With so many industries struggling to hire high-volume, seasonal and hourly employees, every Recruitment Marketing and talent acquisition practitioner should take a serious look at the recruitment stages and apply process that candidates go through. Iterating on and testing every step of your candidate experience can increase your success in engaging talent to apply and stick with you through to hire and onboarding.
These stages and the entire candidate journey, from curiosity about a company to receiving a job offer, has a huge impact on a candidate, their commitment to the company and their success as an employee.
The key to improving your high-volume apply process is to make it easy and efficient. We’ve zeroed in on 3 important questions to consider:
- What information is required for an application?
- How long does the entire apply process take?
- What technology are you using to create efficiencies for both candidates and your team?
To dig deeper into these questions and how they can improve the lead journey, we tapped into Casey Miller, Director of People & Talent at Apex Service Partners, about how she improved her high-volume apply process and the impact these changes have made on her hiring success.
Rally note: To get more ideas for improving your Recruitment Marketing and talent acquisition strategies, download our ideabook: 9 Ways to Build Back Recruitment for the Better.
Meet the Expert
Casey Miller, Director of People & Talent, Apex Service Partners
Casey Miller is an experienced people leader focused on constructing strategic human capital management programs. She maximizes talent acquisition success through targeted attraction, prudent evaluation and effective onboarding. As Director of People & Talent at Apex Service Partners, Casey works with trades-based companies to build out their talent acquisition teams and hire for technician, administration and leadership positions.
There’s a shortage of skilled trade professionals, says Casey, which is the constant struggle in her recruitment work at Apex Service Partners. And with some business demands being seasonal, her team is also faced with periods of high-volume recruiting where it can be difficult to keep up with the headcount needs. That means Casey and her team needed to change up their recruitment process to shorten lead journeys while faced with a surge in recruitment demands.
The pandemic changed the world of work, and especially forced recruiters to think outside the box in terms of how they’ll reach and build relationships with candidates.
Casey and her team held a drive-through job fair, following social distancing restrictions, where candidates stayed in their cars and everyone wore masks. Recruiters met with candidates and even conducted interviews on the spot. In one drive-through event, they spoke to 70 skilled trade technicians and hired 30!
Even with the constraints of the pandemic, making an effort to get creative with and strengthening their recruitment processes to build relationships with candidates and improve application rates resulted in many successful hires at Apex Service Partners.
Casey and her team re-evaluated their entire lead and candidate journey to shorten time and improve efficiencies by:
- Removing barriers slowing down the application process
- Setting goals for application time and continually testing it
- Investing in a CRM to streamline their process
Here’s how Casey and her team approached each step to get results:
1. Removing barriers that slowed down the application process
Firstly, Casey evaluated their application process to find the lowest barrier of entry for candidates. She wanted to identify the most important information they need from candidates, and what they can let go or add to a later stage of the recruitment process that may have been slowing down the process or increasing application drop off rates.
Here are the questions Casey went through with her team and suggests asking yourself as you evaluate your own high-volume application process:
- Do you really need a resume at the application stage?
- Can you start with a basic intake/contact form, or do you need a full application right away?
- Do you need screening questions?
- What are the 1-3 very most essential qualifiers? For example, require driver’s license information, but skip educational requirements.
- Can you create an attraction message that serves a broad audience vs. a specific targeted role? (Then once people are in a funnel, you can begin catering your communication to their specific interest or function.)
Make the process as easy and efficient as possible for candidates. Casey says it’s important to remember you’re not trying to get a lead to say yes to a job the first time they see your brand at their first touchpoint — you just want them to say yes to learn more.
2. Setting goals for application time and keep testing it
Rather than aiming to have the most information possible about a candidate at the apply stage, think about your recruiting process in terms of creating the least amount of steps before recruiter contact. Put yourself in the candidate’s shoes and test applying for a job on your site through desktop and mobile. Casey asks, how many “thumb scrolls” does it take to get to your apply button? She says if it takes 3 or more before you get to your call to action, you’ll have candidates drop off.
Casey says you will have leakage at every stage of your pipeline funnel, but it’s important to continue evaluating how to shorten candidate application time, set a goal and then experiment and test it.
3. Investing in a CRM to streamline your process
At Apex Service Partners, they were initially using excel spreadsheets to track applicants, and with the volume of roles they were hiring for, they were in clear need of an upgrade. Casey started by doing research through talking to others in the Recruitment Marketing community and seeing what tool best served their business needs and would streamline their processes.
Casey began working with GR8 People, and found they were flexible, relationship-oriented and approached client services as a partnership. They were also open to customizing their recruiting solutions and working with Apex Service Partners as a small company (30 employees, supporting 2,000 technicians).
Using GR8 People has allowed Casey and her team to automate communications with candidates, ask basic screening questions, and get them to a spot where they understand what roles candidates are interested in and qualified for, to grow their talent pool. The system has also helped them upgrade their analytics tracking and searchability. For example, Casey says if she’s looking for electricians in a certain region, she can go back to the database and see who’s in active status that they can re-engage.
Adding GR8 People to their recruitment tech stack has streamlined their recruitment process, upgraded their analytics capability and saved Casey’s recruiting team a lot of time — but she emphasized it’s important to first do your research, determine your challenges and needs to find a technology that works for you.
After evaluating the candidate experience to remove barriers and investing in technology to streamline the recruiting process at Apex Service Partners, the focus moved from the lead stage to the engagement stage with candidates.
They have seen an increase in traffic to their careers website, and through new analytics can track the number of minutes it takes to apply for a job, which has decreased since focusing on the lowest barrier to entry for candidates.
They also saw a huge increase in lead volume. After the first 60 days using GR8 People to better track and engage candidates, they saw a 70% uptick in the number of leads coming in.
Casey’s main advice from her experience and success in shortening their high-volume apply process is to keep it simple and remember to take a step back and look at everything you do through the candidate’s perspective.
For more information about the current state of high-volume hiring and for ideas on how to improve your recruitment advertising strategy in this area, check out our recent webinar, Effective High-Volume Hiring During a Labor Shortage.