4 Candidate Experience Fails and How to Fix Them

Improving the candidate experience on your career site might feel like solving a physics equation, but it’s really as simple as removing the kinetic forces that cause friction.

If candidates are running from your career site like it’s a portal to hell, there’s a reason why: Friction. Physics aside, if your career website requires candidates to search for an “apply now” button, enter information from their resume more than once, or scroll endlessly because they’re trying to apply from a smartphone, you’ve got a friction problem, and you need to fix it now. Because, trust me, one inconvenience and your candidate is on to the next one. 

How do you know if you have a friction problem? There’s one metric that can help: your applicant drop-off rate, or the number of candidates who begin your online application process, but do not complete it. This can be expressed as a ratio, such as 80 applications started and 10 finished, so a drop-off ratio of 8:1.

In e-commerce, the drop-off rate is called “abandoned cart rate.” The typical shopping cart abandonment rate for online retailers varies between 60% and 80%, with an average of 71.4%. 

Benchmark this metric using your own data so that you know where you are now, make changes to your application process one at a time so you can measure the success of the change and understand the impact it has on your drop-off ratio, rinse and repeat.

What Creates Friction in the Candidate Experience?

  1. Requiring user registration just to apply. If candidates are hitting your “apply now” button, but not moving forward (drop-off!), something is happening at the earliest stage in your hiring funnel that is making candidates bounce instead of applying for one of your open jobs. That thing might be requiring them to register for an account to apply. Technology today is not the same as it was five years ago and we have the ability to put cookies on our site that recognize users who have visited before AND allow new users to identify themselves using one unique bit of personal information – like their phone number, so get them digits!

    One really good example of this is Spavia Day Spa, a national franchise that is growing rapidly and hiring at high volume. When a candidate clicks “apply now,” they can choose to enter either their email address or mobile number and get a passcode to log in. That’s it - that’s the gate. 

Spavia Day Spa desktop experience.

  1. Requesting repetitive information. If your ATS can pull candidate information from uploaded resumes or LinkedIn pages, but the candidate then has to manually enter this information again, this is where a lot of abandonment occurs. It’s frustrating for job seekers. The same goes for asking candidates to create one account to log on to a careers site and a second account to apply through your ATS. These double logins are so common that it’s a topic discussed at length in job seeker groups on Facebook and LinkedIn. Work with your HRIS vendor to ensure that uploaded resumes or LinkedIn data makes it from the application to your system without manual entry and with just one account creation, and you’ll eliminate two significant pain points for candidates.

  2. A complicated mobile application process. In 2020, a study by Appcast showed that 60.7% of job applications were completed on a mobile device compared to 39.3% on desktop. This means that the majority of job applicants are on a mobile device and if the process is not designed for ease of use and mobile responsiveness, they’ll abandon the application.

Spavia Day Spa mobile experience.

  1. Excessive screening questions. Even though collecting as much information as possible is helpful from a recruiting standpoint, it can also deter applicants from finishing the application because it is too long. This applies to both desktop and mobile. Shortening the application can help increase the number of applications being completed and coming into your system. This isn’t 21 questions, work with your hiring managers to find out the essential questions they need to ask for screening and cut the screening questions as much as possible.

5 tips to spice up your career site - headerRelated Article: 5 Spicy Career Site Tips to Get More Candidates

PRO TIP: Walk through the steps for searching for and applying to jobs you’ve listed on your own career site. Is anything unclear? Confusing? Taking up too much time? Think like a candidate. Do you know that your resume has been submitted? Is there a confirmation page or email that follows submission? Consider the opportunities to engage candidates and make sure that you’re making full use of them. 

We know that solving physics problems isn’t in your job description, but at Talentcare, we do this career site makeover thing all day long. And we love it. Drop us a line or slide into our DMs.

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