Recruitment: how lengthy application processes affect dropout rate
May 31, 2023
Viktor Nordmark
If you’re experiencing fewer applicants than expected from your job ad, it is worth taking a look at your application process since lengthy processes have a tendency to make people drop out sooner than you might like. A shorter attention span, along with higher standards of what a decent application process is, puts pressure on recruiters to deliver a more efficient process.
How can you mitigate this risk, and how do you create an application process that applicants feel compelled to complete?
Factors that influence the dropout rate

Most candidates who look for a new job already have a full-time job; if you add children and social lives to the equation, you get a person with very little time on their hands. It being the candidate’s market also doesn’t help when it boils down to which application processes the candidate deems worthy of their time. 

Below are a few considerations that impact candidates’ decision-making: 

Lengthy or Complex Applications

If the application process is excessively long or complex, it can discourage potential candidates from completing the application. Lengthy applications may involve numerous steps, extensive forms, and require the submission of various documents. This can lead to candidate fatigue, frustration, and ultimately result in a higher dropout rate.

Competing Opportunities 

In a competitive job market, candidates may be simultaneously applying to multiple positions. If one application takes significantly longer than others, candidates may prioritize the shorter or more streamlined applications to maximize their chances of securing a job offer. Companies need to be good at quickly understanding how eligible candidates are in order to secure them fast, otherwise, other companies will get there first. 

User Experience and Interface

The ease of use and intuitiveness of the application platform can influence the dropout rate. If the application platform is outdated, glitchy, or difficult to navigate, candidates may become frustrated and abandon the process. A smooth, user-friendly interface can encourage candidates to complete the application.

Communication and Feedback

Prompt and transparent communication throughout the application process can help reduce the dropout rate. If candidates experience delays in hearing back from the employer or receive inadequate feedback, they may lose interest or feel discouraged, leading to a higher likelihood of dropping out.

It's important to note that while application time can impact the dropout rate, it is just one of many factors that influence candidate behavior. Other factors such as job market conditions, candidate motivation, employer reputation, and the perceived fit between the candidate and the position also play significant roles.

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How to mitigate the risk of candidate dropouts

Catching a candidate’s interest is the first, easier step, but maintaining engagement is a whole different story. One way to ensure the candidate remains in the application process is by “making hay while the sun still shines,” an old saying that still rings true, especially for the job market. It means that you should keep the candidates engaged while you have them “on the line.” How? By making it easy, not time-consuming, and by providing instant feedback, both time-wise but also how well they match the job in question. Your task is to collect just enough relevant information to make an informed decision about the next steps. 

You can use an initial screening process, such as Hubert, that only takes 5-10 minutes to complete, and the applicants receive a link to the interview in direct correlation to having pressed “Apply.” Without having to submit a CV or personal letter, Hubert interviews every applicant and then gives you a shortlist of the most suitable ones. After which, you can go deeper into the process with more promising candidates. The beauty of this is that the candidates are already engaged; they’ve put in some effort and are now more willing to continue the process. 

The opposite to which would be if a candidate spends 20 minutes on an application form and receives an email 4 days later that says, “We’d like to interview you, and it will take around 30 minutes.” The candidate is probably a bit agitated because they haven’t received a confirmation email nor been informed that they would have to spend even more time on giving information. In such a scenario, the recruiter has delivered a suboptimal candidate experience which will affect the candidate negatively in forthcoming interactions. 

Manage expectations

The second a person presses “apply,” they should be guided to an application form that immediately states how long it will take to finish it and what deliverables are expected from the candidate. Managing expectations is the first step in making a candidate satisfied with the application process. Let’s take Hubert as an example; when a person applies for a job for a company that uses Hubert for the initial screening, the candidates receive a link to a text-based interview and an email stating how long it will take to finish it. You can even share an individual hiring process timeline with each candidate with the sole purpose of keeping them informed and up to speed with where in the process they are. People care for their time; make sure you help them feel like you do too. 

It’s a give and take; if the candidate feels like you are on top of things when it comes to time management, expectations, and that you are reciprocating the candidate’s efforts, the chances are higher that you’ll see an increased number of completed applications.

Implementation period
Recruitment: how lengthy application processes affect dropout rate
May 31, 2023
Viktor Nordmark
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