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7 Tired Excuses for a Long Job Application

So your customer service representative and retail associate jobs have been posted for weeks on end…but you still don’t have enough applicants to satisfy the general managers at all your retail locations.

What’s a recruiter to do? Maybe you should come to grips with the excuses your organization has been telling itself about why it keeps its lengthy, increasingly-obsolete job application.

You say, “but this application used to be a gold mine – ten years ago we were flooded with job applicants!” Well, ten years ago the recession gave you an employer’s market that made it easy to nurture your “woobie blanket” of an employment application.

It seems obvious that employers should regularly evaluate the effectiveness of their hiring process (and more frequently than once per decade); nonetheless, many organizations don’t put it at the top of the HR priority list…until their candidate pipelines have dwindled to a trickle.

Let’s examine the excuses that keep employers preserving their lengthy job applications.

1 – If they really want the job, they’ll complete it.

Once upon a time, this was more true. And, perhaps it will be sort of true once again as economic factors shift over time. In the meantime, your organization–however beloved it is in the eyes of your community–will never be so precious that it engages all of the top talent to complete a 52-question job application in a climate where unemployment is so low.

In fact, according to an Appcast study referenced by SHRM, job application completion rates plummet by nearly 50 percent when an application has 50 or more questions rather than 25 or fewer questions. Others say the impact is worse–Indeed research suggests that employment applications with just 20 screener questions lose 40% of candidates, with abandonment rate increasing as more questions are added.

2 – It’ll be too much work to screen later.

Recruiters and HR professionals understand that if you ask fewer questions up front in the job application, then you have less information to go by when it comes to screening candidates. You may be concerned that it will take too much time to ask these repositioned questions at the interview stage of the hiring process.

However, your lengthy job application is going to dramatically decrease the number of candidates you will put through your hiring process–so, you may have some free time for extra screening on your hands.

In this market, you must decrease your application complexity because the opportunity cost of a long employment application is more time sourcing more candidates because there isn’t enough talent in the pipeline.

3 – Our application “isn’t that bad.”

You agree that a 50+ question application is ridiculous and are giggling alongside me as you read this blog. Of course we can’t expect reasonable job seekers to waste their time on that fool’s exercise!

But wait, when was the last time you actually pretended to be a job seeker and applied to your own company? Hmmm….

Have you ever counted all the fields and questions in your employer’s job application? Go do it now, I’ll wait.

What’s that you say? There are…28 questions for the cashier job at your store?!?

Test your own job application with regularity–at least once per year, if not more frequently, as you notice significant changes in your application rates.

4 – We don’t have that many mobile job seekers.

Should no one in 2019 say ever. You’re in denial about the massive application abandonment rate you experience with mobile job seekers until the Google Analytics statistic of 70% is staring you in your face. Yes, at ExactHire we’ve seen abandonment that high with prospective employers who have not yet implemented a mobile-friendly, reasonably brief, job application.

Remember, an already lengthy application becomes an absolute beast on mobile and tablet views with smaller screens and ample finger pinching, scrolling and zooming.

By reducing the length of your application to appeal to the mobile job seeker, you also stand to improve your diversity and inclusion efforts. According to Pew Research done in the past 5 years, “black and Hispanic smartphone owners are especially likely to use their phone for job-related activities – more than half (55%) used their phone in the past year to find job information, compared with about a third (37%) of whites.”

5 – HR will yell at me.

You think your job application has to be long because Dolores Umbridge in human resources will stalk you if you deviate from the standard.

While certain industries and organization sizes require specific compliance-related questions, there aren’t so many requirements that your application should be painful to complete.

You should absolutely stick to applicable employment law when it comes to questions related to criminal history, pay history, employment eligibility, required licensure, voluntary self-identification, etc. (it will vary depending on employer size, location, contractor status, and industry).

But, that doesn’t mean you need to collect references on the first step of the application. Remember, your job application helps to form the first impression of your organization…do you want that impression to be one riddled with red tape and inefficiency?

6 – Everyone gets the same job application.

“Well, this is the way we’ve always done it.”

You feel compelled to have every job seeker, regardless of position interest, complete the same, one-size-fits-all application. It feels safe, right?

You can have different job application versions to meet the needs of different job categories and locations. And, our ExactHire applicant tracking software makes it a cinch to customize and manage application templates. After all, not only do questions sometimes vary depending on state, but the knock-out questions that you’d present an hourly worker are probably different than for a white collar executive.

7 – I don’t know which questions to ask at which step.

You’re starting to relent in your desire to preserve your lengthy job application. Fantastic!

Now you must figure out which questions to ask at which stage of the hiring process. First, examine your existing job application and consider questions that you really don’t need to ask in the initial step. Keep only the deal-breaker questions.

Deal-breakers for hourly positions at a retail location may be as simple as evaluating

  • which shifts the candidate may fill,
  • whether the candidate is available to work overtime, and
  • whether the candidate has reliable transportation to and from work.

Don’t be afraid to go to your general managers and ask them for the short list of questions that actually matter when they consider someone for this type of position. Of course, your short list will likely vary quite a bit when considering questions for your general manager positions.

No more excuses for your employment application

Be aware of these seven excuses so you can keep your organization from falling back into the trap of the dreaded, lengthy job application.

By regularly evaluating your application fulfillment rates and testing your own application versions for different job categories, you’ll increase the number of qualified candidates in your recruitment pipeline. You’ll improve your employment brand, too.

Optimize your job application

Schedule a demo of ExactHire to see how you can customize and manage multiple employment application templates to suit different job categories.

Release Notes: Applicant Stages and Disqualification, Compliance Reporting and Application Template Updates

Release Notes: Sticky Apply, Job Management, Application Edit Tools and Reporting Customization

Release Notes: Application Self-Service, Emerging Reporting Functionality and Robust Role Permissions for Users

Release Notes: Multi-Job Apply, Application Jump Start, Repeat Job Apply and Never Hire Status

Release Notes: Mobile Application, Dynamic Questions, Candidate Texting and Hiring Teams

ExactHire and BountyJobs Partner to Connect Employers to Search Firms

ExactHire, provider of robust applicant tracking system and employee onboarding software solutions for small and medium employers, recently announced a strategic partnership with BountyJobs, Inc. BountyJobs is a leading third-party recruiting platform for collaboration between employers and search firms with over $2 billion in placement fees to recruiters and the world’s largest recruiter marketplace.

This strategic relationship with ExactHire is one of the latest in the fast growing BountyJobs partner network, seeing 500% growth in 2018 and resulting in the largest partner network of any recruitment marketplace. This network connects innovative technology providers focused on improving the way companies recruit, attract and retain talent. This mix of partners has been hand-selected to help support the key constituents of the 2-sided BountyJobs Marketplace; employers and recruiting agencies. The BountyJobs solution is available as a featured job board within ExactHire’s HireCentric ATS.

ExactHire helps businesses improve HR outcomes with integrated applicant tracking and employee onboarding platforms. Tools for automated job posts, applicant management, and custom reporting dovetail with a platform that eliminates paperwork and task redundancy for employers and new hires alike. And now, through ExactHire’s partnership with BountyJobs, clients can extend the candidate search beyond traditional job boards with convenient access to a network of over 10,000 third-party recruiters. The result is a fully optimized hiring and onboarding process that produces better applicants and enhances the employee experience.

A Scalable Solution for SMBs

“The recruiting, candidate assessment, and employee onboarding software offered by ExactHire is a scalable yet robust platform for SMB and mid-size organizations,” said Jerry Aubin, CEO at BountyJobs. “This cloud-based resource optimizes HR processes into a simple solution for both hiring and succession planning.”

“We are always looking to improve candidate sourcing for our clients, and we realize that sometimes using a third-party recruiter is necessary,” said Harlan Schafir, Co-Founder and Chief Visionary Officer at ExactHire. “Our partnership with BountyJobs offers ExactHire clients a streamlined approach to engaging with recruiters and sourcing exceptional candidates. We’re excited about the partnership for ExactHire, but more so for our current and future clients. This is a valuable addition to our services. It differentiates us from other HR software providers.”

How to Connect with BountyJobs

The new relationship, which marries data-driven hiring solutions and traditional talent acquisition, creates an innovative approach for employers when making critical hires. To take advantage of ExactHire’s partnership with BountyJobs, access the Featured Job Boards area within the Job Board Favorites tab within HireCentric’s Jobs Dashboard. There, you’ll be invited to initiate a relationship with BountyJobs. Or, follow this link directly to connect with BountyJobs today.

ExactHire HireCentric BountyJobs Featured Job Board

 

HireCentric ATS BountyJobs Referral | ExactHire

 

For full details on this new strategic partnership, please see the original post on PRWeb.

6 Ways to Turn Today’s Silver Medal Candidates into Tomorrow’s Gold Medalist Hires

How often have you progressed through the hiring process and ultimately realized that your final two candidates were almost evenly matched–one just slightly nudged out the other for the gold medal employment offer? While it’s great to be in that kind of position as the employer, it can be tough to turn down a talented second choice candidate.

However, these “silver medal candidates” pose a significant opportunity for your company and great care should be taken to continuously engage them. You never know when you may need them to step up to a gold medal platform in your organization.

Have you already had the opportunity to groom silver medal candidates into eventual hires? Or, perhaps you were previously a second choice candidate that was later given the opportunity to finish first for a different role. If so, then you understand that with thoughtful practices in place, your employer can leverage a silver medalist pipeline to edge out competition by sourcing top talent quickly and in a cost effective manner. In this blog, I’ll share six behaviors that you can implement to foster enduring positive relationships with your silver medalist applicants.

1 – Set expectations from the start

So much of the content I write underscores the importance of setting clear expectations in the hiring process–but it’s so true. This critical step begins before you ever know someone will end up as your silver medalist candidate for a role. An expectation that is a part of any respectful hiring process is that the recruiter or hiring manager should tell the candidate

  • the milestones involved with the hiring process,
  • an estimate of process duration, and
  • the method by which the candidate will be informed of his/her status during and at the end of the cycle.

The added bonus of setting expectations well is that this behavior naturally forces accountability. After all, a recruiter who doesn’t follow through with what he says he’ll do is going to damage his reputation, as well as the employment brand of the organization.

2 – Promptly communicate

To reinforce the expectations set at the beginning of the hiring process, employers should communicate with candidates regularly and promptly. Even with multiple job requisitions open and oodles of candidates, there’s no excuse not to touch base with applicants thanks to the communication automation tools that are capable of candidate personalization available in applicant tracking systems.

While it can induce less stress to communicate with candidates earlier in the process, it can be trickier to do so with the final two candidates…particularly if the top pick is reviewing an employment offer you already extended while the silver medalist waits to hear if she is still in contention. If a deadline passes while you wait on an answer from your gold medalist, message the silver medalist to explain that circumstances have changed and that you will touch base with her again in a reasonable amount of time. Then, make sure you do.

Timely communication shows your respect for the candidate, and even if she doesn’t make the cut this time, she’ll remember how you treated her and the resulting word of mouth will more favorably represent your company.

3 – Reject expertly

No one likes delivering bad news, but when there are only two candidates left in your hiring process and they’ve both invested a great deal of time completing employment applications, taking assessments and interviewing, you owe the silver medalist a formal let-down. Call him–don’t just email (or worse yet, an automated email)!

And if that’s hard, make yourself accountable heading into the final phase interview by telling him (in the expectations period, remember?) that he will receive a phone call either way at the end of the process.

Then, also follow up with an email thank you and let him know of your sincere, continued interest in him for future roles within your company. Tell him how to learn about future job postings via your ATS job alert feature, and be honest about how often you might hire for positions that fall into his wheelhouse.

4 – Connect for future follow-up

During the phone call and email thank you, let the candidate know that you’re open to connecting on social media (if you haven’t already) so that you have an easy means of staying in touch with each other in the future. This is a great way for the candidate to be exposed to future career-related content that you may personally post or that is shared from your company social media profiles.

If your organization isn’t likely to be hiring relevant roles anytime soon, offer to help the silver medalist by connecting her with others in your network through virtual introductions.

To help prepare the candidate to go for the gold at the next job opportunity, make her aware of resources that might help her improve her job-related skills or knowledge (e.g. certification study courses, industry-related member associations, etc.).

5 – Nurture candidates with technology tools

Use your applicant tracking software features to designate talented second place finishers as great future candidates for other roles. Use applicant status codes or tags to mark them as “#silver,” for example. Or, better yet, “#futuregold!”

Then, it will be easy to target this group of candidates to share culture- and job-related content with them periodically. Take it a step further and observe how they interact with social media posts and engage in follow-up. Make note of their connectivity in their candidate profile within your hiring software so that future hiring managers and recruiters in your organization have a rich record of not only their potential qualification for other roles, but also their organizational engagement.

6 – Put silver medalists on the fast track

A surefire way to disengage silver medal candidates is to make them reinvent the wheel to apply to future roles that interest them. Consider that they’ve already gone through your entire selection process, so there must be opportunities to put them on the fast track for certain roles.

If you proactively source them for a new position, do the equivalent of giving them a “bye” in your recruiting tournament and start them at a later stage in the hiring process. The one exception to this may be if your organization/industry must adhere to certain compliance requirements that necessitate each individual experiencing every stage for a position.

Nevertheless, your applicant tracking system should make it easy for them to optionally pull forward previous resumes and standard application questions, while giving them the opportunity to answer job-related questions that are unique to the new role for which they are applying.

If they previously took an employee assessment that you use for many job categories, then there’s no need for them to retake it. And, especially if they are interviewing for a similar position the second time around–and you specifically invited them to apply–consider taking an informal approach with a coffee conversation to gauge the candidate’s interest, and to find out what’s new as it relates to the position and their career.

 

With proper grooming of silver medalist candidates, it will cost fewer staff hours to assess and hire the best candidates for the position because they will already be ready to go in your talent pipeline.

Choose Right HR Software | ExactHire

Employer Considerations for Posting and Managing Evergreen Jobs

When you think about where you spend the bulk of your time in the employee recruiting process, is a big chunk reserved for a certain type of position? If so, this role is probably an evergreen job.

Just as an evergreen tree appears green and alive all year long, evergreen positions require a constant flow of candidates because they experience high turnover and/or are positions that a large percentage of employees occupy. As a result, many companies keep these requisitions perpetually open on their job listings page in order to populate the candidate pipeline.

Evergreen jobs and turnover

Sourcing a steady flow of candidates to fill evergreen roles is essential–they are the positions critical to business success. Industries such as restaurant, healthcare, retail, call center and non-profit regularly source applicants for evergreen jobs such as server, home health aid, cashier, customer service representative and direct support professional.

Organizations often struggle with high turnover in these positions due to factors such as

  • the role being available on a part-time basis more frequently than full-time,
  • job seasonality (or seasonal availability of candidates),
  • low barriers to entry that make it easy for candidates to get a similar job elsewhere, and
  • low unemployment leading to more accessible wage increases at competitive employers.

Evergreen job hiring challenges

Hiring employees to fill evergreen positions can be tricky for a variety of reasons.

Misleading reporting

If you tend to keep the same job listings open all the time while regularly hiring candidates, it’s easy to unintentionally skew reporting in the name of ease. While the same job listing ID may remain open for a year (which can save time on reposting the job every few months), it will be harder to report on which referral sources, job description text (if you tweak it frequently with overwrites) and other factors lead to the successful hiring of multiple individuals because they are all tied to the same requisition. A good rule of thumb is to close out an existing evergreen requisition when a candidate is hired for that role, and then use the previous requisition as a template for easily creating a new one.

Job boards vs. organic search

While external job boards such as Glassdoor and Indeed favor fresh job listing IDs that aren’t reposted too frequently, search engines like Google spotlight tenured job description pages that have evergreen content (e.g. new imagery, comments, video, and other structured data). So what’s the right answer? Temporary job listing ID pages or persistent job description overviews?

You can benefit from both. Use your applicant tracking system to refresh a job listing for an evergreen role by closing old job listing IDs and using them as a template to create a duplicate job listing (with a new ID) every 60-90 days. Then, consider adding evergreen content pages within your ATS portal or on your corporate website that

  • list details about what to expect in the role,
  • answer frequently asked questions about the job,
  • highlight video testimonials from other employees in that position, and
  • link to a list of the job listing(s) currently open for that role.

With the dual approach, job seekers stand to find your recently posted job listing on external job boards, as well as via keyword-specific search queries on search engines.

Hiring compliance can be impacted

Care should be taken with determining how the frequency of evergreen requisition posting may impact an employer’s Affirmative Action Plan (AAP) compliance efforts. If the same job listing ID is kept open for an entire year–and we assume at least one candidate is hired from that requisition–then the entire year’s worth of internet applicants must be included in the applicant pool considered for adverse impact. In contrast, if a single requisition is kept open for only one quarter, and only one person is hired during that time, then the pool for adverse impact analysis is smaller which is generally preferable.

By periodically opening new requisitions–even when a hire does not take place in a period of 60 or 90 days–employers put themselves in a better position for compliance and limit their exposure. NOTE: If no applicants from a quarter’s requisition are hired, then the job ID can be closed and none of the applicants must be reported in the AAP data.

Managers at different locations

In the world of evergreen hiring, the location at which a future employee may work when he first applies to an evergreen position isn’t always apparent. And, depending on the industry and size of organization, different hiring managers likely manage candidate screening and/or interviewing at various locations.

Unless internal expectations are clearly set about how managers access a candidate pool that may be shared by different branches, the candidate experience could be hampered by poor communication from a variety of different locations vying for the same candidate. This can be exacerbated in a tight labor market with low unemployment as general managers compete for workers in high turnover, hourly, part-time positions.

Within the retail and restaurant industries, in which some brands have both corporate and franchise-owned stores, careful attention must be paid to limiting franchisor access to job applicants for franchisee-owned locations in order to avoid vicarious liability. When implementing hiring technology in this situation, it’s critical to understand how different applicant pools will be separated for administrators. At the same time, it’s important to avoid a confusing application process for job seekers who perceive all locations to be one brand.

Best practices for managing evergreen positions

Now that we’ve reviewed considerations for posting and managing evergreen positions, let’s cover best practices to improve the chances of your success in hiring individuals for these roles.

Understand what causes turnover

Only by analyzing factors that cause your employees to leave, will you be able to adjust their experience to prolong tenure and benchmark success. Consider the impact of job factors such as your organization’s

  • work schedule flexibility
  • pay rate relative to competitors
  • ability to communicate the proximity of public transportation, and
  • opportunities for continuous learning and advancement.

With an understanding of the primary drivers of turnover, you can re-imagine the employment experience to mitigate these factors. Proactively communicate how you address these items with job seekers in your career content and utilize an applicant tracking system that makes it easy for job candidates to search positions near their bus route. For example, the new hiring software platform that ExactHire is building allows candidates to optionally enter their address to see nearby locations with open job suggestions.

Geo-fenced Job Listing Search | ExactHire

Set internal expectations about hiring efficiency

Recruiters will have a greater impact on organizational success when they rally hiring managers around what to expect from the hiring process. These conversations include topics such as

  • what the hiring market looks like and which factors impact organizational turnover (e.g. what it’s going to take to keep employees),
  • the current velocity of hire and a reasonable expectation for number of hiring processes that can be managed successfully at once (e.g. should we hire more recruiters or consider Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO)?),
  • how promptly assigning statuses to candidates and entering hire dates in an ATS is critical to calculating time to hire and team efficiency,
  • the ideal dollar amount to plan for employee attrition in the operating budget, and
  • how to manage headcount appropriately–is it a set number of positions per job opening or can it flexibly fluctuate depending on need?

Consider job listing duration

Close out aging job listing IDs at least every three months or whenever you make a hire for the position–whichever is sooner. The impact of this practice is two-fold:

  1. By separating batches of applicants for an evergreen job into 90-day chunks–each with its own separate requisition–you limit the likelihood that the OFCCP will take a closer look at your data in an AAP audit because your data pool is smaller (i.e. a separate pool for each job listing ID) and therefore not likely to be statistically significant.
  2. By reposting evergreen jobs periodically with new job IDs, you’re ensuring that the posting date appears relatively recent to potential job applicants. However, even a 30-day old position may deter eager job seekers. Consider including text that describes the role as an evergreen position within the body of your job description. By letting candidates know that you’re always sourcing for this position, they will be less likely to overlook a couple-month-old job listing.

Create a landing page for evergreen jobs

To balance the effects of reposting job listing IDs on a quarterly basis, give your evergreen roles a surge of search engine optimization (SEO) by creating permanent job overview pages (on either your ATS or your corporate website) for the positions that are always (or soon to be) in supply. Include page elements such as

  • relevant keyword-rich content in headers and body text
  • video testimonials from employees in the same role
  • a frequently asked question section to answer common job-related inquiries
  • an overview of the steps involved in the hiring process
  • the unique benefits of the position, and
  • call-to-action buttons directing page visitors to a filtered list of the specific requisitions currently available for this type of role.

Reduce hiring funnel friction

Put yourself in the shoes of a job seeker and assess whether it is easy to find your jobs, easy to apply and easy to communicate with recruiters and hiring managers. While making the selection process efficient is a priority for any kind of job, it is mission critical for evergreen positions since a large volume of candidates must be sourced to meet the company’s hiring needs.

  • Easy to find – Easily share your job listings to external job boards and social media streams within a modern applicant tracking system, but also consider paid recruitment marketing avenues such as retargeting display ads that show content to job seekers who previously interacted with your employment brand.
  • Easy to apply – Utilize two-step applications to allow candidates to provide the basics in the first half of the application process. Shortening an application’s first phase will drive better applicant conversion. Also, select pre-employment assessments that don’t require too much time for an applicant to complete when presented at the point of application. Longer assessments can be utilized later in the selection process.
  • Easy to communicate – Meet job seekers where they are…which often is on their phone rather than a laptop. Incorporate text messaging into the candidate communication process as many individuals interested in evergreen jobs may be screening their calls and failing to set up their voicemail inboxes.

Incorporate pre-employment testing

Know what employee success in your evergreen roles looks like by assessing your current superstars and distilling their results down to the key traits that most heavily predict performance. Then, benchmark for these traits by creating a model profile within your employee assessment tool and use the assessment at the point of application or before a formal interview. To determine placement within the hiring process, consider the impact of a cognitive or behavioral testing tool vs. a job skills testing resource on your candidate funnel–which type(s) would produce the most compelling outcomes?

Nurture your evergreen pipeline

Since employers are always sourcing candidates for evergreen jobs, they must experiment with innovative approaches to engaging past applicants and attracting new job seekers. Create a special experience for people who are interested in being a part of your organization by inviting them to your talent community. These are the individuals who keep raising their hand with continued interest, like your recruiting content on social media and respond to your recruitment marketing efforts.

Here are some ideas for engaging them as applicant VIPs:

  • Use tags within your applicant tracking system to highlight their interest so that you may invite them to apply to specific job listing IDs as roles in their evergreen area of interest open at locations near them.
  • Invite them to opt in to an applicant insider newsletter with articles about new roles, culture and organizational goals.
  • Invite them to join a social media group focused on careers at your organization.
  • Create targeted recruitment marketing campaigns that reinvigorate their interest in your organization.

 

Although your organization has roles which will always be evergreen, your approach to sourcing candidates for these jobs will be ever changing.

Want to learn more? Download our guide!

 

Managing Evergreen Jobs | ExactHire Guide

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