Online Job Application

Candidates Are No Longer Willing to Jump Through Hoops in Your Online Job Application.

Length of Online Job Application Process Plays Major Role in Candidate Experience

In our recent Bootcamp, we examined the evolution of the modern job seeker into the “Connected Candidate” and provided guidance for how you can become an “Engaged Employer.” A major theme from these discussions was meeting the applicant where they’re at to offer a great candidate experience.

Although composed of many factors, one of the biggest influencers on candidate experience is the initial online application. Think about this – for most candidates, an online application is their first touchpoint with a company. To make a good impression and establish a positive employer brand from the start, employers must provide a candidate-friendly application process.

What Are Candidates Looking for In an Online Application Process?

To understand what applicants are expecting from an online apply process, think back to the last time you were job hunting. As you clicked through job postings, chances are, if you came to a complex application that required a significant investment of time, you would simply move onto the next one.

In fact, this behavior is overwhelmingly common amongst job seekers. The reality is that time is a luxury job seekers can’t afford. Studies show that 60% of job seekers will leave a job application prior to completion due to complexity. In our recent blog post, we observed this phenomenon, exploring how complexity in the application process leads to poor candidate experience and high candidate drop-off rates.

Newton Research Finds That Under 10 Minutes Is Ideal Length for Online Job Application

To dig deeper into this phenomenon, we turned to our own database consisting of applications from thousands of small and medium-sized employers across the US. Based on this research, we found that if your application takes longer than 10 minutes to complete, you are missing out on 50% of qualified job applicants.


Indeed Survey Also Uncovers the Need for Simple Online Applications

Similarly, our partners at Indeed crunched their own numbers and made some telling findings as well. After measuring the time to apply at every Fortune 500 company, Indeed uncovered the following:

  • The longest application process is 52 minutes
  • The shortest (courtesy of Netflix) is 1 minute
  • The median time it takes to complete an application is 13 minutes
  • The average application has 62.8 screener questions

What do these numbers tell us? For one thing, the online application process varies widely amongst employers (you still have time to get ahead of the competition!). However, there is a noticeable trend amongst leading organizations to shorten their online application processes. Many of the most sought after employers, such as Netflix, Salesforce, Apple, and Facebook, have the shortest application processes.

online job application

Longer Applications Attract Unqualified Candidates

Traditional thinking is that a complex application process weeds out unqualified candidates. However, industry experts are beginning to uncover that the opposite is true. Paul D’Arcy, SVP at Indeed, commented on this stating:

“Keep your apply process simple. Otherwise, you’re not going to be able to choose from top talent. You’re just going to be choosing from people who are desperate enough to go through your application process.”

Beyond D’Arcy’s words, this notion is backed by hard numbers. Indeed found that 30% of all job seekers and 57% of more experienced job seekers will forgo filling out an application if it takes longer than 15 minutes to complete. Furthermore, companies with 45 screener questions or more lose 88.7% of their applicants during the application process to candidate drop-off.

Shorter Applications Reduce Recruiting Spend

Aside from offering a better candidate experience and bringing in more qualified candidates, shortening your applications can also lead to significant financial savings as well. According to an article published on SHRM, having an application process with a duration of 5 minutes or less can increase application conversion rates by 365%. For employers that use the services of cost-per-click job engines, this means massive savings on recruiting spend as far more candidates actually follow-through with completing the application.

3 Keys to Improve the Candidate Experience In Your Online Application Process

1. Reduce Length & Complexity

Candidates, especially those that are more qualified, are not willing to jump through hoops to apply for your jobs. If your application process is not short and simple, quality talent will simply go elsewhere.

2. Personable Job Descriptions

The job description is your chance to make a great first impression on candidates. For this reason, make it concise but personable to draw candidates in and drive them to apply. Need a hand? Follow our job description template for hiring top candidates.

3. Go Mobile

The mobile revolution is upon us. Both Glassdoor and Kelton found that nearly 9 in 10 job seekers use their mobile devices to initiate the job search. At Indeed, 70% of clicks from Millennials and Gen Xers and 50% of clicks from Baby Boomers come from mobile devices. As job seekers continue to transition their activities to mobile devices, employers must do the same to offer an enjoyable candidate experience.

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