What Does a Great Job Application Look Like?


As any good recruiter or talent acquisition professional knows, the ultimate point of candidate conversion is the moment a candidate submits his or her job application. While candidate conversion occurs throughout the talent lifecycle—from joining a talent network to signing up for job alerts to registering for events to acquiring profiles from personalization—motivating a candidate to submit a job application is the pinnacle of conversion. Unfortunately, application conversion is the place where a large majority of candidates fall off.


According to Talemetry research, organizations are not converting candidates at the level needed to demonstrate results. In fact, enterprise organizations today typically see just 20 to 30 percent application conversion rates from candidates. That means between 70 and 80 percent of all prospective talent are choosing to walk away rather than apply for a position at your organization.

So how do you overcome this major roadblock? Check out the five key elements that make up a great job application so you can increase your application rates, optimize your application process and improve your candidate conversion results. 

1) Don't Require Registration 

Avoid candidate frustration and distraction. Don’t require candidates to register or ask them for information that discourages them from applying. You may have been told that registration is necessary. But it’s not. Just think about the parallel to your online consumer shopping experiences. Most online retailers allow individuals to check out as guests to streamline their interactions. So as recruiting organizations, avoid placing unnecessary obstacles in the way of good candidates. If you fail to remove them, you are guaranteed to lose top talent for your organization. 

2) Keep It Short

Many organizations today require between 50 to 100 fields of data to apply for a job. With this volume of required data, you would think companies are testing the data entry skills of candidates. Put another way, your application is likely way too long. Why ask for a full application when a candidate is not being actively considered? Rethink the way you engage potential candidates and ask for minimum information. This way you see less top talent dropping out of the recruitment process or avoid having unqualified candidates being considered for employment after completing the full application.

CME Group, for example, had a very extensive application process, but was losing great candidates by making the application experience overly complex. But with Talemetry, the organization has scaled back its application process. Now if a qualified candidate reaches the point of hire, then CME Group sends a supplemental application through a follow-up questionnaire.

3) Leverage Social Profiles and Cloud Storage

Many candidates have created profiles on social media accounts like LinkedIn, Facebook or Google+. Allowing candidates to leverage these profiles and apply for jobs will automatically populate relevant information in the job application and streamline the application process. 

Make sure you also have an option for candidates to apply using cloud-based resumes from services like Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive or Google Drive. Candidate profiles should automatically populate with relevant information from the applicant’s cloud-based documents.

five-elements-great-job-application4) Offer An Apply Later Option

A great job application offers candidates the option to apply later. Candidates may not have time to complete your application in one sitting, or they may not have the time, opportunity or ability to apply right away. Make it easy for candidates by capturing their email address and send a link to the application so they can finish when it’s most convenient for them. 

5) Encourage Application Completion 

Modern marketers in the consumer world learned long ago that sales can be salvaged when merchandise gets abandoned in a shopping cart. By simply sending reminder emails alerting shoppers they have left items in their cart, and offering a direct link to return, companies increased their conversion rates at the point of purchase. The same is true with with job application. With upwards of 80 percent of candidates walking away from the application process, you can’t afford to lose candidates at this point of conversion. So set up an automated email that encourages candidates to complete their application. Let them know you are interested in them. Remind them to finish and give them a link to pick up where they left off.

More Insights on the Candidate Experience

The Talemetry Research Team just completed its annual Fortune 500 Candidate Experience Audit. And the results are pretty dismal. Only 5.3% of organizations demonstrate best practices in creating a positive candidate experience across the talent lifecycle. For example, of all Fortune 500 companies:

  • 90% still require registration with a username and password to apply for a job

  • More than 72% have no option for candidates to apply using cloud-based resumes

  • Less than 5% leverage Indeed to simplify the application process

  • More than 46% have no direct index to corporate jobs on their career site with Google for Jobs

But there is good news. You can make simple changes to your recruitment process to dramatically improve candidate conversion and engage more high quality candidates. Get your free copy of our full report to learn eight ways you can increase candidate conversion, deliver more personalized content and better engage candidates throughout their journey.

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