It’s a busy old business hiring candidates – writing job adverts, posting jobs, selecting candidates and interviewing all take up considerable time for recruiters. So, when candidates drop off, it throws a spanner into your seemingly well-oiled hiring machine, leaving you wondering where it all went wrong. Recent research shows that 74% of candidates fail to complete the application process. This may seem like a rather high volume, but by understanding why candidates give up on an application, or fail to even apply after viewing your adverts, you can start to tackle drop off and keep candidates interested.
1. Long, complex application process
The last thing a candidate wants is a lengthy application process, especially if they’re applying for multiple roles. Long applications with too many questions can result in you losing up to 90% of qualified candidates. To combat this, time how long it actually takes to apply for your roles – if it’s any longer than 5-10 minutes, you need to look at streamlining it. Most jobs only really need a single page application where candidates can upload their CV, cover letter and a few contact details.
Quality candidates spend a considerable amount of time perfecting and polishing their CVs, often tailoring them for different job roles – to then be faced with a whole stack of questions basically asking for the same information in a different format is frustrating and time wasting, and many won’t bother going through with it!
2. Poor communication with candidates
Virtually every issue with poor candidate experience centres around bad communication between the company hiring and the candidate – whether this is a brand’s messaging on it’s website and job adverts, or by being ineffective at keeping in touch with candidates. If you take several days (or weeks!) to update candidates on their progress through the application process, they’ll have a negative impression of your company from the word ‘go’ and be more likely to look elsewhere rather than hang on indefinitely hoping to hear from you – you may be doing your competitors a favour by sending talent their way instead!
3. Overselling or overpromising a job
If you’ve over-egged a role to persuade the best candidates to apply, but when they come for an interview they discover that the job isn’t as exciting as they thought, or don’t see evidence of the amazing company culture you’ve bigged-up, they may feel somewhat cheated and decide that it’s not the right role for them after all.
4. Lack of flexibility over interviews
The passive candidates that recruiters are so sweet on have their current jobs to contend with – time off for interviews can be tricky, especially if the candidate doesn’t want their employer knowing that they’re thinking of leaving the business. Being too rigid about days and times for interviews can put up unnecessary barriers, meaning you could miss out on talent simply because they can’t make the interview.
5. Badly organised onboarding
If a candidate has accepted your job offer, but is then kept waiting to receive their contract, staff handbook, uniform, or information about actually starting the job, they certainly won’t be feeling the love from you, and may be left wondering whether this is a company that really cares about their employees – they may be tempted to back out of it before any contracts are signed.
Keep candidates engaged and informed at every stage
Technology is there to make your life easier, so use it! Set-up automatic email responses to let candidates know when their application has been received and keep them informed on what the next steps are. Keep your candidates in the loop with everything, and be prompt when letting them know if they’ve made it through to the next stage. Even if they don’t make the shortlist, show them the same level of respect and care as you would for successful applicants.
Use an ATS to track your hiring process
By monitoring every stage of your application process, you can see exactly where candidates are dropping-off, allowing you to focus on what needs improving within your strategy. You’ll have access to valuable candidate data to gain insights which will help improve your whole recruitment process.
Be willing to book interviews out-of-hours
By having some flexibility with candidates’ schedules, and arranging interviews before or after the normal working day, you’ll open yourself up to more candidates being able to attend interviews. For the earlier stages of selection, consider using phone or video interviews – this saves you and the candidate time.
Aim for honesty and transparency
No-one likes being lied to or feeling like they’re not getting the full picture over a role. To gain credibility, be as transparent as possible throughout your hiring process – candidates are more likely to see the process through to the end if they feel like they’re well informed and can trust a company.
A certain level of candidate drop off is to be expected when you’re hiring – sometimes there won’t be an obvious reason, and other times you’ll be able examine your process to pinpoint what needs improving. Candidates may simply have a better offer elsewhere, or change their minds for personal reasons that are out of your hands. But if you want to avoid the eye-watering 74% of candidates who giving up on applying, you can start implementing these changes right away and encourage more candidates to stay engaged at every stage of hiring.