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Want to Find Great Candidates? Three Ways to Simplify the Application Process

Want to Find Great Candidates? Three Ways to Simplify the Application Process

Now, more than ever, people are looking for a job or a career change. While companies have spent the last few months working on strategies for bringing employees back to the office safely, they might also consider reviewing and updating HR policies and procedures in preparation for making good hires.

Why? According to the Harvard Business Review, employers are “obsessed with new technologies and driving down costs…they largely ignore the ultimate goal: making the best possible hires.”

Here are some real-life scenarios and opportunities for improvement.

1) Simplify the online application process.

I understand the need for certain information, but applicants quickly lose interest when there is an overwhelming number of steps just to apply. The never-ending online application becomes especially frustrating when applicants are asked to upload a resume and then enter the same detail manually.

I don’t imagine that companies intend to achieve a high rate of abandonment on their applicant tracking system. Or do they?

In addition, why ask applicants for sensitive information up front - such as SSN, references, and other personal information - if they may not even be invited to interview? Companies should consider asking for a minimum amount of information required for the initial screening. Information critical to employment can be gathered once the hiring manager is interested in making an offer.

[Related: Not Getting Interviews? This is Probably Why.]

2) Look for someone who doesn’t “check all the boxes.”

Companies may be turning away good candidates with their laundry list of job requirements. This can be very intimidating, especially if applicants are just starting their careers or trying to make a career change.

Want to find a rock star? Consider someone who doesn’t “check all the boxes.”

Focus on what an applicant has accomplished and how that experience can benefit your company, rather than on a list of previous job titles. You may just find someone who has the drive and skill-set to succeed, even if they came from a completely different industry or role.

[Related: Changing Careers is Different From Just Changing Jobs: Ten Marketing Tips for Career Changers]

3) Be flexible with “mandatory” requirements.

Nowadays, a college degree is required for many positions. But companies may be missing out on extremely talented individuals with years of experience and expertise in their field just because they do not have a degree.

Case in point: Despite not having a degree, a colleague of mine otherwise met all the requirements for the position and had twelve years of experience. After four rounds of interviews, the employer was ready to make an offer. Then they asked about his degree. Because of an inflexible hiring policy, they passed on an extremely qualified candidate.

Of course, it is the company’s or hiring manager’s prerogative to insist on certain mandatory requirements. But an applicant that "checks all the boxes" may not be the best fit for the position.

People spend a lot of time applying for jobs and preparing for interviews. And more time is spent by employers writing job descriptions, posting jobs, reviewing resumes, and interviewing.

So, why not make it as easy as possible for both parties? Providing a simple and straightforward application process that includes appropriate communication with applicants and some flexibility with job requirements will help you find and hire the right candidate.

[Related: How to Answer the "Where Do You See Yourself in Five Years?" Question]


Veronica Thraen is the Owner and Principal Consultant at Maven Project Management, a technology project management consulting firm in Phoenix, Arizona that helps growing organizations put processes and tools in place to keep projects on track for long-term growth and success. Her leadership advice has been featured by Ellevate Network, The Huffington Post, and Forbes.

Have more questions? Follow up with the expert herself.


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