What Your Online Job Application Process Says About Your Company

162571259This post is by Jeff Waldman, founder of Stratify, a social HR solutions company, and SocialHRCamp, an experiential learning HR unconference that has run events in Canada, the United States, Singapore and Philippines.

You are looking for work and have come across one of those typical text-heavy and somewhat boring job postings.   You dust off the cover letter and resume in preparation to take the plunge.  You make the changes to your resume to better reflect where you are today in your career, and to maximize your relevancy to the vacancy in which you’re applying to.

You go online and venture to the career site.  You find the position that you want to apply for and click the apply button.  You are prompted to register with their database—you go back to your email and eagerly await the registration acceptance email.  Ding ding, it arrives.  Great, you click back to the application process and move forward.  You then spend an hour filling out a comprehensive profile, including your name, career interests, education, key skills, job history, extracurricular activities, contact information and everything else under the sun.  You then copy and paste your cover letter and resume into text boxes, which you then have to re-format so the words aren’t scrambled.  You are then prompted to respond to specific screening questions, provide a short essay on why you would like to apply, and answer a plethora of employment eligibility questions.  Finally, you’re finished. You hit the apply button.  Phew!

Tic Toc … Tic Toc …

What happens now?  Did someone actually get your application?  Did it even work?  What’s the timeframe for hiring?  Did you complete all 483 steps correctly?  I guess you’ll never know, unless you receive a canned response thank-you email for applying, and even these usually don’t provide the information you are looking for.

What Just Happened?

What just happened is “the online application process” that many organizations use today. It was horribly tedious, frustrating, process heavy and lacked any degree of transparency and communication.  So, how are you feeling about this company now?  My bet is a little bit different than before.  Perhaps you’re doubting how well this company operates its day-to-day business.

Replicate this experience over 15,000 applicants in a year, with each frustrated person sharing their experiences with his or her network. Now the employer has a real PR problem on its hands. All because of a poor online application process.

The Impact

One recent CareerBuilder study on candidate experience found that 42% of applicants who had a bad applicant experience would never seek employment with that company again, and 22% said they would tell others not work there.  This is absolutely huge.  The survey also found that 9% would tell others not to purchase products or services from this company.

On the flip side, 56% of applicants who had a positive experience would consider seeking employment with the company again in the future, 37% would tell others to seek employment there, and 23% said they were more likely to purchase products or services.

The Moral of the Story

A couple of things need to be learned from this.  First, the traditional imbalance of information asymmetry between buyer (the applicant) and seller (the employer) is practically gone due to the rise of social media and the Internet.  Talent prospects know more and more about your organization, and may even know more than your recruiters do.  Just ask “Google.”  Second, changing workforce demographics and conditions have given rise to the influence of  employment branding.  Work and personal lives are becoming more and more integrated, as is the influence of one’s network on purchasing decisions, and even decisions on whether or not to seek employment from a respective company.  Third, social media has completely shattered the ability of organizations to control image and brand.  The power now lies in the hands of audiences, as brand ambassadors.

For all of these reasons, the online job application process, which is so critical to hiring, needs to be flawless.  It needs to be fast, on-brand, highly communicative and easy.

What steps are you taking to improve your application process?

Talemetry delivers all the tools recruiters need to find, attract, and engage the talent they need today – and tomorrow – in a single, simple and social cloud-based solution. As the leading provider of talent generation solutions, the Talemetry software-as-a-service (SaaS) suite includes talent sourcing & CRM, job broadcasting, career sites and candidate application solutions. Schedule a demo today to learn how Talemetry can help you find better talent faster.

Jeff Waldman