Online Job Applications – What’s wrong with them

Let’s face it – it’s a job seeker’s market. The tables have turned my friends. These days the job seekers are interviewing the employers. Employers must now have something to offer the candidates in this ever-shrinking candidate pool.

The good news is the Staffing Agency has made a comeback! We are much needed again. When the job market is tight the employers need and rely on the tutelage of the Recruiter. Recruiters more than ever need to counsel the employers and advise them on what they need to do in this new hiring climate to attract talent. Most employers are used to having the upper hand, now they are going to have to change their ways and really work at attracting talent. I know it is a hard pill to swallow for the employers of America but if they don’t change their mindset, they will find themselves empty-handed and losing out. Employers need to start to entice and lure talent like have never done before.

This starts with the very first step in the process “online job application”. Something that should be a non-issue has become a huge problem.

I never could understand why companies make it so time-consuming and painful to answer a job ad.  They may have gotten away with in the past but now they need to literally clean up their act. When a candidate is looking for a job it becomes a numbers game.  They need to submit their resume to as many desirable jobs as possible. What do you think happens when a job seeker reads the dreaded words “Apply on Company Site” right away you know they are saying “Oh no, I hate this.”  Because they know what’s coming, an 8 step very involved process.  I don’t like this either and I am not even a Millennial. This would be intolerable for our millennials. Candidates want to spend as little time as possible submitting their applications. If they go to an employer’s online application and realize it will take more than a couple of minutes, you better believe that they will look to the competitors with shorter applications.  It’s just human nature folks, so I am not sure why employers continue to adhere to this process.

Corporate America, it’s time to change your ways if you want to attract talent and figuring out your online application process is the first step towards that goal.

Here are some helpful suggestions for online Job adds.

Keep it Short
Keep it as short as possible. Only ask the questions (minimum qualifications) that are necessary to make a decision that will help you move to the next step with a candidate or not. Everything else you can sort out from the candidate’s resume, their LinkedIn profile, or during later rounds of the interview process.

Keep it Simple
In addition to reducing the number of questions and length of your online application, there are tools that you can offer to make it easier for them to apply.  Resume parsing is an absolute necessity. This allows job seekers to upload their resume once, and all relevant information is subsequently filled in throughout the rest of your application automatically for them.  Some applications still ask you to manually fill out your job history in the applications.  That’s when I say “NEXT”.   I don’t want to work with a company that has not figured out that the days of manually filling out a job application are over!    Also, we have become a nation of button clickers and we like it that way so integrating with leading job boards, can allow candidates to apply to your jobs seamlessly, with the beloved “click of a button.” 

I don’t do this myself, but I know my Millennial friends love their cell phone and they will apply to jobs “ON IT”.  Make sure that you have mobile applications available. The majority of job seekers come to your careers page from their mobile devices, you need to make it easy for them to apply from their phones as well.  The layout should be pre-formatted to display properly on any device, regardless of screen size (iPhone, tablet, desktop,)

Responding to the Candidate
You couldn’t possible follow-up on your own with every application you get, however, there are tools that can manage this communication for you. From thank you for applying emails to stage-specific recruiting emails.

In closing, employers need to keep up with the times and modernize their online application process or they will find that their candidate pool is more like a bathtub.

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