Did you know that if your job application process takes more than 15 minutes to complete, candidates are 365% more likely to drop off before clicking submit? (Appcast)
In some industries, this statistic may come as a surprise; but to my colleagues and I who are recruiting in the healthcare space, this definitely wasn’t a shocking number to hear.
The personal support workers, nurses and other healthcare professionals we are looking to attract are in high demand. They are already employed and are busy working long shifts. They don’t have the time or patience to deal with a frustrating job application process. Who does?
My team at Bayshore knew that we could convert more candidates into applicants by improving our apply flow. We’d received enough feedback from applicants and our recruiting team to know it was time to make some changes.
So, over the last year, we focused our efforts on improving our application experience — and have seen a significant improvement in our applicant volume as a result! Here are some tips we learned along the way and some of the results we’ve seen, to help you upgrade your apply experience too.
3 concrete ways to improve your job application process
1. Eliminate unnecessary fields and questions to shorten your apply process
As mentioned at the start of this blog post, a lengthy apply process is the number one factor that is going to drive candidates away.
To reduce time and help streamline your application process, consider: Do you really need to ask all of these questions at this stage of your hiring process? Chances are, some of the questions can wait. Align with your team on what information really needs to be collected during the initial application stage, and remind them that the more questions you ask, the fewer applicants you’ll get.
You might consider creating a “fast apply” stream where candidates only need to enter their name, contact info and resume — then a member of your recruiting team can follow up later for additional details as required or you can automate a message that encourages candidates to send over any final qualifying details required.
Another way to reduce the length is to get rid of the outdated account registration or sign-in requirement. Many applicant tracking systems (ATS) make this mandatory, but if you can find a way to remove it then you’re cutting down on a ton of time up front, not to mention removing a step that confuses many candidates.
We learned this lesson the hard way. Our team was losing out on many candidates who weren’t willing to take the time to create an account and go through our 15-30 minute job application process. We’ve now streamlined this process down to only 4 minutes and increased our applicant rate by 175%!
You can see below how our new shorter job application process has fewer fields of required information and is far less overwhelming and time consuming, plus it’s now designed for mobile apply:
2. Improve job search on mobile to boost conversion
Because our healthcare candidates are so busy, their only window to apply is often when they’re on the go. Even if your candidates aren’t in healthcare, a good mobile experience has become essential across the board because people are accustomed to doing everything from their mobile devices now.
One way to increase mobile conversions is to make sure your jobs are easy to sort through and learn about. Working with the team from InFlight, our employee experience platform (EXP), we were able to improve the apply process so that searching through our available positions was much more streamlined on mobile, as you can see in the below screenshots:
Previously the job search stage of our application experience was pretty painful to sort through on a smartphone. Now candidates are greeted with a clean user interface that they can use to quickly filter jobs by category, keyword or location to find the best-fit position.
From there, we also added a “fast apply” button to all of our mobile roles so candidates can click through from the job description and immediately launch into our new, faster apply flow.
3. Infuse your employer brand throughout your apply process
Employer brands are only effective if they’re communicated consistently across every touchpoint a candidate encounters. However, for many organizations, the employer brand stops when candidates start the job application process.
Consider what this experience feels like for candidates:
They’re looking at Glassdoor and Indeed, they’re browsing your employer profile on LinkedIn, they’re exploring your careers site and social channels… across all of these touchpoints in their candidate journey they’re receiving consistent employer branding messages. However, as soon as they hit “apply” this experience stops. Suddenly, they’re looking at a plain page with a “wall of text” that feels like it belongs in a 1990s website.
Plus, for many candidates, your job descriptions and application experience might be their first introduction to your brand! Many candidates will arrive on your job description or application process directly from a job site. Consider these four things your job descriptions need to do in order to enhance your efforts and make a positive introduction to your candidates.
If this is their first time interacting with your organization, an unbranded application experience is not setting the stage for candidates to feel strongly about your company as an employer. It’s actually setting the stage for them to be more likely to head out and apply somewhere that feels a little more exciting.
To fix this, consider ways that you can infuse your employer brand look and feel across the job application experience. Consider, for instance, how you might communicate your key messages or embed content into the apply experience to get candidates excited about your workplace — and more likely to finish their application.
Below is an example of how our team ditched the “wall of text” style job description in favor of a more branded experience. We added our brand colors, fonts and imagery to make the experience more appealing and aligned with our mission, vision and values, and the other touchpoints of our candidate journey.
By making our job application process more mobile friendly, reducing the time it takes to complete an application (from 30 minutes to 4 minutes!) and branding our apply flow, we observed some considerable improvements.
The most noticeable success metric we’ve observed is a big boost in our applicant volume. Our applicant numbers increased by 175% (from 8,000 to 22,000 applicants) over the same time frame year over year!
By improving the appearance and simplicity of your apply process to align with modern candidate expectations, you can see big changes in your top of funnel recruiting metrics too.
I hope these tips prove helpful as you continue to move the candidate experience forward at your organization. Good luck!
If you’d like to see more ways to streamline your apply process, watch the webinar replay and access the speaker slides from the Rally Webinar: 4 Candidate Experience Mistakes You Absolutely Can Fix! It features speakers from Corteva Agriscience and Cox Communications, who share the mistakes their old careers sites were making, how they prioritized improvements, and the content, design and tech that helped them turn things around.