Why You Should Respond to Job Applicants as Quickly as Customer Leads

By Beth Kempton,
July 25, 2018

Hireology data found that it takes the average business 10 days to review and respond to job applicants. During this time, top job applicants might lose interest in your open roles or receive an offer for another opportunity.

Your business wouldn’t let a consumer lead go unanswered for 10 days, as you recognize the customer’s business might end up going to a competitor down the street. Here’s why you should take a similar approach to hiring and respond to job applicants as quickly as possible.

The Unemployment Rate is Low

In May, the U.S. unemployment rate fell to 3.8%, the lowest rate since 2000. While the unemployment rate rose slightly in June – to 4% – the number is still markedly low, making the U.S. job market strong for job seekers, but highly competitive for employers.

Up to 72% of U.S. adults keep an eye on open jobs in the market, regardless of their current employment status. But a low unemployment rate means top job seekers need to get excited about new job opportunities to consider leaving their current roles. And if they decide to apply for an open role on your team, they’ll expect a great candidate experience. If you run an inefficient hiring process or don’t respond to applicants quickly, some of your best candidates might lose interest and remain employed in their current roles.

You Risk Losing Top Talent to the Competition

In addition to staying in their current roles if you’re slow to respond to job applicants, top talent might also accept offers from competitors while waiting to hear back from your hiring team. Across Hireology customers using our integrated hiring process, 70 percent of quality new hires are reviewed within 12 hours of submitting an application.

To put this into perspective, let’s say a top job applicant applied to two open roles on the same day and his or her application was reviewed within 12 hours by one company, and 10 days later by your team. The applicant might be well into the interview process at the other company – or might even receive a job offer – by the time your team reviews the application.

Responding to applicants quickly can help you move forward with hiring steps before the competition and ensure strong candidates stay engaged and excited about the the possibility of working for your business.

Applicants Will Share Poor Experiences

Recent data found more than half of job candidates read employee reviews on Glassdoor and related sites at some point in their job search. And these reviews can have a significant impact on whether or not top job applicants decide to join your team. If a job applicant has a poor experience with your company – including the initial review time taking too long –  he or she likely won’t hesitate to leave a bad review. As a result, not only will you lose out on the job applicant who leaves the review, but future job seekers will see the review and might be less likely to apply for an open role at your company.

How to Decrease Job Applicant Review Time

Whether or not you have a dedicated HR manager or hiring team, reviewing and responding to job applicants can take a significant amount of time – and you want to make sure you move forward with the right candidates.

To avoid spending time manually reviewing every single job application that comes through, and only focus time and resources on quality candidates, follow a standardized hiring process that includes prescreen surveys. With prescreen surveys, once an application is submitted, the applicant will receive an automated survey that can gauge his or her fit for the role.

Hireology data has found 40 percent of applicants don’t even bother to complete the survey – meaning only the most engaged candidates who truly want to join your team take the time to fill out the survey. Once complete, the surveys are then automatically scored, so only the strongest applicants get moved to the candidate stage of the hiring process.

Reviewing job applicants quickly is just one of many steps necessary to build your best team. Given the low unemployment rate and competitive job market, it’s also critical to have a continuous hiring strategy in place to ensure you secure quality candidates before you have an urgent hiring need. For more information on proactive recruitment, read our resource, “Why You Should Always Be Hiring.”

About the Author

Beth is the content strategist on Hireology’s marketing team, responsible for creating compelling blog posts, eBooks, marketing materials and other content. Her background includes five years of experience at a B2B digital marketing agency, where she crafted content for a variety of clients, including several in the HR technology space. Before beginning her career, Beth attended Loyola University Chicago, where she studied advertising and public relations.