Hiring the wrong person can have a significant impact on your company’s bottom line, reputation and level of job satisfaction among remaining employees. According to a CareerBuilder survey, the typical bad hire costs a company $15,000. While that news is bad enough, the cost of overlooking a good hire is twice that. If your small business has suffered one too many bad hires recently, we recommend reviewing the current job application process. After all, you need to attract the best pool of candidates to hire the most qualified employees. When you post an advertisement for an open position only to receive minimal or disappointing applications, it’s time to start at the beginning and look at the job application process from a job seeker’s perspective — here's how:
4 Ways to Improve Your Candidate's Application Experience
1. Complete the Job Application Process Yourself
Perhaps you have suspected for a while that your company’s application process is too long, outdated or has other issues that could be turning the best applicants away. But the problem is, those in a position to change the process don’t agree with you. One way to potentially get them to see things your way is to submit your own test application. Be sure to time the process from start to finish in order to understand the time considerations applicants face.
You also want to consider how many questions you had to answer and whether that seems like a reasonable amount to you. Industry research indicates that the number of questions on an application has a direct impact on the applicant drop-off rate. One of the best ways to prevent drop-offs is to keep the application as short and to the point as possible.
Once you have finished the application, jot down how long it took you to complete it in one sitting. If the answer is longer than 15 minutes, you may have discovered a key issue with your application process that needs revamping.
Most people won’t spend more than 15 minutes filling out a job application and will become fatigued from answering long or detailed questions just to receive a call for an interview. Consider saving those questions for a face-to-face meeting and remember that an application need only collect basic information such as name and contact information. Your company should also provide the option to include a resume with the application to allow for quick screening for the first round of interviews.
2. Calculate Applicant Drop-Off Rates
To determine how many people quit filling in the application before reaching the end, first locate the number of submitted applications in your applicant tracking system (ATS). You then want to divide the number of completed applications by the number of people who started an application but didn’t finish it.
According to a February 2018 article published by Indeed.com, nearly three out of four people who start completing an online job application click away before completing it. Any company has room for improvement, but you should especially pay attention if your drop-off rate is above 75%.
3. Avoid Using Too Much Jargon in the Job Description
Company-specific language and abbreviations might be commonplace for those who already work for you, but it’s likely to confuse job applicants. Another problem with heavy jargon is that it’s not optimized for search engines. People who might otherwise have ideal qualifications for your opening may never find it when searching online for a certain type of position unless they go directly to your website.
4. Include What Every Job Seeker Really Wants to Know: What’s in it for Me?
A job description should be informative and to the point while also being authentic. We recommend you start with the responsibilities of the position followed by the requirements. Even more importantly, inform the prospective employee of the rewards they gain by accepting the position and working for your company.
Rewards should go beyond pay and benefits to include such things as making a difference in the community and the opportunity to work for a company that appreciates the applicant’s skills. Today more than ever, people are looking for a job and employer that matches their values and lifestyle. Creating a job description that gives fair balance to both the tangibles and intangibles of the position could improve your candidate pool and decrease the applicant drop-off rate more than anything else you do.