Does Your Job Application Have Abandonment Issues?

What if you knew that within the first hour of posting a job application, ten candidates started filling the application out? Pretty good, right? But what if we told you that six of those candidates QUIT filling out the application halfway through?

Recent statistics suggest that this is what’s happening: as many as 60% of applicants quit filling out an online job application right around the mid-point. If the number sounds high to you, many hiring experts suggest that the actual rate may be even higher. And their reasoning is simple: candidates often get turned off when a job application is either too long or too complex.

Doesn’t a long job application “weed out” weaker candidates?

Once upon a time, hiring professionals believed that a longer job application was better. As they saw it, the long job application helped screen candidates who were either less qualified, less motivated, or both. Even today, some recruiters and hiring managers still trust this model. But for job seekers, the opposite is often true.

When an online job application is too long or too complex, employers may lose out on job candidates from across the talent pool.

Today’s job seekers are well-aware of how valuable their time is. In an online environment, they expect job applications to keep up with the medium itself.

  • They want to be able to complete job applications in real-time, rather than having to save and return to them later.
  • They want online applications to function in a web-friendly way, from how it looks on screen, to how it works across devices (laptops, tablets and phones).
  • They don’t want to deal with redundancies like multiple log-ins, keying or pasting information from their resume into the application, or answering similar sounding questions as they scroll from page to page.

 

Previously we’ve written about the importance of testing your own job application. It’s a great way for you to determine if you’re asking the questions needed to find the best candidates for the job.

Here are additional questions to ask yourself when you’re creating or revising a job application. When you avoid these red flags, you can help keep candidates engaged with the job application process from start to finish—and may lower your bounce rate accordingly.

  1. How many questions does your job application ask? The recruitment company Appcast found job applications of 25 or fewer questions have twice the completion rate than applications with 50 or more questions. If the goal is to encourage candidates to complete your online job application, fewer questions is often better.

 

  1. Is your application redundant in any way? Ensure the application doesn’t ask unnecessary questions that will solicit similar answers.

 

  1. Is your job application smartphone-ready? Across all demographics, smartphones are becoming more ingrained in our lives by the day. When your job application is smartphone-friendly, you may reach a wider range of job applicants and allow them the ability to fill out your application at a time that’s right for them—whether they’re taking public transportation between job interviews, sitting in a café, or are in the lobby of a movie theater during the coming attractions. Don’t believe us? As one study puts it, mobile recruiting is becoming the “new normal.” And this starts with the job application.

 

As you continue to refine your job application, remember the ripple effect it sends across your entire organization. As we pointed out in a previous post, it takes an average of 52 days to fill an open position. This gap in your org chart may put serious strain on existing employees and the company’s bottom line.

One way to begin bringing this number down is to increase the number of qualified applicants who finish your job application.


Ready to automate your application process?

myStaffingPro’s application tracking software gives you tools to create powerful, easy-to-fill job applications. Candidates can pre-populate fields via social apply or resume parsing, cutting their application time and increasing your application completion rate. On-the-go candidates can even fill out applications via mobile devices.

Our support and integration teams are based in the U.S., and will configure your software to fit your unique process and needs. Our solution even includes candidate support, so applicants with technical questions can contact us with software issues—instead of their potential employer.

 

Contact a Staffing Pro Today

 

The Art of the Auto-Reply: Responding to Job Applicants

 

If you read our earlier “Test Your Own Job Application” article, then you know that the last step of the test involves the auto-reply message. To some, the auto-reply is a small formality. Not to us. Let’s go deeper into the auto-reply to review ways to connect with applicants.

Yes, your auto-reply message to a job applicant matters—maybe even more than you think.

Consider the applicant’s point-of-view for a moment. If they’ve applied for a job via your automated system, they’ve probably spent some time on your website, got to know the facts about your company, and perhaps even started following your company on social media. They’ve decided that things look and sound like a good fit for their next career move.

Most likely, up until the moment they click “send” on their job application, it’s been a one-way relationship. The auto-reply will be the first time the job seeker has received anything from your company back to them.

Sure, a generic auto-reply is acceptable, but you can also use it as a way to differentiate your company. According to a recent report on HR recruiting trends, company culture is the #1 thing candidates wish they knew about your organization before they accept a job offer.  Why not use this opportunity to make a great first impression?

The auto-reply tells job applicants that there’s a human on the other end of the process.

Whether you’re reviewing an existing auto-reply, or creating a new one, now is a good time to consider your language and tone. If your marketing department has developed brand guidelines, by all means consult them before writing your auto-reply. If you have a copywriter in your organization, reach out and have them assist in the development of your auto-reply content.

Short of that, there are a few ways you can keep the tone both personable and professional.

  • Opt for an active sentence structure, rather than passive. (Active: “We have forwarded your email…” Passive: “Your email has been forwarded…”) The active voice is warmer, and has a little more personality.
  • Keep sentences short and conversational. For example: “A member of our HR department will be in touch,” as opposed to, “Shortly each applicant will be receiving an email reply from a member of human resources division.”
  • Provide some general information about what happens next in the process. Job applicants will appreciate having a sense of next steps. An example may read like this: “Expect to hear from us within the next two weeks. We will provide you with an update of your application status at that time.” And if you go this route, remember that white space is your friend. Compose your note as a series of stand-alone sentences, rather than a blocky paragraph. Your readers will appreciate the chance to scan.

Here are a few other ways you can make sure your auto-reply to job applicants is working for them and for your company.

  1. Personalize the message as much as possible. Depending on your email configuration, and how your auto-reply is synched up with the job application, you may be able to personalize your auto-reply by including the candidate’s name, and the job title they’ve applied for in your reply message.
  2. Include ways for applicants to find out more about your brand. Not all of your job applicants will have started following your company’s social media feed, signed up for your e-newsletter, or read the last blog post. The auto-reply is a great way to invite them to do so. Include social icons, links to your website, or e-newsletter buttons in order to deepen a potential employee’s connection with your company.
  3. Add a small degree of professional networking. Include links to other job posts, and provide them with a way to forward posts to friends or colleagues who might be interested.

 More than anything, remember that the person on the receiving end is connecting with your company—quite possibly for the first time. While an auto-reply is automated, it’s still a chance to show that your company is human.

Test Your Own Job Application: And See Things Like a Job Applicant

Almost everyone, at some point, has filled out a job application. Maybe it was for a summer job, or a retail position—or perhaps your current role started when you completed an application through an automated hiring system.

Filling out a job application typically isn’t a memorable experience.

The act of filling out a job application suggests that an applicant is looking for a change, or a new start. Maybe they’ve been in the job market longer than they’d hoped. They might be dealing with stress or anxiety. They also might be very excited to be applying to what sounds like their “dream job.” Whatever the case, it’s important to consider an applicant’s point-of-view when creating a job application process.

Getting beyond the application itself, remember that this could be their first interaction with your company. Even if they don’t apply now, you still want to create a connection.

Our point: keep sight of the applicant’s experience. One of the easiest ways to do so is to fill out your own job application.

When you fill out your own job application, you gain and entirely new view into the experience.

No matter the industry or career, job applications should gather information required to determine if the applicant is qualified for the position. A best practice is to review your application with legal counsel to ensure you are not asking questions prohibited by local, state or federal law. With that said, you can still tailor your application and process in ways that improve the experience for job applicants.

If you’re using an automated hiring system, here are some steps to help you test your job application process:

  1. First, set up a personal email account, or create a new one if you don’t want to use an existing one.
  2. Apply for one of the jobs that’s listed on your company’s automated hiring system.
  3. As you apply, take notes, and consider a wide range of questions.
    1. Are you asking the right questions to get the information you need? Will an applicant’s answers help you decide whether or not to take them to the next step in the process? Can they communicate their talents, and explain how they’ll fulfill the demands of the position?
    2. Can you automate the process? For instance, can your system automatically pull data from sites such as LinkedIn, or from an applicant’s resume or online portfolio? If so, does your system format their information in a professional way? Or does it take an applicant even more time to re-format the info? In addition, are applicants able to upload or write a cover letter that explains their interests in your job, and why they’re a good fit?
    3. What does the application say about your company or your department? Does it “look” and “feel” like your company and brand? Is your company’s logo on the application? Have you included your colors and fonts? Does the application reflect your marketing?
    4. Finally, how long does it take to complete the application? Studies show that longer applications lead to lower completion rates. You want your applicants to feel like filling out your job application is a good use of their time.

Once you’ve completed the job application, the testing process continues.

After you click “send,” it’s time to test the auto-responder:

  1. Do you receive an auto-reply message right away? Do you even get one?
  2. How does the auto-reply message read? Is it too formal? Not formal enough? Does it match the tone and voice of your brand? (Keep an eye out for our upcoming “Art of the Autoreply” post, which will dig deeper into the auto-response message.)

While there’s no one-size-fits-all template for the “perfect application,” here are three tips to consider as you reevaluate your own job applications:

  1. Ask questions that fit the job, and build the application accordingly. In some fields, professional experience is the most important factor; in others, education or required licenses matters more. The right mix, depending on the job, will help your applicants provide the information you need.
  1. Strike a balance. You want job applicants to feel that your company respects their time. Create questions that flow into one another, and use multiple choice questions, as well as “click all that apply” options where you can. Remember: a job application that takes a few minutes to fill out will drive a higher completion rate than one that takes an hour!
  1. Be consistent in your style. The tone should fit the voice of your company and brand, and reflect the atmosphere of the department that’s hiring. Along these same lines, consider ways to improve the interface so the process is as user-friendly as possible. An interface that is easy to use—and reflects the company’s personality—will help job applicants move through the application quicker.

Ready to automate your application process?

myStaffingPro’s application tracking software gives you all the tools to create powerful, easy-to-fill job applications. Candidates can pre-populate fields via social apply or resume parsing, cutting their application time and increasing your application completion rate. On-the-go candidates can even fill out applications via mobile devices.

Our support and integration teams are based in the U.S., and will configure your software to fit your unique process and needs. Our solution even includes candidate support, so applicants with technical questions can contact us with software issues—instead of their potential employer.

Contact a Staffing Pro Today

Should Businesses Be Worried About Their Job Application Completion Rates?

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.

Contact myStaffingPro Today

7 Tips for Writing a Job Posting Like a Pro

7 Tips for Writing a Job Posting Like a Pro

 

1. Be Accurate First. Market Second.

Writing a great job posting is a far more complicated task than most people think.  A strong job posting is first and foremost accurate.  If your job posting is accurate, your future employee will know what’s expected of them before they’re even hired—laying the groundwork for success.  Meanwhile, an inaccurate job posting can lead to a poor applicant pool, and misunderstandings.

Job postings can be both a recruiting tool and an advertisement for your company. Once you’re sure you have all the facts correct, discuss with your marketing team whether the job posting is on-brand.  Most companies have brand guidelines that define their company’s voice and culture.  There’s no need to go overboard, but adjusting a job posting to fit your company’s style will help increase the likelihood that your new employee is the right fit.

2. Make Sure the Job Posting You Write Has All the Parts

A job posting need not account for every task that an employee might ever do.  On the other hand, it should absolutely list the basics, like:

  • Job Title
  • Type of Employment (Full-time, Part-Time, or Temporary)
  • Expected Hours or Shifts
  • Likelihood of Overtime or Weekend Work
  • List of General Responsibilities
  • Requirements and/or Preferences in:
    • Education
    • Experience
    • Technical Skills

3. Don’t Be Coy about Salary in your Job Posting

Many employers choose not to list a salary range when they write their job postings.  This makes sense if the salary of the job you are offering has considerable variance.  For example, if you’re not sure whether you want to hire someone junior-level with less experience and train them, or whether you’d like to hire someone more senior level who can hit the ground running—you might set a salary range to Depends on Experience (DOE) in order to capture both types of candidates.

Not setting a range for the sole purpose of trying to minimize salary, though, may not be the best strategy.  Savvy, busy professionals may not have the patience to submit an application without knowing whether the salary meets their expectations; and less qualified candidates might take the lack of a salary range as an indication that they can get in the door by keeping their demands low.

If you have a budget and know what level of experience you’re looking for, setting a salary (or  salary range) at the low end of your scale will help ensure a stronger—and more refined— applicant pool, while leaving room for negotiation if the applicant you want requests more.

4. Research Job Titles and Get Them Right

Job titles matter.  A writer is different from a content manager.  A director is different from a manager.   A CEO is different from an owner.  Because job boards like Indeed, or Glassdoor are so crowded with job postings, job seekers are quickly searching on the titles they think they fit, and ignoring other jobs that they might also qualify for.  Consider who you’re trying to hire, and what job title they might be searching on.  Consider less sophisticated titles for junior positions, and more sophisticated ones for senior ones.

5. Don’t Overdo It

While it’s important when writing a job posting to list the tasks and responsibilities that will take up the majority of an employees’ time, this can be done in a general way.  The digital format allows for longer job postings, but consider keeping them short and sweet so a potential candidate doesn’t pass them over.  Think of ways to shorten your posting.  For example, instead of writing, “posts status updates to Facebook, creates tweets for Twitter, and produces articles for LinkedIn,” you might simply say, “manages social media channels.”

6. Don’t Be Afraid to Change Your Job Posting

One of the advantages of digital communication is that it’s easy to edit.  If your needs change, or if you’re not pulling in enough (or the wrong kind of) applicants, don’t hesitate to edit or rewrite your posting.  Because search tools are so sophisticated, a simple word change can alter the number and types of applicants that your job posting draws in.

7. Broadcast Your Job Description Everywhere

The task of writing a strong job posting doesn’t stop when you save it to your hard drive.  Writing also means promoting.  Savvy recruiters post the job on dozens of job boards, and then promote those postings across their company’s social media channels.

If you’re a busy recruiter, you know how time-consuming the writing and promotion of a job can be.  That’s why HR professionals are turning more and more frequently to recruitment software to automate the promotion of their job openings across job boards and social media.


Ready to Automate your Job Recruitment Process?

Your applicant tracking system (ATS) may be the first thing a potential employee sees from your company.  Leave a professional impression with myStaffingPro, the premier ATS for HR professionals. Recruit candidates, seamlessly flow applicants through interviews, offers, background checks, and onboarding with our trusted software solution.

Contact myStaffingPro Today

Applicant-Tracking – What Matters Most?

Applicant Tracking What Matters MostIn the world of applicant tracking, what matters most? The answer to that question is simple – flexibility!

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Fast and Flexible Deployment: The Right On-Demand Solution

Fast and Flexible Deployment: The Right On-Demand SolutionYour HR team’s work is essential – unfortunately, many of the processes that your HR team oversees are administratively intensive.

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Streamline Your Recruiting, Tracking, and Qualifying Process

Streamline Your Recruiting, Tracking, and Qualifying ProcessTo streamline your recruiting, tracking and qualifying processes you need to eliminate waste and increase effectiveness. Take a moment to document the steps, interaction, and points of frustration during the recruiting, tracking and qualification process.

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Fill Your Talent Pipeline

Fill Your Talent PipelineBuilding a community of talent can help your recruiters attract the right people so that when an employment opportunity comes available, you have a pool of talented people to select from that are already engaged with your services and/or products.

Instill your brand and culture throughout the community by integrating the corporate brand and culture into the application experience.

  1. Do you have a career page that showcases your company’s unique corporate culture and work environment?
  1. How is your company rated on employee job sites?
  1. Do you have engaging employee testimonials on your job listings?

If your company is struggling to find qualified candidates, evaluate where you are sourcing your applicants from. Are you currently sourcing from:

  • Colleges
  • Social media sites
  • Social networking communities

Having a community of talent resources to recruit from will help you maintain a steady flow of applicants so you are able to fill your open positions faster.

To learn more about how applicant-tracking software can help you achieve better hiring results, click here.

4 Questions to Help Define Your Recruiting Needs & Improve Your Processes

4 Questions to Help Define Your Recruiting Needs & Improve Your ProcessesHiring for new positions can be difficult. To effectively recruit applicants for your company, you need to define what your company talent needs are.

To define your company’s goals, needs, and wants – take a moment to answer the following questions:

  1. What are you company talent goals?
  2. What processes are in place to recruit talent?
  3. Who is involved in the recruiting and applicant approval stages?
  4. Is the current process lacking anything?

From here you can determine where improvement is needed.

Take the burden off of your HR staff and hiring manager by eliminating their manual processes and help reduce their time-to-fill average with an automated recruiting and applicant-tracking system.

To learn more about how applicant-tracking software can help you achieve better hiring results, click here.