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May 18, 2023

Is your application form annoying great candidates?

In a job-short market, employers can afford to ignore the 'candidate experience' due to high unemployment rates and a surplus of candidates.

We recently encountered a hospitality business in need of at least 10 new staff. They invested in a top-notch advertising campaign—excellent copywriting, striking graphics, and comprehensive media coverage across job boards and social media. Two weeks in, analytics showed thousands of ad views and hundreds of click-throughs, yet there were only single-digit completed applications.


So, what went wrong?


This situation highlights the importance of adapting your recruitment process to suit the market. In a job-short market, employers can afford to ignore the 'candidate experience' due to high unemployment rates and a surplus of candidates. However, in a candidate-short market, where job seekers can choose from hundreds of vacancies, an arduous or impersonal recruitment process will turn candidates off and they’ll be quick to click away.


Right now, most industries across Australia and New Zealand are experiencing a candidate-short market. To attract and encourage good talent to apply, you must optimise the candidate experience—not drive them to your competitors.


Look at your drop-off rate.


Our data at Talent Propeller reveals a direct correlation between the length of the initial screening questionnaire and the drop-off rate. Currently, the average application completion rate is 28%, meaning 72% of applicants are turned off by a company’s application form.


Clients who ask fewer than six questions tend to have the highest completion rates. With 6-10 questions, completion rates start to drop, and with more than 10 questions, the drop-off rate increases exponentially. The business we highlighted, with 35 questions, had a drop-off rate of 92%!


Think about your application questionnaire very carefully. Do you really expect candidates to provide detailed personal histories and sign numerous declarations before considering their resume? While this might seem convenient for automatic screening, we advise caution. For candidates applying for roles like drivers, waiters, bar staff, or cleaners—often using mobile phones and potentially averse to lengthy forms—it’s all too easy to abandon an application process that has too many questions.


The takeaway?


Make it easy for candidates to start the conversation! The job advert should be an invitation to express interest, so keep initial questions minimal—focus on essential licenses, qualifications, and work rights. Once the dialogue is open, you can ask more questions and develop the relationship.


Treat candidates with respect and nurture the relationship. Talent Propeller customers can access reports showing the completion rate (and potential lost candidates) for each campaign. If your application forms could be better, talk to us. We know what works and have helped hundreds of clients improve their response rates. Good luck!