Applicant Vs Application

Applying for a job shouldn’t be so difficult. As owner of an Executive Search Firm, I read and hear complaints every day about the difficulty of the application process. I hear the same complaints about the hiring process but that will be another article. I encourage HR Departments to realize how many valuable human assets they lose through their online application process.

In the world of online applications, it now takes a minimum of 30 to 45 minutes to complete the basic application — not including additional hours spent on assessment and personality tests. In the world of online applications, isn’t it time to ask “how many talented applicants will never be seen by your Hiring Managers because of your application process?” These are positions your Hiring Manager says he desperately needs to fill, right? The problem from my perspective: Most HR Department are too institutionalized and ‘rote’ in their behaviors to accommodate expedited hiring.

This may be a wake-up call for HR Departments! If your company branding is working; i.e., the applicants are finding your job site, why not make it a pleasure doing business with you? Stop wasting the time of your valuable applicants! It negates all of your positive and powerful brand marketing. If the resume (or LinkedIn Profile) isn’t enough for the FIRST STEP, then you should limit any additional required information so that your application can be completed in less than 15 minutes.

After the applications are quickly reviewed for creditable skills/experience for the position, THEN the Hiring Manager should be involved. Only after the Hiring Manager shows interest in pursuing the applicants(s) should the applicants be asked to complete the NEXT STEP of the screening process (assessment/personality testing). There is no logical reason why every single applicant should spend hours filling out applications that will never be seen by a Hiring Manager.

Recent surveys show that 42% of applicants having a negative experience with a company’s application process say that would never work for that company. Doesn’t that make you wonder how many talented applicants have been lost because of excessive and complicated online application processes? The solution really lies somewhere between a ‘digital experience like buying a book on Amazon’ and ‘filling out an online federal tax return’.

Very few companies, and even fewer recruiting software vendors, offer one-step apply capabilities. Instead, most have an extremely complex and convoluted application systems that require dozens of different clicks to do something as simple as submitting a resume to a job posting. This flies in the face of data from surveys that cite a 33% decrease in conversion by having a two-step apply process. Congratulations to the few companies who have simplified their online process and adopted a ‘one-step’ or ‘one click’ approach.

If you don’t know how many clicks your application process takes, then you should find out. Apply for one of your own listings without using any shortcuts. The answer, for most employers, will probably be both shocking and sobering. And, each and every one of those extra clicks is going to cost you great candidates. Many of your applicants often drop out of the process even before you’re able to capture their information. Many HR Reps and Hiring Managers sometimes have the attitude that an onerous application process somehow is an effective screening mechanism, and that “if they were motivated, they’d take the time to finish the application.” News flash: that’s a bunch of hooey!