3 Steps to a Better Candidate Experience

Did you know that over 70% of candidates find the job application experience “discouraging”?

Applying for jobs is generally agreed to be time-consuming, stressful and far from straightforward. Employers may be tempted to say “too bad” …but that would be a huge mistake, because 42 percent of those candidates would never seek a job at your company again, and a further 1 in 5 candidates would tell others not to purchase products or services from your company.

A bad applicant experience can have major consequences. Your goal as an employer is to attract and hire top talent, so having a reputation based on a “discouraging” or “stressful” process is not doing you any favours.

What can you do? Here are 3 steps to take to make your application process friendly and positive for candidates.

1. Count the clicks

Let’s start at the very beginning. Count the number of clicks it takes to find a job and start the application process. A candidate’s experience often begins at your website’s homepage. Where is the ‘Careers’ link on your website? Typical spots for this are at the bottom of the page, or as a main link in the top menu. Burying this link in a dropdown menu or along the side of the page makes it harder to find.

computer mouseOnce the careers page is found, ensure that the list of jobs is easily accessible and searchable. Taking 5 or 6 clicks to simply find a job is very frustrating to applicants. By the time they are met with the ‘create a username and password’ screen they have already visited several pages hunting for a suitable job posting. They are navigating a maze and they haven’t even started applying yet!

The solution is to examine the flow from homepage to job posting and see what steps can be eliminated, or made more clear. Providing straightforward navigation is the first step of a painless application.

2. There are HOW many questions?

Once the candidate has found their job, they are now faced with the task of submitting their information. They begin by filling in their contact information, their education, their work experience, their skills and a cover letter.  But it doesn’t stop there, they now must fill in a psychological questionnaire, cultural fit questions, personal values questions and attitude-based questions. They write a paragraph about why they want to work at the company, they write 3 sentences on how they are a great team player, they consider 4 words that describe their personality…

They give up.

When applicants are forced to fill out pages and pages of information, questions and surveys, they start to question how much they really want to work at this company. They grow understandably frustrated, tired and negative. The top applicants give up in favour of a less painful process, and everyone else is left with a bad impression of the company.

Examine what information you are gathering in your application process. Does it suit the job, or is it the same experience for every position? How much of this information is already contained in a resume, and how much do you really need?

Ask only the most meaningful and relevant questions to keep the application form concise.

3. Mobile is a must

The majority of job seekers are using mobile technology to search for jobs: a full 3 in 4 people.

 Pages that are cumbersome to view on smaller screens, buttons that are difficult to tap with a finger, and images that are slow to load all deter job seekers from remaining on your page and finding a job.

Mobile users have high expectations and low tolerance for websites that are difficult to navigate and view on their device. If a page takes more than a few seconds to load or involves a lot of pinching and zooming the user will go somewhere else.

On top of a mobile website, employers also need a mobile application process. The main hurdle for employers here is requesting a resume. Some job seekers can access files through cloud storage (ie. Dropbox, Google Drive), but not all devices are compatible. Similarly, there are options to apply with an existing profile, whether from LinkedIn, Facebook, Monster or Indeed. Unfortunately, employers are discovering that these profiles are often not complete or up to date.

The solution is to create an application that doesn’t require a resume or a lot of typing.  With a series of specific targeted questions, you can gather all the information required for screening a candidate, plus more insight and answers than from a resume alone.

Three steps to a better brand

Implementing these three ideas: reducing key clicks, simplifying questionnaires and embracing mobility, will lead to a better employer brand. Positive experiences for applicants lead to stronger supporters for a company overall.