Why Job Seekers Aren’t Finishing Your Application

Sharlyn Lauby, President, ITM Group
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(Editors Note: Today’s post comes from Sharlyn Lauby of HR Bartender and ITM Group.)

Life’s decisions increasingly begin with an online search, according to Carmen Bryant, global director of employer insights at Indeed. Think about it. Want to find a new home? Call up Zillow. Looking for a new partner? Maybe visiting Match.com makes sense. Going on vacation? Check out Trip Advisor.

So, it shouldn’t be a surprise that over half of us (53%) have done an online job search. But in today’s job market, candidates have choices. The May 2018 unemployment rate reached 3.8 percent, the lowest level since 1969. It used to be that only great candidates had the ability to pick and choose their opportunities. Not anymore. Everyone has choices. This means employers need to stand out…so candidates choose them over other job openings.

But just getting the candidate to say, “I want that job.” might not be enough. It’s equally important to have a hiring process that makes it easy for candidates to express their interest. During her session at this year’s SilkRoad Connections Conference, Bryant mentioned five areas that candidates are focused on when it comes to your job openings.

  1. Job titles. Being concise wins here. Bryant says between 35-60 characters maximum is optimal. And don’t use abbreviations to fit in more. It might not come across well. Instead of a Sr. Mktg. Mgr. say Senior Marketing Manager. Also, make job titles engaging but leave out the entertainment. Words like guru, ninja, Jedi, and wizard not only don’t perform as well, but they have a male bias association.
  2. Job descriptions. Bryant says that the best performing job descriptions range between 700-2000 characters (Yes, that’s not a typo. Characters, not words.) In addition, use phrases that let candidates know they’re applying for more than just a job. Candidates want to work for companies that take pride in their products/services. A well-rounded, thoughtful job description demonstrates just that.
  3. Employment brand. According to Indeed research, reviews are relevant (83%). And reputation is important (46%). Candidates can see pretty quickly how an organization treats candidates and employees. Companies can’t fake this. Use tools like video and FAQs to educate candidates about the company and the benefits of working there.
  4. Application process. The median time to apply online is 13 minutes according to Bryant. Thirty percent (30%) of applicants will not spend more than 15 minutes on an application. And for positions that pay over $100,000, fifty-seven percent (57%) will not spend over 15 minutes. This raises the question, “How long does it take for candidates to apply for a job with your organization?” and how is this impacting your talent pipeline.
  5. Job screening. At Indeed, they count any input (i.e. name, address, phone, dates of employment, etc.) as a screening question. Keeping that in mind, the average number of screening questions is 63. Companies lose 90 percent of their applicants due to a cumbersome screening process. Bryant suggests that organizations need to balance transparency with privacy and “Ask the right questions at the right time.”

The first step to finding the best talent is getting them to apply. That means organizations need to post job openings that are easy to read and understand. Then offer an application process that’s fast but thorough. The last thing any organization wants to do is lose candidates because of an overly administrative and cumbersome hiring process.

 

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