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5 Job Application Red Flags Scaring Away Top Talent

5 Job Application Red Flags Scaring Away Top Talent

What do we mean when we say top talent? We mean high-performing employees estimated to deliver eight times more productivity than other employees.

You will agree that individuals like this are hard-to-find in every field. Understandably, they are in high demand; consequently, many are always on the lookout for good opportunities. The question is, is your organization positioned to attract them?  

Think about this for a moment: the last time you put out a job advert, what was the response? Did you get the number of quality applicants that you wanted? If your answer is no, it may be time to review your recruitment process for job application red flags. 

How’s your job application process? 

The fact is that top talent judge companies by the seamlessness of their job application process. If your online application is complex, the chances are very high that it will scare off top talent.

Your job advert reflects your organization; if it is frustrating, it will send off a negative message about your company. No one wants to work in a complex and complicated system, least of all high performers. 

This article looks at five job application red flags many HR professionals make in their recruitment process, making it unattractive to suitable candidates.  

5 Job Application Red Flags in Recruitment Process

1. An overly detailed job description and prolonged application process

Job candidates today expect a fast and easy application experience. Research shows that 20 percent of candidates drop out of application forms that take longer than 10 minutes to fill.  

The implication is that the longer your application process takes, the more candidates will drop out of the process. That means you may need to edit your job description to make it brief and to the point.  

A rule of thumb is to put the essential experience and skill requirements at the top of your list. If the details of the jobs are important, link the advert to your website or a web page created to convey fuller details about the role.  

Furthermore, considering that most candidates use their smartphones to apply for jobs, you may need to reduce the number of form fields in your online job application and collect only the basic information necessary for the first stage of consideration, such as name, contact information, and resume. 

2. An outdated employment application process

If your application process requires applicants to upload a resume and still manually enter the resume info into the form fields, you’ll most likely end up with partially filled applications.

Let’s also talk about cover letters. Do you read them? If not, why bother applicants?  There’s also an indication that the traditional request that candidates upload a resume in PDF format is changing, too.

These days, most organizations request candidates link to their LinkedIn profiles. That creates a faster and more seamless application, especially on a smartphone. 

3. Absence of a compelling EVP message

A hundred and one organizations are vying with you for the attention of top talent. Why should top performers consider your organization?

If your job advert doesn’t communicate clearly to applicants what they stand to gain from working with your organization, you may lose their attention to other organizations that put forward a strong brand message. 

It would be best to consider your job adverts as an opportunity to sell your employer’s brand. For instance, many Millennial and Generation Z candidates value flexible work hours or remote working options. And so, if your organization offers this, be sure to communicate that clearly in your advert.

Put a word in about the uniqueness of your company culture and its exciting mission. Also, emphasize the opportunities you offer for learning and career growth. 

4. A cold and impersonal job application process

Most job application processes are automated. However, automated processes do not have to be impersonal and cold.

For example, if you give candidates someone to contact if they have questions, you can make the process more warm, personal, and human.  

The last thing you want is to make your candidates think that their application has fallen into a black hole. In a survey by Careerbuilder, they found that 66% of job seekers said they would wait only two weeks for a callback, after which they consider the job a lost cause and move on to other opportunities. 

A better way is to be responsive and provide feedback throughout the hiring process. As much as possible, put a process in place to ensure that applicants receive feedback within 24 to 48 hours of receiving their application.

This way, even if they don’t get the job, they’ll go their way thinking more highly of your organization than if they hear nothing at all. Again, this is part and parcel of building your reputation as an employer of choice. 

5. Frustrating technological troubles

Technology should make things easier and faster, but when there are protracted glitches with the online application process, it can cause your company to appear unprofessional.

It’s, therefore, a good idea to test your job application process thoroughly to see how long it takes and how well it works.  

While occasional technological glitches are understandable, take the time to ensure that you and your team keep tech issues at the barest minimum. The following are questions that can guide your proofing process:  

  • Is the job description compelling and easy to understand?  
  • Does the application process freeze up or crash frequently?  
  • Is it easy to upload a resume or link to a LinkedIn profile? 
  • Is the application suited for mobile devices? 
  • Does the application take 10 minutes or less to complete? 
  • Can candidates follow up online to check their application status? 

In summary

 Top talent is hard to attract. Investing the time to avoid job application red flags in your recruitment process is the very least that your company can do to improve your chances of attracting them.