Apr 24, 2020

Hone in on the best candidate

As application numbers increase to job vacancies, the need for an efficient review and selection process becomes critical.

Having a streamlined process to manage incoming applications will help you to avoid what I call ‘hiring fatigue’ and can speed up the process of identifying the best people for the role.

I predict that application numbers for each job vacancy will top 100 – possibly more - and that trend will continue for at least 12 months (see my blog LINK to “Surviving 100+ applications). With this sort of volume, it is still essential that you have an efficient process to review and screen your candidates.

In addition, an average of 70% of applicants drop off between viewing a job advert and submitting their application, due in part to the application process. Can you afford to be losing 70% of your potential candidates?

Our opinion on good vs bad application forms comes from first-hand experience. We see over 30,000 candidates a month through our platform, many of whom are applying for roles personally handled by our team. So, the speed at which we can assess a person’s suitability can depend on the quality of the application form. 

Here are our tips for creating an application form which will improve your time to hire.  Why don’t you review yours and see how it stacks up?

      1. Gather essential information  

You would be amazed at how many resumes I see each week where contact details have not been added. An application form, particularly online versions where you can’t complete your application unless all fields are complete, will ensure you are gathering key information such as phone number, email address and locality. We recommend including a question on working rights in this segment too so you have absolute clarity on a person’s right to work in the country.

Example: Please indicate your current residency status:

  • I am an NZ Citizen or Permanent Resident
  • I am on Working Holiday Visa
  • I am on a Student Visa
  • I currently reside overseas

      2. Consider the essential experience you require for the role

Every candidate is unique, and therefore each resume will be unique as well. Phrases may differ, job titles may alter – what one person calls an Office Manager, another may call an Administrator. If you use your application form to identify experience in key fields, this will enable you to get an immediate sense of someone’s ability prior to opening their resume. You may also use this area to ask about licences, specific training (such as first aid certificates) etc.

Example: How many years of experience do you have working in an administration capacity?

  • No prior experience
  • Less than 2 years
  • 2 – 3 years
  • 4 years +

What computer programmes have you used?

  • Word
  • Excel
  • Xero

      3. Gather qualification details

If qualifications are essential, or even a nice to have for the role, ask it within your application form. Keep your questions specific to ensure you get relevant information.

Example: Do you hold a Post Graduate Degree in Marketing from a recognised Australian/NZ institute?

  • Yes
  • No

      4. Ask about salary

There is nothing worse than finding your ideal candidate, only to learn that their salary expectations are miles off what you were prepared to pay. Asking this in the initial stages enables you to know upfront what someone is expecting and decide if that sits within your budget. I recommend providing salary brackets that the candidate can choose from.

Example: Please indicate your salary expectations:

  • $50k - $60k
  • $61k - $70k
  • $71k - $80k
  • $81k+

      5. Media metrics

Include a question ‘where did you see our advertisement’ so you can build data on which channels are delivering candidates to you and which ones aren’t. Our clients never cease to be amazed at this reporting tool when they see where they are actually hiring from vs where they perceive they are hiring from!

      6. Know what you can’t ask

Discrimination is a hot topic so be aware of what you legally can and cannot ask during the recruitment process. Some organisations gather information for statistical purposes (such as gender, race etc) but it is essential you detail that these are for statistical purposes only and you provide an ‘opt-out’ option if people prefer not to answer.

What to avoid?

On average, 70% of applicants drop off between viewing a job advert and submitting their application form. Here is some great ways to improve your application completion rate.

  1. Avoid making your application form lengthy. Anything too onerous on the applicant usually deters good people from applying. We recommend no more than 8-12 questions.
  2. Avoid asking applicants to repeat information they have already provided in their resume- e.g. listing out career history or referees.  

Finally, always consider the candidate’s experience. A document with 30 questions, all requiring written answers will cost you candidates. It’s that simple. Ask yourself what is essential information to gather at application stage, and only include this in your application form.

If you’d like to discuss your recruitment strategy, we’d be more than happy to talk so don’t hesitate to contact me.

Sharon Davies, Managing Director | sharon@talentpropeller.com | 09 950 2135 | 03 9691 4718