There’s a mutual understanding between hiring managers and candidates that the hiring process is no fun for anyone involved. It’s inevitable that parts of the process will be difficult, tedious, and just a drag in general.
We’ve said this plenty of times before, but the job market is currently experiencing a reckoning. Suddenly, job seekers have a lot more power, and those doing the hiring have much less. This means that some of the tedium that was once considered normal is potentially driving away top talent. If you don’t want to see your talent pool dry up, you’re going to have to make some big changes to your hiring process.
It’s crucial to find possible pain points in your application process. Being aware of these things gives you the opportunity to fix them and to streamline hiring in general. While changing some of these things will require effort on your part, doing so will also give you an advantage over your competitors. And when there’s a “worker shortage,” you need every advantage you can get.
With all that said, here are four pet peeves that applicants have about the job application process.
Asking applicants to submit a digital application and resume that are basically copies of the same thing
Too many companies ask applicants to fill out an online application, which asks them to give the exact same information that’s already listed on their resume. These applicants are then asked to submit a resume on top of the application they’ve already filled out.
This is something that job seekers complain about all the time. In fact, we can’t even count the amount of viral posts we’ve seen about it in our social media feeds. Applicants absolutely hate this, and forcing them to jump through these maddening hoops will oftentimes send them running away screaming. Okay, not literally, but it’s not uncommon for people to get halfway through the application process before getting so frustrated with the process that they give up. In fact, there was a study by CareerBuilder that determined about 60% of applicants give up before completing a job application.
So why does this happen? Well, the Pongo Resume blog lists a few reasons a company might ask for both a resume and an application. But if you look at the list, one thing becomes clear: Companies ask for an application because the information on a resume might not be complete enough. The question then becomes: If you don’t think a resume is going to give you the information you need, why do you ask for it?
Asking for both a resume and an application, when information is virtually the same across both, strikes applicants as sloppy and needlessly tedious. It makes your company seem disorganized, and it signals to potential talent that you expect your employees to jump through a lot of hoops and engage in excessive amounts of busywork. In short, this makes your organization look bad, and it leaves a negative impression on your applicants.
Making applicants apply multiple times for the same position
There are job seeking websites, such as Indeed, that require you to submit an application to a job you’re interested in. Once that process is over, you are taken to a company’s website, where you’re asked to apply to the same position all over again.
We understand how this happens: One part of the process is handled by the hiring website, and the other is handled by the company that is hiring. These two entities might not be communicating with each other, so the process gets duplicated across both.
If you’re looking to hire and you’re using external hiring websites, you should always have an expert go through the hiring process to see if they can pinpoint any trouble points. If a hiring website asks for a full application, you should see if you can leverage this application for your own purposes. You could also ask the website to skip this step if you’d rather handle your applications yourself, and you could simply decide not to work with hiring websites that aren’t willing to work with you to streamline this process.
The important takeaway here is that, as a hiring manager, you should be familiar with the entire hiring process. You should know where the pain points are, and you should be willing to look into solutions. You need to be willing to go through this process yourself so you can find snags before potential applicants do.
Talking about salary too early in the application process
A lot of employers jump the gun when it comes to salary negotiation. In fact, some organizations use the salary discussion as a way to eliminate candidates right off the bat. Your candidates know this, which makes the conversation incredibly uncomfortable when it starts too early.
There’s an article on LinkedIn called “My Biggest Pet Peeve in the Hiring Process,” and can you guess what pet peeve they’re talking about? Spoiler alert: It’s talking about salary too early!
One thing that hiring managers don’t consider is that applicants have a shifting and variable target salary range. Their salary expectation change from company to company, and those expectations will be adjusted based on the amount of responsibility the applicant will be given if hired. If you open up this can of worms before the candidate has gotten a feel for these things, you’re forcing them to decide on a hard number without giving them the information they need to do so. To applicants, this can feel like being bullied, and many applicants see it as a huge red flag.
We’ve given guidance for job seekers on when to talk about salary, and we think similar rules of thumb apply to the hiring side of the equation as well. Give your applicants time to work out some of the details before forcing them to talk about salary.
Ignoring mobile devices
It’s important to keep in mind that younger applicants grew up with smartphones, and they tend to access the internet via mobile devices rather than a personal computer. So if your application process is online, you need to make sure it works on mobile devices.
There’s a base level of functionality that many companies shoot for, but few consider things like how much longer an application appears on a phone’s tiny screen than on a much wider laptop screen. Forms that seem relatively painless on a computer might turn into sprawling odysseys that would make even the great poet Homer recoil in disgust.
We mentioned in a previous section that you should always go through your hiring process yourself to see if you can find any pain points. You also need to do this on a mobile device. Look for places that might cause applicants to give up, and see if you can streamline those to make them easier for potential candidates.
We’ve heard a lot of grumbling about the “worker shortage,” but we’ve heard very little talk about streamlining your hiring process in response. We can’t help but think that the hiring process has become so exclusive and repulsive that people simply don’t want to deal with it anymore. And when the talent pool has all the power, they don’t have to. If you don’t work to streamline your hiring process, you’re going to be sending your best potential talent to your competitors.
The bottom line: You need to find the stumbling blocks in your application process and remove them, otherwise they’ll prevent some of the most talented applicants from ever completing the process.