Published on October 14th, 2012 | by Amy Edwards2
Not Getting Your Ideal Candidates? Your Job Application Form Could Be To Blame!
By Amy @BubbleJobs
Finding the ideal candidates in this day and age is tricky. OK, so unemployment might be near an all-time high at the moment but unfortunately, when the applicants you’re getting just aren’t right or qualified for the job in question, that doesn’t really help.
Here at Bubble, thanks to our background in recruitment, we know all the tricks of the trade when it comes to finding applicants and over the last few months we’ve seen a big increase in the use of one method in particular – job application forms.
Used by both specialist recruiters and direct employers during the recruitment process, job application forms are normally used in place of the traditional CV to outline who the candidate is, what their background is and where their skills lie. Now, here at Bubble we can see the point of job application forms from a recruiter point of view – they’re long and incredibly detailed so they help to save you a lot of time and help to test the commitment of the applicant – but are they always worth it?
If we turn things around and look at it from a candidate point of view, job application forms can be… well, a bit of a pain in the backside. They’re long, complicated and extensive – and after completing them you can feel as exhausted as if you’d just ran a marathon (yes, really!). The problem is that they take so much time and effort to complete – time and effort that most candidates struggle to find (particularly if they already have a full-time job).
Yes, OK, they do test the commitment of a job seeker (they wouldn’t fill it in if they didn’t want the job) but they can also be extremely off-putting, particularly if the candidate is just ‘testing the water’ to see what’s out there and where they stand in the current market. The thing is, it’s not that job seekers are lazy but they’re often incredibly pushed for time and the thought of filling in an application form which asks them soul-searching questions like “Can you outline in detail a situation where you’ve experienced and dealt with conflict in the workplace?” can seem just too overwhelming so they don’t even attempt it. What’s more, they might not want to fill out an application form because they’re not sure they have the right skills in the first place so they don’t really want to potentially waste an hour or two of their time if they’re not going to get anywhere.
The annoying thing is, this candidate might be just what you’re looking for but you’re immediately alienating them with your long, complex application form which resembles something from the Lord Of The Rings trilogy.
Similarly, job seekers don’t want to be pushed from pillar (a jobs board) to post (your application form on your own site) when they apply for a new job. They want the process to be quick, easy and as pain-free as possible – they don’t want to have to go from A to B only to be told they have to go to C to fill the form in to then send it to D – it’s just unnecessarily long and convoluted.
Job application forms obviously serve a purpose from a time-saving/compliance recruitment perspective but when you’re only getting five applicants compared to 25+ when you use the traditional CV method, you have to ask yourself if it’s really worth it (particularly when you know your job ad has had over 100 views). One solution might be to ask candidates to send in their CV then hit them with a job application form once you’ve identified they have the right skills/experience for the role. This way, you’ll still get the job application forms filled in but only by relevant candidates that you’d actually be willing to consider for the role – and the candidate will be more likely to fill the form in (and fill it in well) because they’ll know they’re a step closer to the prize.
What are your thoughts? Are you having great success with your job application forms or are they missing the mark? Similarly, from a job seeker point of view, how do you feel about job application forms? Are they really worth the effort? Leave us a comment below!