This blog is part of a series and if you want to read them in order, check out Part 1.


With candidates entering your application process from so many different channels, it can feel almost impossible to control the candidate experience. But no matter where they’re coming from, one thing is for sure: if they’re interested in the job, they will make their way to your application process. The question is: will you be able to keep them to completion? Candidates drop out of job application processes at critical points for different reasons — but, generally speaking, it’s because they’re worn down by the applicant experience. Consider this all-too-common candidate flow and see how it compares to your existing process: 


Applicants drop-off when the process is too convoluted

The first two steps in the apply flow identified bring the candidate into the application process with a clear and logical momentum. But then the friction kicks in. Requiring the applicant to complete the same step twice instantly makes the process feel more convoluted – and it could be enough to dishearten a candidate who is already on the fence or strapped for time. 

If the candidate chooses to stick with the process, there are still several more steps remaining, any of which may cause them to give up. With too many hoops to jump through, on top of the repetitive task of providing the same information multiple times, your applicant pool gets smaller and smaller. 

As the candidate encounters continuous hurdles during their effort to simply get through the application process, the frustration builds. Not only will the experience serve to alienate a prospective candidate, it builds a bias against the employer who is associated with this overcomplexity. Applications are a critical first impression; a complicated, stressful process points to the likelihood of a complicated, stressful employee experience. And that’s not a good look for any employer. 

Perhaps part or all of your applicant experience resembles the one we just looked at. And, if that’s the case, you’re certainly not alone.  

Top five weak spots in the apply flow

While there’s an old assumption that those left standing after a long, grueling application process are the candidates you want, the truth is that top talent is not willing to undergo that kind of friction. They don’t have to.  

Using the apply process as a tool for separating out the most qualified talent is a misguided approach. It’s more likely to disqualify you as a prospective employer than it is to find you winning recruits.  

A study of the application process from initial application to interview conducted by Appcast found that, in the field of healthcare, there are far more walls than bridges. By the time candidates are being evaluated and considered for an interview, only 8% of candidates are left. The rest dropped out during the apply flow. That’s a startling loss. 

Using the apply process as a tool for separating out the most qualified talent is a misguided approach.

Repetitive steps and time-consuming steps are major pain points

It pays to find the weak spots in your apply flow. But what should you be looking for? It’s not just about noticing when they dropped out, but also why. Applicant needs and behaviors tend to mirror some of the larger trends already discussed, such as the expectation by digital natives that online processes should be efficient and seamless or the reality that many job seekers are passive candidates fishing for opportunities on their coffee break. And a successful application process leans on an effective, streamlined system – because every job seeker, no matter who they are, appreciates an employer that respects their time and tries to build positive relationships. 

When the system isn’t streamlined, the struggle of insufficient applicant numbers becomes all too real for recruiters. 

Here are the most common pain points that hinder the applicant experience:

  1. Requiring user accounts just to apply 
  2. Requesting repetitive information 
  3. Excessive questions and screening stages 
  4. Time-consuming process  
  5. Flawed mobile experience 


Key takeaways

For many organizations their default out-of-the-box ATS and application flow means they are presenting candidates with a winding journey that can leave them frustrated and much less likely to actually submit an application. It’s important to go through your apply flow to determine how your organization is doing. Where are your candidates coming from? How many steps are there between apply now and the actual application? How long does it take? How many applications are being abandoned? Once you know the answers, you can start looking at solutions — from improving flow and reducing apply time to selecting recruitment marketing channels that drive more completed applications.

What’s next? Cleaning up your apply flow.

Now that you know the top 5 weak spots and some of the most common pain points for applicants, you can begin to make improvements that match the needs, wants, and values of candidates.

You can learn more about this in the next blog of this series: 6 Ways to Improve Your Apply Flow

Or if you want to read the full e-book now, you can jump right into it. It’s free to download and there is no sign-up required. Happy reading!

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