Lengthy Initial Applications are Hurting Your Candidate Pool
by Angie Rupp
Your first step as an HR professional is to reel in your applicants and compel them to apply with stellar job ads, but even the best job ads can’t force a job seeker to apply if your initial applications are overwhelming. For most HR professionals, the initial applications for their openings are not even an after-thought, they’re a “never-thought.” Initial applications aren’t purposely overlooked of course, it’s just that HR probably doesn’t think to review their application process because they haven’t considered that they’re creating an “applicant experience” for their candidates.
There was an old adage that only applicants who survive the most daunting application process are “worthy” and dedicated enough to become a future employee. This perception is not only outdated, it’s just plain wrong. In fact, most quality candidates are quality because they’re aware of their worth and they know they have a lot to offer, so they won’t want to waste their time jumping through a million hoops if those hoops defy logical explanation. Including hundreds of questions in your initial applications that aren’t relevant to the jobs your applicants will be performing doesn’t make sense. In fact, it will probably lead to a handful of unqualified and desperate job seekers in your pool.
Our platform is data driven, so we take the hints that data provide very seriously.
Here are a few points to consider when you’re overhauling your initial applications:
Identify the holes in your initial applications.
Our platform is data driven, so we take the hints that data provide very seriously. If you follow the path of your job seekers through your hiring process, you’ll realize that initial applications are where you’ll see the most fallout, and for good reason. Most HR professionals put applicants through the ringer and as I mentioned earlier, know that their time could be better spent applying for a positions (probably with competitors) that offer more succinct initial applications.
If you have an ATS that offers in-depth metrics, you’ll be able to identify exactly where applicants drop off in your initial applications. Do they feel uncomfortable with your asking personal information on initial applications because it’s likely that you won’t reach out to them for an interview? Identifying the holes in your initial applications can help you create an applicant experience that makes an applicant feel appreciated and valued. If they can sense that you value their time in initial applications, that will make them feel more confident that you’ll take the time to meet their needs after they’re employed as well.
Employment history doesn’t belong on initial applications.
Including employment history on your initial applications doesn’t make sense and is completely redundant if you also ask job seekers to include their resume. It holds one of the highest points wherein candidates abandon the application. Have you seen the meme that reads: “Upload your resume, now painstakingly fill out this form that includes the same information?” Really, that says it all.
Ditch the long-winded initial applications altogether.
Despite some resistance from clients regarding overhauling their outdated hiring processes, we’ve found that opting for a two-step application helps eliminate the majority of the woes associated with initial applications. I realize that this seems like a big change (one that many HR professionals need to process), but you can’t argue with data and our data shows a marked improvement in applicants’ willingness to stick around and move onto step two if they “qualify.”
The idea behind this is actually pretty simple and most companies use an initial form to get to know, or to connect with a potential customer. It’s also really popular on dating websites wherein a member will be asked a heap of personal questions. The platform eases them into the process, and it also provides someone with the option of setting up an “account,” so they can pick up where they left off whether in the initial applications period or further on. For more information regarding the benefits, check out this post.
Wanting to overhaul your initial applications, but don’t where to begin? Our hiring experts can help! Give us a call to get started, today.
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