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People on a job search often gripe about never-ending application processes, and I can’t blame them!  When I was applying for jobs, I remember hours of frustration simply copying and pasting the same information over and over, much of it already on my resume.  Some candidates don’t even end up applying if the application takes too long.

In the current applicant-driven job market, it’s a good idea to make it easy for candidates to apply to your job openings.  We can’t afford to lose candidates because of some silly red tape process; make your application process more candidate friendly with these 5 steps:

1. Get It Online

There should be a way for a candidate to easily submit their resume online on your company’s careers page.  Don’t have a careers page?  Ask your web developer to create one – it’s important to have a section on your website that shows potential employees a snippet of what it’s like to work at your organization and let them easily express interest.  Make sure your application is mobile responsive – lots of your applicants will be applying on their smartphone.

2. Keep it Short & Simple

Initial applications should be short and simple. I recommend only including:

    • Name
    • Contact Information
    • Resume Upload
    • Optional Cover letter
    • Salary expectation
    • Voluntary EEOC designation

Everything else can be found out via a quick resume review or a short phone interview.  This way, candidates can effortlessly throw their hat in the ring for a position in less than 5 minutes without having to click through numerous pages of an application, filling out duplicate information that’s on their resume, and getting frustrated with extensive paperwork.

3. Ask for Salary Expectations, Not Salary History

I highly recommend asking for salary expectation right off the bat when a candidate applies. It is an easy way to screen candidates out who aren’t a match by the numbers.  But I ask for “expectations” not “history” of salary for a couple of reasons – one is that asking for expectation instead of history promotes gender pay equality and another is that a candidate’s history might not be a match for your position’s salary band, but they expect a wage that is in line with your position.  This can often happen if a candidate is either okay with making less than what they made before, or if they have the appropriate qualifications for your position but were underpaid in their last position.

4. Make it Formal Later

Some companies include a more formal application outside of an initial online application later in the hiring process that asks candidates for information not found on a resume – reference information, certification and signature of accuracy, background/drug screen approval, etc.  I recommend this – having more formal steps later in the process rather than right at the beginning.  Once you know you’re interested in a candidate and they’re interested in your position, the formality can be taken care of and will feel like less of a burden to the candidate since they have some skin in the game.

5. Don’t Duplicate

I’ve said it throughout this post – but it’s incredibly frustrating for a candidate to have to copy and paste information from their resume or put “see resume” on an application.  If you already have the information from a resume – what’s the point in asking candidates to duplicate that information again on an application?  Anything that can be typically found on a resume – job history, education, skills, qualifications, etc. – does NOT need to be part of your company’s application process.

In our current job market, candidates have the upper hand and can afford to be choosy with the positions to which they apply.  Make your application process as easy as possible for both you and the candidate in order to maximize your chances of finding and hiring the right fit for your job opening.

Catherine Schmidt
Catherine Schmidt
Catherine Schmidt is a former member of the Purple Ink team. She has a special interest in career coaching and recruiting and finds joy when she can connect the right person to the right opportunity.

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