an application form on a computer

How to Ensure Candidates are Completing your Job Application

Hiring talent remains the number one concern for many business owners.

Hiring the best people for any job begins with ensuring the right candidates apply.

But it is not enough to just attract talented applicants to your job ad. Once interested, the application process must be the right mixture of garnering important information, testing the appropriate skills (if necessary), and ensuring the process is the optimal length. The Goldilocks principle: you need to make sure those “just right candidates” finish the job application process so you get the best of the best on your team.

According to Appcast, a leading recruitment advertising company, the average application completion rate—the number of people who start filling out an application, compared to those who submit a completed application—across industries hovers at around 10%. That means you won’t see 9 out of every 10 potential candidates who are interested in your job.

At Ian Martin SMB, our average application completion rate over the last year was 67%that’s more than six times the industry average.

You can replicate our success. Here’s how:

  1. Keep it under 10 minutes, MAX. The most common reason for candidates to desert an application midway is because the form is simply too long or too complicated. There are too many distractions online and the best candidates aren’t going to spend their time filling out 50 questions. Get down to the essential requirements from the get-go. What are the tough questions you really need to know NOW from the application process? Short and simple is best. Remember this is just the first hurdle to acquiring your next great hire. Much of what you need from the candidate will be in their resume and cover letter. What is the optimal length? Research suggests that the entire application process shouldn’t be more than 10 minutes long. If your application takes longer than 10 minutes to complete, you’re potentially missing out on 50% of qualified job applicants. Indeed, IBM, the renowned IT company, has an average 5-10 minute job application time.
  1. Cut out the fluff immediately. The application process itself provides crucial information about your company’s culture. Provide the right amount of information about the job, the work environment, and the potential career path. Most candidates want to know the ins and outs. Present this information succinctly. Give applicants a realistic preview of what the job is like. This heads off those who would end up being unhappy in the job.
  1. Ensure it is mobile friendly. Mobile job searches are a now a given, so don’t miss out on top candidates. Glassdoor reports that 45% of job seekers say that they use their mobile device specifically to search for jobs at least once a day. Your application must automatically adjust to the size of the screen on which it is viewed. There should also be a one-button apply solution that any candidate can use from wherever. Your process must also include the option for candidates to pull their resume from a cloud-based file storage site like Dropbox or Google Drive. Optional add-ons, such as their LinkedIn profile and cover letter, should also allowed.
  1. Customize your process. Reusing the same application form again and again is not getting you ahead of the game. Every job requires unique screening questions. Spend the time to ensure you understand what the requirements of the job should be—and the corresponding attributes candidates must have. If the goal is to get better hires in a cost-effective manner, it’s also important to deter candidates who aren’t qualified or who won’t fit into your company’s culture from applying. Every applicant costs you money. Using a wide funnel to collect as many candidates as you can means that a great many of them won’t fit the job or the company. This isn’t the right approach. Beginning the process with these crucial screening questions reduces your funnel so you only obtain qualified applicants.
  2. Include clear instructions. End the process with a clear call to action—a link to the application, or contact information regarding where to send their application, etc. We know that most candidates believe their overall candidate experience would greatly improve if employers could set expectations and provided a clear timeline of the hiring process. Include clearly delineated instructions of what the entire process entails. Set realistic expectations that you can meet.

The best candidates are often off the market in 10 days. It’s crucial to have a great application process, but you don’t have to go at it alone. Come talk to one of our Hiring Advisors! We can help you ensure the best candidates are completing your application process.

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