Four Ways to Simplify An Online Application for Jobs

Bear with me for a moment and put yourself in your ideal applicant’s shoes: you see an ad for an open job while scrolling social media on your phone; it seems like the perfect fit, so you decide to apply. You open the online application to find that only to find yourself plugging in information on a difficult to navigate form.

After filling out 10 fields, you realize you’re only about halfway done. Now you start to question yourself: Is this application process even worth all this effort? Entering this information in those tiny boxes is so tedious and frustrating. Surely there are easier ways to get a job. Frustrated and aware that you’ve spent a considerable amount of time on this one online application, you close the tab and move on to the next video on your timeline.

This scenario happens more often than you think. Job seekers are on the go — and always on their phones. Attracting candidates is now only half of the battle when it comes to meeting your business’s hiring needs — you need to make sure job seekers who come across your online application actually complete it. In this hiring market, your online application needs to be as concise and easy as possible to drive applicants. If there’s too many fields to manually enter or it takes too long to correct any incorrectly imported data, you might be driving candidates away instead of receiving their applications.

Online applications were created with the intention of making the application process online faster and streamlined for everyone involved. Below are five ways your business can simplify your application process to keep job seekers engaged and increase applicant flow.

Cut unnecessary fields

At Hireology, we’re all about metrics. One of our recent analyses revealed that only 1 in 4 applicants complete online applications that require 6 – 10 fields; this rate drops to just 14% that complete applications with 11 – 15 fields. With a little elimination, you could possibly double the amount of applicants you receive per post on average simply by making your application process shorter.

Unsure of which fields can meet the chopping block? Consider eliminating the following from your online applications:

  • Previous work experience
  • Physical addresses
  • Anything that can be found on the candidate’s resume

If your job post requires a resume, there’s no need for candidates to manually enter the same information again into your online application. It’s a waste of time for them and bogs down your application process. As far as physical addresses are concerned, unless there are issues with commuting to and from the workplace, there’s no need for employers to know where applicants live. Plus, you can avoid any internal biases based on where a candidate lives by removing this field from your application process.

Cover letters aren’t necessary

In the past, cover letters served as an introduction to an applicant’s resume — but much has changed since these documents were in fashion. Think of all the different ways that candidates communicate with hiring managers and recruiters during the hiring process: between emails, phone calls, virtual meetings, and interviews, don’t you think there is already ample opportunity to get a feel for an applicant’s work history and personality without requiring a cover letter?

Unless your candidate is applying for a position that heavily involves creative writing, like a content writer or in your marketing department, strong writing skills aren’t typically required to perform everyday duties. Applicants know this and just see taking the time to rework cover letters to fit each individual job they’re applying for as a waste of time. If you make your application process any harder than it has to be, potential candidates will just move on to the next open position.

Require either an application or a resume

Depending on the position you’re hiring for, you might want to require a resume. If that’s the case, it makes perfect sense to require a resume and a few fields for contact information, but other than that, don’t make applicants fill out additional fields about their work history since it’s already provided on their submitted resume. Like we said earlier, applicants don’t want to keep repeating the same information over and over again in the application process. 

However, many roles don’t require applicants to submit a resume, like in the healthcare industry. In this case, make a resume submission optional and simply require the candidate’s contact information and other essentials in your online application. You’ll still have plenty of time during the hiring process to gather their work experience and other necessary credentials before you make a decision.

When candidates see that the only way they can apply to a job online is through filling out a digital application and submitting their resume, they get frustrated very quickly. Even if you have software in place that can extract the data from uploaded resumes, when the information is converted it often calls for careful editing from the applicant. This is counterproductive and incredibly irritating as an applicant. 

Make it mobile-friendly

Are your applications mobile-friendly? In this hiring market, we know that speed matters — and that includes how quickly candidates can apply to your roles. If your applications aren’t compatible on mobile devices, you’re decreasing the likelihood that the candidate will complete the application on a desktop or laptop.

If your online application isn’t optimized for mobile viewing, uploading a resume is incredibly irritating and hard to manage. On top of that, if you’re application isn’t responsively designed, candidates are forced to continually zoom in and out on their smartphones to enter information into the required fields. While drop down menus seem like the obvious solution to this issue, they can be more of a burden than a blessing — especially on a phone’s small screen. 

Making your application mobile-friendly goes beyond the programming, however. You need to pay careful attention to the copy you use as well, since screen space is limited. Long winded paragraphs will be difficult to read and navigate; we suggest keeping the information short and sweet to help applicants complete it. 

Every aspect of your hiring process is important, but careful consideration should be given to the online application itself to make sure that you’re not accidentally driving away applicants instead of inviting them in. Small changes like the ones outlined above can help give your business that competitive edge needed to attract and hire top talent in this labor market.

Hireology is the only people-first HR platform designed to make attracting, hiring, and employee management easier than ever before. Want to see how else we can help your business succeed in 2024? Schedule a 1:1 for a personalized approach to your pain points today!



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