The effects of COVID-19 have changed a lot for employers and applicants alike. The rise in unemployment means more folks are searching for jobs, but it doesn’t mean they’re any less picky on what they expect in their next role.  Many individuals were forced out of roles that, in normal circumstances, they would have held on to, meaning you have the opportunity to hire talent that you otherwise wouldn’t have been able to reach.  
Now more than ever, employers need to sell job seekers on the opportunity joining their team presents, rather than the other way around. This begins with a strong employer brand that excites top talent about joining your team. Your employer brand should include a compelling career site, list of company benefits, outlined career paths, training opportunities, and more. 
Once you have a strong employer brand in place, another critical step you need to convert prospective job seekers into applicants is creating a simple application process. With many individuals devoting all of their freetime to applying to jobs, a simple application process could be the difference between submitting an application or passing on your company entirely — especially since many job boards and other channels offer the option of one-click apply. The last thing any job seeker wants to do is fill out several pages of a lengthy application. If your applications are too time consuming and complex, you will drive top talent away. 
A recent study from The Center for Generational Kinetics, found that younger job seekers in particular are not willing to spend the time on lengthy job applications. In fact, more than 60 percent of Generation Z job seekers are only willing to spend 15 minutes or less on a job application. 
With reduced headcounts and tighter margins, hiring the best applicants for every role is more important than ever, so your team can’t afford to miss out on quality applicants simply because your job applications are too complicated. Below, we’ve outlined several ways to simplify your job application process and support an engaging experience for job seekers.

1. Keep Your Applications Short and Concise

Think about the job applications your team is currently using. Depending on the team and role, some job applications end up being several pages long. And job seekers often run into instances in which parts of the job application are redundant, leading to a frustrating experience. For example, job seekers might be required to upload their resume and manually fill in work history on the application form — so you’ll receive the same information twice. 
If your job applications are too long, job seekers won’t hesitate to consider opportunities with other organizations instead. All you really need to ask on an initial application is general contact and background information. Keep applications simple by only requiring job seekers to include their name, email address, telephone number and resume, with an option to add a cover letter expanding on their interest.

2. Enable Job Seekers to Apply Via Mobile 

Hireology’s 2020 Applicant Experience Research found that 90% of job applicants use their mobile devices at some point in the job search process — and many would opt for applying to jobs directly via mobile. 
Once you have a simple application in place, the next step you should consider is making the process mobile-friendly. For job seekers interested in applying on mobile devices, not only can typing a lot of information into the application be time consuming, but applicants also might not have their resume files saved on their mobile devices.
Rather than requiring job seekers to type every detail from their resumes or upload attachments via mobile, your team can offer an option to add links to their LinkedIn profiles or portfolios. Any steps you can take to simplify the application process will help you secure more quality applicants.

3. Keep Candidates Engaged Using Text Messaging

In addition to using their mobile devices to research and apply for jobs, today’s job seekers — especially those in younger generations like millennials and Generation Z — are constantly checking their phones. Because of this, an effective way to communicate with candidates is through text messaging. 
A recent study found that while 82 percent of text messages are read within five minutes, the average person only reads one in three emails they receive. And many people today choose not to answer phone calls from unfamiliar numbers. Instead of risking playing phone tag or an email getting overlooked, text messaging candidates can speed up communications — and keep job seekers engaged as a result. 
Text messages can be used to coordinate interviews, share directions to your office, remind candidates of critical hiring steps, and more. And Hireology data found that candidate text messaging enables you to hire talent up to eight days sooner. 
 
With initial job applications, you don’t need every piece of information to determine whether or not a job seeker is a fit for your open roles. Much of this can be covered in later hiring steps like a pre-screen survey, skills test, and the interview stage. 
If your job applications are too lengthy, you’ll likely drive away top talent and face an applicant deficit — which will make it more difficult for you to fill your open roles. As a result, your organization’s overall productivity and profitability will take a hit while your roles are open. For additional tips on how to support a great candidate experience — and fill your roles sooner — read our Candidate Engagement Playbook resource.