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Half of applicants give the process a low rating, Talent Board finds
The job application process is still a challenge for many candidates, according to research drawn from the 2015 Candidate Experience Awards.
Nearly half of 75,000 candidates surveyed in the process of determining the winners of the CandE Awards—as they are popularly known—said they never received status updates for their application. Additionally, 51 percent rated the overall application process between 1 and 3, with 1 representing a very negative experience and 5 representing a very positive experience.
The awards are given to employers that exemplify the best candidate experience. The research was conducted by Talent Board, a San Diego-based nonprofit organization dedicated to measuring and improving candidate experience. Talent Board’s CandE Awards and the underlying research that results from determining the winners are eagerly anticipated each year.
Application Process of Successful Companies
Consistency and transparency in the application process are what sets successful companies apart from their competitors, said Madeline Laurano, co-founder at Aptitude Research Partners, a Boston-based analyst and advisory firm. “The online application process was originally designed for the recruiter to help manage an influx of applicants. The candidates, on the other hand, find the process to be time-consuming and cumbersome. Not to mention, they [often] receive little to no communication about their status through the process,” she said.
According to candidates’ responses, they also disliked not having the option to save their application to complete at a later date and not being asked to input their job-specific skills or take assessments.
Additional findings from the research included:
One Winner’s Story
CandE Award winner AT&T realized in 2014 that it was losing over 40 percent of prospects who were not applying because it took 30 minutes to complete the application. Another 27 percent dropped out after beginning the application. “We also knew mobile was an issue, as 40 percent were applying from a mobile device,” said Jenn Terry-Tharp, executive director of AT&T’s Talent Attraction team.
Terry said that the company shortened the application from 75 questions to 31, which helped to reduce the application drop-off rate from 27 percent to 12 percent one year later—and also resulted in a 15 percent increase in completed applications.
AT&T went further and acted on candidate feedback to initiate a candidate pipeline management team.
“This team’s sole responsibility is to watch how long candidates sit in each step of the process, and make sure they are getting adequate communication,” Terry said. “Depending on our process, it could mean completing an application or prescreen, finishing a test, scheduling an interview or dealing with a variety of other self-service items. The team’s job is to make sure the candidates know where they are, prompt them if we are waiting for them to do something and answer any questions they may have.”
What HR Can Learn from the Winning Companies
More communication with candidates, greater transparency, and having a simple and user-friendly application process are practices that differentiated the 2015 CandE Award Winners, according to Kevin W. Grossman, vice president at Talent Board, who is responsible for the Candidate Experience Awards for North America.
Organizations looking to improve their own candidate experience during the application stage can use these takeaways:
Registration for the 2016 Candidate Experience Awards begins this month.
Roy Maurer is an online editor/manager for SHRM.
Follow him @SHRMRoy
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