Using an online solution to manage application intake and evaluation saves time and effort, whether you manage grants, scholarships, internships, fellowships, or other programs. That is self-evident! But how can you ensure that you're starting with an efficient application process?
Sometimes the best advice comes from people who have already been there. Those who have successfully transitioned to an online solution streamlined their programs and expanded their reach. Here are some ideas to consider when setting up your online application.
For most Talent Acquisition (TA) teams, the application process is a huge missed opportunity. At this point, they're missing out on a lot of qualified candidates! Because most TA teams have yet to address this issue, organizations that are willing to take control of this process can gain a significant edge.
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First and foremost, you might be asking how many prospects you're losing in this "leaky" portion of the hiring process. According to SmashFly, 74 % of hopefuls begin but never complete an application process.
Candidate expectations have changed dramatically when it comes to application processes, which explains the startlingly high drop-off rate. Today's prospects are 365 % more likely to abandon your application process if it takes more than 15 minutes to finish, according to ERE.
As you might expect after hearing these numbers, enhancing your application process can have a big impact on the number of prospects you can get into your applicant tracking system.
However, you are likely to face a resource constraint when it comes to upgrading your application process. Your team is most likely working on more visible initiatives like career site improvements, sourcing tool optimization, platform implementation, and employer brand innovations.
However, if you can persuade management that it's worth devoting time and money to application process optimizations in addition to (or even instead of!) other priorities, you can expect to see significant increases in application counts.
Here are 6 steps you can take to improve your application process:
1. Determine the quota rates available in your application process.
Calculate your drop-off rate by dividing the total number of candidates who started an application by the number of completed applications sent into your ATS.
Take a peek at the backend dashboard of your ATS or HCM program to find these data. If you're having trouble finding this information, contact your account manager, who should be able to point you in the right direction.
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In terms of benchmarks, SmashFly says that up to 74% of candidates abandon their applications during the application process. If your drop-off rate is lower than this, you're probably performing better than the average (congrats!).
However, even if you're performing above average, you'll almost certainly still have opportunities for growth. The lower your drop-off rate, the more you'll have an advantage over your hiring competitors!
2. Go through the application procedure yourself and keep track of your progress.
You'll need to show off the present condition of your application procedure to acquire your leadership team's approval. To get started, send a review request to your organization's desktop and mobile device, and track your results.
As you test your application process, keep the following in mind:
- How long did it take you from start to end to submit an application?
- How many questions were there in total? According to Beamery, for every new field, your application requires the drop-off rate to increase by 50%.
- Do you need to sign up for an account or log in? In that case, how long does it take to complete the process?
- Was it possible to have some fields auto-fill?
- Could you apply through a social media platform like LinkedIn?
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- Do you have any technical difficulties in your process?
- Is the application process simple and straightforward?
- Did you run into any other difficulties along the way?
3. Make sure your instructions are easy to understand.
One of the most common concerns about the employment process is unclear application instructions. 93 percent of seekers, according to Software Advice, perceive it as an area for improvement.
The job posting itself is the first step in keeping your application process clear and straightforward. Give your visitors a clear call to action. Include a link to an online application system if you want them to apply online. Include the relevant contact information if you want them to apply via email. If your prospects are expected to submit specific items with their application, such as a reference number, portfolio, salary expectations, or references, make this clear upfront so it doesn't come as a surprise throughout the application process.
Candidates should know exactly what to expect once they begin using an online application system. Include an overview at the outset of the process that explains what information you'll need, how many questions you'll have, and how long the process will take.
The greatest method to ensure that your process is basic and straightforward is to put it to the test. Make a mock application and go through the stages as if you were job seeking. Request that others in your organization do the same. It's time to revamp the procedure if you're becoming perplexed (or, even worse, frustrated) by it.
4. Get your workflow out of your inbox.
It's difficult to keep track of the application and review process when you're utilizing numerous tools. It becomes difficult to switch between platforms and maintain everything organized, putting application filing and tracking at risk. The last thing you want is data that is lost or misplaced.
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A short assessment of the University of Michigan Medical School's manual procedure found that email was being used to collect application materials, which was causing confusion.
"When you have a multi-tiered process with stuff flowing in and out; going backward and forwards; things being added and withdrawn," explains JD Jordan, Systems Integration Analyst.
Rather than using a few tools to manage the process and email to collect attachments and manage the conversation, centralize everything in one place to ensure nothing gets lost. Having a single system for communicating with users and collecting, reviewing, and managing applications will save you not just time, but also a few headaches!
5. Figure out how you can improve your application procedure.
What software solutions can you use to make your application process more efficient and effective?
If the prospect of deploying a new ATS/HCM or developing a new careers site platform appears daunting and pricey, there are other solutions. Instead, try improving the look and performance of your application process while maintaining the same reliable processes.
Peoplesoft, iCims, SAP SuccessFactors, Taleo, and other HCM and ATS systems can use InFlight Aura to add a new and enhanced look to the front of their systems. This way, you can create the candidate experience you've always wanted at a fraction of the risk, work, and money you might expect.
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Consider what changes you can make to your careers site, in conjunction with the correct software solutions, to encourage prospects to complete their applications. For example, you could include additional culture and employer brand content to your website to demonstrate why people should be enthusiastic about chances with your company.
6. Organize your present applications and archive the ones
Use automation to archive apps that have passed their deadline to ensure you can discover what you're looking for and conveniently take in the most recent and relevant data.
"Fortunately, with the SurveyMonkey Apply system, we have our workflow set up to automatically archive any applications that are 30 days old, or that have previously been accepted," says The Giving Kitchen. This way, the system is always moving forward with the relevant grant requests while archiving the remainder in a very structured manner. We can still search the archived applications for any information. "This clarifies and simplifies what we're doing," says Programs Director Leah Melnick.
Archiving software gives you the distinct advantage of having old data buried under the surface. The applications and their data are still available for you to use and report on anytime you need them, but what you're seeing on a daily basis is a new and relevant set of applications. This keeps clutter out of sight and out of mind, allowing you to focus your attention on the things that really important.
Archive apps based on your specific program and cycle so that you only see the most critical applications when you log into your online solution.