Employers globally spend millions of dollars each month across recruitment advertising channels to attract relevant job seekers and convert them into hires quickly and cost-effectively. As they increasingly adopt programmatic technologies to distribute their job ads, there’s a lot of intelligence baked into the machine-driven decision-making process that places the right job ad in front of the most relevant candidate.

However, once the candidate clicks on the job ad and starts filling out the application, the experience delivered is often quite abysmal. It’s really no surprise, on average, 80-90% of job seekers abandon job application forms midway.

In many ways, when recruitment advertisers lose high-quality applicants due to a poorly designed application form, they’re being irresponsible. The application form is a critical component of your recruitment marketing funnel – one that must effectively convert a ‘click’ to an applicant.

This is especially true in today’s job market where the crunch in candidate supply has left candidates spoilt for choice. In essence, if you deliver a subpar job application experience, you will lose high-quality candidates, maybe even to your competition.

Yet, most job application processes out there are broken, often in very obvious ways – and it’s high time they’re fixed.

The following are some of the most common mistakes in the way job application forms are designed, as well as insights on how you can go about fixing them.

1. Job application forms are (unnecessarily) long

While it used to be believed that long, detailed applications helped recruiters filter out less qualified or irrelevant candidates, this isn’t as true in today’s fast-paced world. A recent survey reported that of the candidates that abandoned job application forms midway, over 82% stated that the form being too long and tedious to fill was their primary reason for dropping off.

How you can fix it

Shorten the application form to include only the most important and essential fields, and remove all non-mandatory questions. Be ruthless in defining and filtering out the non-mandatory questions. Alternatively, include the non-mandatory questions as part of an additional optional section presented to the candidate after the application is submitted.

2. Job application forms are not optimized for mobile devices

Most job application forms even today are designed primarily for the benefit of desktop users.This is true despite common knowledge pointing to mobile devices as the preferred device type for job seekers.

For instance, mandating resume uploads could perhaps work for a job seeker using a desktop.For a mobile user, however, a similar requirement is sure to result in a high number of drop-offs due to the inconvenience of locating and uploading a resume stored either on the device (which is rare) or in the cloud.

How you can fix it

Design your job application forms to be mobile responsive as well as address the unique needs of the mobile user. In the mobile version of your application form, include the ‘resume upload’ as optional or do away with it entirely (more on this later).

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3. Candidates are first required to register with the ATS

Application forms hosted on an employer’s Application Tracking Systems (ATS) often require candidates to first register with the ATS even before being presented with the actual application form. Such a process is quite unnecessary, time-consuming, and yet another trigger for candidate drop-offs.

How you can fix it

Provide options for the candidate to log in as a ‘guest’ or via their social network accounts (Google, Facebook, LinkedIn). If a candidate chooses to log in via a social account, you could even pre-fill a few personal details in the application form, such as the name, email address, phone number, and location.

4. Candidates are forced to fill in information already present in their resume

With many application forms, candidates are required to fill out the information that already is present in their resume. While this might make it easier for the recruiter to sort through and shortlist applicants, it has the opposite effect on the candidate – who won’t be able to help but feel this is a tedious and time-consuming process.

How you can fix it

Use resume parsing technologies that scan your resume and auto-populate relevant information within seconds and with a high level of accuracy. Alternatively, if the candidate does not have a resume (and if ‘resume upload’ is mandatory), the technology can auto-create a resume based on all the information manually entered in the form by the candidate.

5. Candidate information is not utilized to deliver a personalized experience

Candidates spend a significant amount of time and effort researching jobs before filling out an application. They also share a wealth of information about their work history, background, skills, and more. Most job application forms are static and do not personalize the experience based on the provided information. This is a missed opportunity.

How you can fix it

If it is determined that a candidate is qualified for more than one job opening, based on the data shared in the application, then recommend all other similar or relevant job openings immediately after they complete an application. This way, they have the option to apply for several jobs in the time it takes to fill just one application form. Another tip is to re-engage or retarget dropped-off candidates using personalized ads across the World Wide Web.

Joveo’s MOJOTM Apply solution, part of our MOJOTM programmatic job advertising platform, helps recruitment advertisers design and deliver a job application experience that fully leverages all of the best practices listed above, resulting in dramatically improved candidate conversion rates. In the case of one of our customers, a leading US-based healthcare provider, deploying MOJOTM Apply resulted in a 2x increase in the number of applications – without any increase in spending.

If you would like to learn more about how Joveo can help optimize your job application process, request a demo today!