical function.
A bad application experience will chase away many candidates. Top candidates expect a certain level of professionalism and broken or confusing online processes can cause candidates to turn to other sources. This can cause long lasting damage to your employer brand and leave a negative impression about your company’s image.
Many common complaints hinge around communication. For 43% of job seekers, being regularly rejected is less frustrating than lack of communication. In addition, many applicants report that they are unlikely to complete an online application if the process is too long or too cumbersome. For companies, it can be hard to recover from this initial bad experience, or even worse, to track applicants who drop out.
Internal to the organization, having a streamlined application process is key. If your application process does not include configurable integration with your backend Applicant Tracking System (ATS), you are wasting time and throwing money away. Your ATS should be updated automatically with the newest applicant data so you can better source your jobs with the right candidates. In addition, open jobs should be automatically synched so applicants can only apply for available jobs.
So what can you do? First, review your application process (even try completing it yourself) to make sure it meets the following criteria. As an industry standard, a great application process is:
- Simple yet collects an appropriate amount of data
- Fully capable on all mobile devices and is seamless to the mobile experience
- Ensuring compliance requirements
- Inclusive of convenient features to help speed up the time of completion (like prepopulating fields with previously collected data or immediate feedback if application is not filled in correctly)
- Automated, as much as possible; manual steps are time consuming, and error prone
- Fast performance and always up (no downtime)
- Comprising of two-way integration with your backend ATS (job and applicant data)
- Able to synch at a frequency (e.g. daily or hourly) that makes sense for how often your job data changes
- Able to upload resumes via popular sources (e.g. Indeed, LinkedIn, and Monster) that are parsed into fields for better searching
- Proactive in allowing candidates to use “self-service” to manage their own account and resume information online
- Inclusive of email notifications to keep candidates in the communication loop and to ensure they do not feel abandoned
Because the experience is so much more than perfunctory, treat this key step as you would any critical step of the hiring process. So much of your image and success depend on it. Yes, that’s the truth… and nothing but the truth.