The Why’s and How’s of Applicant Conversion

The Why’s and How’s of Applicant Conversion

by Angie Rupp

Having a solid understanding of applicant conversion can guarantee HR a seat at the table. Why? Because it’s a simple (and tangible) metric that can easily be transcribed into what matters most to your C-suite – money. Not only that, but applicant conversion provides HR professionals with a benchmark to easily track and measure hiring success.

So what is applicant conversion? At it’s most basic level, applicant conversion is when a job candidate performs an “action” on either your careers site or on one of your job ads. While the specific action that is produced by a candidate and measured for applicant conversion is defined by the HR professional, most employers aim to get a job candidate to actually apply for their job openings as their target metric.

Having a solid understanding of applicant conversion can guarantee HR a seat at the table.

Now that we’ve gotten the why out of the way, let’s take some time to discuss the how’s of applicant conversion.

Compel candidates to apply.

At first glance, this probably seems like a “duh” suggestion from the standpoint of applicant conversion, but you’d be surprised at the challenges this tip poses for our clients. The reason why so many HR professionals run into issues here is that they are naturally very HR minded, and not marketing oriented. Removing the HR hat and stepping into the shoes of your candidate pool can skyrocket your applicant conversion because you’ll start writing job ad content from the lens of your job seekers as opposed to what appeals to you as an employer.

Composing a job ad that is marketing oriented ensures that you’re communicating to your applicants in way that resonates with them on a deeper level and will hopefully compel them to apply to your job opening. The more you can “pitch” them on working at your company, the more likely it is that you’re going to increase your applicant conversion metric.

Optimize your application for mobile.

Nothing will negatively impact applicant conversion like providing an application that is not mobile optimized. The vast majority of job seekers’ job search starts on a mobile device. If your application isn’t optimized for mobile devices, then your applicants are going to get frustrated and quit filling out your application which will cause your applicant conversion to plummet.

Star employees know their worth and they aren’t going to waste their time fussing with an application that doesn’t allow for them to complete certain fields on a mobile device. In addition to hurting your applicant conversion, having an application that is not mobile friendly can harm your employer brand. With our increasing reliance on technology, applicants will likely be put off by an application system that is outdated and that perception could carry over into how “innovative” and “cutting-edge” your company is viewed.

Ditch the long-winded application.

Star employees know their worth.

Your applicant conversion will suffer if you have an application that is too long and requires information that is not applicable to job candidates in the first phase of the hiring process. When was the last time you or another member of your HR team actually completed an application for a job opening you have? Was it frustrating to complete? Did it contain duplicate questions or ask for social security information even though you may not make it into the “final round” for hiring? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you need to rethink your application because it’s likely hurting your applicant conversion. No one wants to spend hours filling in past job information and then be asked to attach a resume, or provide a social security number even though they’re likely going to never hear back from the employer about their status. If your focus is upping your applicant conversion, you’re going to need to spend some time reviewing every step of your hiring process with a fine tooth comb.

Want to know how your applicant conversion measures up against competition? Our experts will give provide you with a free “hiring audit.” Give us a call to learn more.


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