How to Ensure Job Candidates Complete Your Job Applications

HR professionals ensure that job candidates finish their online applications.

92% of People Never Finish Online Job Applications They Start

So you’ve crafted a forward-thinking recruiting strategy, have a careers page that showcases your company values and perks, and write the kind of job postings that get candidates to click “apply.” Why, then, are you still struggling to get qualified job candidate applications? Well, because clicking “apply” doesn’t ensure that job candidates will actually submit an application or candidate profile. In fact, most job candidates won’t. This past year, SHRM published a shocking job-application statistic: most people—92%—never finish the online job applications they start.

Our technologically streamlined world means that overwhelmingly, people are drawn to quick and easy processes that produce almost immediate results. Today’s job candidates will eschew applications they deem unwieldy or a waste of their time. Bad technological experiences—like having to repeatedly enter the same information or not parsing a resume correctly—may make candidates think roles at your company will mirror the clunky hiring process. 

How Can You Ensure Job Candidates Complete Your Job Applications?

Streamline, Streamline, Streamline

CareerBuilder found that 60% of job applicants quit midway through online job applications due to length and complexity. Even applications designed for efficient application experiences—applications that average five minutes to complete—include many stop-provoking clicks. An audit of Fortune 500 company application processes found it necessary to click nine or more times after hitting “apply” before stating the actual application (they found the average application averaged 51 clicks). 

Companies can streamline their applications by: 

  • Not asking candidates to create usernames or passwords just to apply. 
  • Not asking different versions of the same questions. 
  • Not having candidates regurgitate information from their resumes.
  • Knowing how many steps and clicks each application takes and seeing if you could easily eliminate any.
  • Not asking in-depth questions they plan on asking during the interview process.
  • Avoiding having candidates answer arbitrary questions that elicit canned responses (why do you want to work here?) or should have been answered in their cover letter (what makes you a good job candidate?). 

Put the Candidate Experience First

While 40% of employers feel like a job application should be five steps or fewer, 70% of job applicants feel the same way. There are often discrepancies between how employers and candidates (or managers vs. employers) think. Hubris often wins in these situations, and that’s detrimental to your applicant flow. You can’t get around it: job seekers have more options than ever, so you must cater to the experience they seek.

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Ensure Your Applications Are Mobile-Friendly

58% of Glassdoor job seekers look for jobs on their phones, and 40% of job candidates won’t apply for a job if it isn’t mobile-friendly. Many candidates quit job applications after clicking “apply” via their smartphone or tablet, only to discover that the actual application isn’t congruent with the technology they use most. 

Promoting a job as mobile-friendly can improve the number of job applicants by 11.6%.

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Be Purposeful About the Language You Use

Remember that just because a candidate clicked “apply” doesn’t mean they’ll make it to “submit.” Be just as cognizant of the language and tone you use in the application as you are in your job posting and recruiting marketing efforts—nurture them through the application with language that is approachable, inclusive, and strikes the right tone. 

  • Don’t use too much jargon: Too many buzzwords, corporate yoga babble, and acronyms can alienate and confuse job applicants.
  • Don’t be too informal: informal job postings turn candidates off, and informal applications will have the same effect.
  • Use inclusive language: Today’s candidates value inclusivity and are liable to stop an application process the second they feel the language is exclusionary or that the company doesn’t value DEI—check out this inclusive language guide for insights and tips.

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Experience the Application Yourself in Various Modalities

Jibe Staffing found that 60% of job candidates cannot complete online applications due to tech hurdles and barriers. We’d suggest pretending to be a job candidate and going through your application process in a few different modalities (home computer, office computer, phone, tablet) to see what tech barriers arise. You also want to think about the application process from the point of view of someone who doesn’t work at your company. What hurdles and barriers might someone not as well versed in tech come up against? 

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Utilize An Applicant Tracking System

An applicant tracking system is recruiting software used to strengthen, automate, and streamline the hiring process, including the job application experience. With an applicant tracking system (ATS) companies can quickly and efficiently build and modify the application process to suit the needs of their business. 68% of recruiting professionals say the best way to improve recruiting performance is investing in new recruiting tech, and 94% of hiring professionals say using recruiting software has positively impacted their hiring! To learn more, check out Ten Reasons All Businesses Can Benefit From Applicant Tracking Systems.

Ten Reasons All Businesses Benefit From an ATS

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