Test Your Application

Test Your Application Through The Applicant’s Eyes

Finding the right employees can be daunting. Have you ever thought about how equally disheartening it can be to find the right job? I strongly encourage our clients to play the role of job-seeker by searching and applying for open positions at their organization. What they find is often times surprising, but it almost always leads to improvements in their recruiting and hiring processes.

Hiring managers usually do a great job of developing the job description, but they often overlook the application process itself. Having a few applicants who start an application, but then abandon it, is common. But when this trend increases, an organization can benefit from taking a few minutes to go through the application process as a job-seeker would.

With an Applicant Tracking System like HireCentric, you can create a ‘dummy’ account to serve as your test applicant. Some of my co-workers create pseudo-profiles using names of celebrities that include quirky and funny answers to education and employment history questions. You can do the same, or keep it boring, and name your test applicant ‘Company TestAccount’, holding applicant answers to a similar standard.

Concerns may arise about reporting criteria or skewing your data for REAL applicants. It is important that you develop a standard for answering those EEOC and source questions. We suggest choosing the option “I do not wish to answer” for the EEOC and VEVRAA questions; and we always choose the company website as the source. As a best-practice, we also put a note in the applicant record identifying it as a test account, change the status to not qualified, and archive our mock application when testing for clients.

Testing your application process is a best practice, and it can have a huge impact on improving the quality of your new hires. You want the job-seekers to find your open position, apply for it, and be excited about the prospect of working at your company.

Test Your Application – 3 Considerations

Now that you have the basics, and you are ready to test your application, here are a few of the top things to consider when testing the process as a job seeker:

How easy is it to find your job listing?

Most job boards will list jobs by the date they were posted, but most applicants will land on your open position by filtering for keywords and location. Make sure that you are using a multitude of keywords that apply to both the open position and your company. By using specific terminology, you can reduce the number of clicks it takes to land on your open position.

How long does it take to complete the application?

Consider not only how long it takes to complete the application, but what are the implications that arise from an application being too short or too long? If you have a short application, you might find that you receive way too many unqualified applicants. Alternately, if the application is too long, you may find that ideal candidates are abandoning the application. Testing the application to understand how much time you are asking candidates to commit is imperative.

If you find that your application is extensive, but that all points are necessary, it may be time to consider a 2-Step application. This feature makes the initial screening short for applicants and allows you to invite only qualified applicants to complete the second application step.

Are you creeped out by the questions on the application?

Test your application so you can see the process as an applicant sees it. You may find out that some of your questions are throwing red flags to the applicant–like asking for social security numbers. Maybe you are asking for an over-abundance of essay questions. Or, you may just discover that you are asking questions in a confusing fashion.


Download our hiring process questions guide

Visit ExactHire’s Resource Page to download a tip sheet with more specific examples of how to test your application and improve the applicant experience. To learn more about our HireCentric Applicant Tracking System, contact us today!


Image credit: Job Application 2 by T Hart (contact)

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