While the hiring landscape in 2020 was difficult, talent teams are facing even more complex challenges in 2021. At the end of August 2021, there were 10 million job openings in the US, compared to 6 million open positions reported a year earlier. Amid these extraordinary conditions, talent acquisition pros are being asked to hire quickly, for a wide variety of positions – often with a short-handed recruiting team.
In the 2021 Recruiter Nation Report, recruiters told us that improving quality-of-hire is among their top priorities in the coming year. But that’s no small task when so many employers are competing for top talent and candidates have become increasingly selective. For many companies, it’s a struggle just to find enough qualified candidates– let alone enticing them to convert by submit an application or joining your talent network.
Candidate experience: the key to recruiting success
Successful candidate conversion in today’s employment market requires eliminating barriers that may deter top talent and delivering a great experience every time. In fact, our research shows that 69% of candidates are unlikely to reapply to a company where they had a negative candidate experience – and 69% would also tell their friends about it.
So, what makes a great candidate experience? While there are many factors at play, 45% of respondents in the 2021 Job Seeker Nation Report said that an easy application process was a top contributor to a positive candidate experience. Given that nearly 1 in 4 job seekers apply for jobs using the employer’s career site, optimizing this often under-utilized asset is a great place to start.
A quick refresher on career site basics
Some talent teams make the mistake of thinking their career site is just a repository for job openings. But it’s so much more than that! Executed properly, your career site can be your company’s most powerful recruiting asset and the embodiment of your employer brand.
Your career site is often the first place a candidate interacts with your company, so making a good first impression is critical. When job seekers look at your career site, they should immediately understand your company’s identity, personality, and values. The content and images on your site should provide real value for highly selective job seekers and offer an authentic look at day-to-day life at your company.
Take a look at our 2021 Career Site Lookbook for inspiration and guidance from some of the most enticing and effective career sites around.
How to eliminate barriers on your career site
An overly complex hiring process is the among surest paths to a negative candidate experience – especially when talent is in short supply. The most qualified and in-demand candidates are also the least motivated to jump through hoops, so removing as many barriers as possible will benefit your hiring efforts.
Here are three ideas for reducing obstacles to conversion on your career site.
1. Emphasize your company culture
Despite an increasing number of employees working remotely, company culture is still a key consideration for many job seekers. In fact, 86% of candidates say it’s an important part of the decision to apply for a job. If your company has values you’re proud of and a unique culture, bring it all to life on your career site.
There are countless ways to showcase your company culture. A welcome message from your CEO can provide insights into company leadership. Employee spotlights and testimonials can give candidates a real-life view of workforce diversity and possible career paths. Features on interest groups and volunteer events can help to promote your employer values. And high-quality photos (not stock photography!) can bring an added layer of authenticity to your career site experience.
2. Eliminate registration requirements
Research shows that if the application process isn’t quick and straightforward, candidates are far less likely to complete an application. Yet Jobvite’s 2021 Fortune 500 Candidate Conversion Audit found that more than 83% of Fortune 500 companies require candidates to register on their career site before they can even apply for an open role. (Another 6% require registration further downstream in the process.) To make matters worse, the site registration often involves complex ID and password requirements (letters, numbers, and special characters; upper- and lower-case letters; etc.).
Many of these registration requirements may be hold-overs from a time when employers were in the drivers’ seat. Jobvite conducted this same Fortune 500 audit in 2018, and the percentage of companies requiring site registration is almost unchanged in those three years – despite monumental shifts in the hiring landscape. If your career site currently requires registration as a first step, the time has come to remove this unnecessary obstacle to candidate conversion.
3. Simplify the initial application
According to industry averages, only 30% of applicants who start the apply process actually end up submitting a completed application. That’s seven out of ten potential employees who are simply walking away from your open roles. Can you afford to accept those odds?
If you’re looking to improve candidate conversion and other application metrics, simplifying the preliminary application is a good place to start. There’s simply no reason to require a full application before the applicant is being actively considered for a role. Instead, ask for the bare minimum as a first step. Once you determine whether they’re a viable candidate, you can have them fill out a more comprehensive application in the next phase of the process.
Increasing candidate conversion metrics is no small task but incorporating an enterprise-scale recruitment marketing platform like Talemetry by Jobvite can help. Our AI-powered automation and deep analytics capabilities make candidate sourcing, nurturing, and conversion a seamless process. Add our hands-on training and industry best practices, and you’ll see why our recruitment marketing customers often increase their applicant conversion rate from 30% to 70% upon go-live! Visit our website to learn more about Talemetry by Jobvite.
You can also download the 2021 Fortune 500 Candidate Conversion Audit Report for more insights to help you increase applications and drive greater candidate conversion.