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3 Ways to a Better Application Process

Allie Kelly

A lot of people out there aren’t satisfied their jobs. According to Gallup research, 85 percent of employees aren’t engaged at work, and instead spend each day lamenting the stressful projects they’ve been assigned and the overreaching managers they can’t escape.That means that there are plenty of folks who would jump on the opportunity to find a new job that would make them happier – which could be at your company. However, if your application process only adds to their frustrations, then you can be sure they’re going to look elsewhere.

Show job-seekers that you value their time and sanity – and that you’d do the same as their employer. See the application process from their point of view and make it as painless as possible. Here are three ways to make applicants’ lives easier. While these may sound like common sense, you’d be surprised by how many hiring departments ignore these steps and short-sell their organizations.

Don’t waste their time

Some employers operate under the unhealthy assumption that lengthy, Kafka-esque online application processes are a test of character. They believe that the people who spend hours filling out forms and submitting their materials are employees worth having. That mentality is actually a flashing neon sign to applicants to TURN BACK NOW.

Ideally, an online application should take roughly 15 minutes. Any longer than that and people are nearly guaranteed to jump ship. And please – don’t make applicants type in the same information over and over again. When candidates upload a resume that auto-populates the fields but does so incorrectly, that’s one more aggravating step. As a result, this can potentially turn the applicant away. Ensure your application process doesn’t re-request information, and inputs it correctly.

Let them know what’s happening

If you take a month to contact an applicant for an interview, he or she may think that working for your company would be a bureaucratic nightmare. Or worse, where no one knows how to effectively communicate or efficiently get things done.

Whatever you do, don’t leave applicants hanging. A study by research firm Potentialpark found that 73 percent of job candidates say that their No. 1 frustration in job-hunting is waiting for recruiters to get back to them. When scheduling a candidate for an interview, tell that individual promptly. If after the interview you’re not going to move forward, politely let him or her know. If you do plan to move forward, or are unsure, simply follow up letting them know that you will be in touch as soon as possible. Yes, it can be difficult to align hiring decisions among different stakeholders at your company, but sitting on your laurels is only going to lead you to miss out on top talent.

Avoid buzzwords and be direct

Experts say that consumers are at a tipping point in terms of the content they consume – so many different advertisers are vying for their attention that a lot of it just comes out as noise. The same is happening with job seekers. Seemingly every job posting these days is full of buzzwords, cliches and convenient re-brandings of age-old ideas – companies are looking for “storytelling ninjas” and employees who want to be part of a “vibrant, synergistic global village of people who care.” Just seeing these buzzwords and phrases pop up in job descriptions can make candidates’ eyes glaze over. Scrolling through annoying description after description is incredibly frustrating for employees.
Instead, aim for authenticity and clarity in your job postings. Focus only on what tangible job duties and skills the position will demand, Inc. magazine recommends. Applicants will appreciate your candor. Having the actual details of the job will help them quickly decide if they will apply. Unclear job descriptions inevitably waste your time too. These unqualified candidates may submit applications where they otherwise would not have — and now those are resumes on your desk needing review.

Market your company as the great place to work as it is by making the application process easier on the candidate. Otherwise, you could be sabotaging your chance at attracting top talent.

Allie Kelly

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