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  • Amy Oviedo

Why Your Best Candidates Abandon Your Employment Application

Updated: Oct 6

Bottom line up front – your application is too long and you probably don’t need it.


Ok – I’ll provide a little more information so you can make some positive changes to

drive improvement in your talent acquisition process. Below are some easy steps

toward evaluating your talent acquisition process and making your process simpler and

barrier-free. Every organization can use a re-check of the current process to optimize

their chances of hiring success.


Today’s top candidates are busy, likely exploring jobs from a mobile device, and have a

lot of other options. Assuming you are relying on primarily inbound applications to fill

your roles, you need an application process that is quick, mobile-friendly, and takes less

than 3 minutes. CareerBuilder reports annually on employment application abandon

rates – generally, abandon rates are about 60% for most employers. Below are a few

immediate steps you can take to improve the number of quality applications received.

Unfortunately, the most qualified candidates are also the most likely to abandon a

lengthy, intrusive, or outdated process.


Step 1 – Pick up your phone and apply for a job. If you haven’t applied for one of

your own jobs recently, you might be surprised along the way. Time yourself from both a

laptop and a mobile device. Be sure to include a real email address so you can confirm

what happens next. Keep track of anytime you’re asked to re-enter the same

information – that’s an easy fix in most applicant tracking systems (ATS).


Additionally, confirm whether you’re using screen-out questions that truly allow you to make good hiring decisions or are potentially taking more time than the value provided. Collecting

superfluous information is a leading cause of high drop-out rates. It’s a good idea to

repeat this process for any of your primary talent competitors. Be sure that your process

is easier and more friendly.


Step 2 – Open and review an application in your ATS. Take specific note of what

information you read and consider. Be honest, you and your recruiting team aren’t

reading everything collected. If you have a team of recruiters, ask each recruiter to bring

a list to your next meeting. If it’s just you, ask a couple of hiring managers to do the

exercise. Once you have a list, consider the following:


1. Can you eliminate some of the info that’s being collected but not reviewed?

2. Is the team reviewing information that could be contributing to implicit bias?

3. Is the collected information relevant to the position itself?


Create a list of items to reconsider or just get started and update right away.


Step 3 – Check your compliance needs. The rules have changed and many

organizations haven’t updated their processes lately. Many of the old-school recruiter

rules imply that you need an online application or capture process and an official

employment application on file. That is rarely true and you can likely update your

capture process for roles with scarce talent to just a 2-4 question capture process.

A strong developer, for example, isn’t likely to jump through any hoops to apply for your job.


For top talent and hard-to-fill roles, could you allow just a LinkedIN link or resume,

an email address, and a phone number? The simple answer is yes.


The harder question is, are you ready for that level of simplicity and do you have the staff to appropriately follow up? If you’re a Federal contractor or receive State/Federal funding, there are more requirements for you to consider so be sure to check with your HR team. If you do

need an official employment application, you can reposition it to a later point in your

hiring process once the candidate is already engaged with your brand.


Busy recruiting teams may feel there isn’t time to go through these steps regularly. If

you’re feeling that way right now, consider how investing this time to evaluate and

improve your application process could provide a higher volume of qualified applicants.

One solution is rarely right for everyone and certainly not for every type of recruit. High

volume response roles, like customer service, may benefit by adding a video interview

or additional step to help you filter the most qualified and #readytowork candidates more

quickly. For lesser known brands or harder-to-fill roles though, it will improve your

application rates and lead to a lower need for agency-recruiting or outbound sourcing.


Ready to step up your hiring process? Schedule a time to talk with our team- we'd be happy to help.

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