Sixty percent of job seekers quit filling out job applications in the middle of the process. That’s a lot of drop-outs. But is that a good or bad thing?
One school of thought says you’re actually weeding out the bad applicants. Another says job applications rates are one of your most important HR metrics. Is either right?
The Psychology of Job Applicants
When a potential job applicant sees an opening and begins the process of filling out an application, they’re not necessarily committed to completing it. They have a lot of unanswered questions about the position and the company, and they might be in the early stages of researching a career move.
Whether or not they complete the job application can depend on a) how badly they want the job, b) how likely they think they are to get it, c) how much time they have and d) how difficult they think the application will be to fill out.
If we look at each of those items independently, we can start to see what kind of applicant might complete a lengthy application, and what kind might not
Are Desperate Job Applicants the Best Applicants?
You want a hungry applicant, right? Maybe. While a sense of urgency and follow-through might be strong qualities to have in an employee, it could also mean an applicant with a low skill set and mitigating factors that have left them unemployed for a long period of time. A difficult-to-fill-out application can weed out passive applicants who already have jobs, have a strong skill set, and who are casually looking for a change. That’s not a good thing.
Don’t Let the Job Candidates Make the Selection for You
Why not let candidates self-select? If a candidate thinks they’re a good fit for the job, and is therefore willing to fill out a lengthy application, wouldn’t you rather have them complete the application than the candidate that doesn’t? Again, maybe. The problem is, maybe that certification you’ve listed isn’t that important, especially if the candidate is a certified genius.
If a candidate doesn’t have time to fill out your application, then they’re going to be too busy to concentrate on their job, right? This isn’t necessarily an accurate assumption either. On-the-go people might be the very people you want in the position, especially if you’re looking for an outgoing sales rep or a high-level executive.
Meet Jill, the Employee That Didn’t Complete your Job Application
So let’s put these factors together and compare a fast application process versus a slower application process.
Let’s look at Jill, a sales representative who has been rapidly increasing sales at her current job, but was passed up for a promotion. She’s been discussing it with a friend at a café. Her friend goes up to the counter to purchase a latte. While Jill is waiting, she casually pulls up Indeed, and stumbles upon your job posting. It’s a perfect match for her job skills.
In Case A, there’s a social apply option, so that Jill can apply for your job in 5 minutes with her LinkedIn profile before her friend returns with her latte. She applies.
In Case B, Jill clicks on the apply button and sees a page that makes her fill in data manually. She doesn’t apply.
Bad Job Applications are Bad Karma
According to a recent recruiting trends report, the information candidates most want to know about a company when considering a potential employer are its culture and values.
Don’t make a bad first impression by asking job candidates for more information than you need up-front, or, worse yet, forcing them to double-enter data. When job candidates feel like their time isn’t being valued, they may assume you won’t value their time while they are employed as well.
Smart Applicants Want Smart Applications
Savvy, in-the-know job applicants generally want to see that your company is also savvy and in-the-know. If your job applications look like a throw-back from 1997, it may imply your company is also behind the times.
If you’re looking for engineers or professionals that understand the current market and user-experience, you’ll want to demonstrate that your company is also current.
How to Increase Your Job Application Completion Rate
It’s a simple equation. The faster an applicant can fill out a job application, the more likely it is that they’ll do so: a five-minute application gets a higher completion rate than an hour-long one.
Most large and mid-sized companies use an application tracking system (ATS) to assist with creating, tracking, and submitting easy-to-fill job applications to career websites or online job boards. myStaffingPro is a premier ATS for HR professionals. Recruit candidates, seamlessly flow applicants through interviews, offers, background checks, and onboarding with our trusted software solution.