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Optimizing the Job Application Process in 2023

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Job applications are never easy, either for a recruiter or a candidate. If it’s time for some changes in your recruitment process, try starting here. Making the application process positive can go a long way toward finding the right fit for the role.

We’ll use this guide to discuss ways that recruiters can optimize the job application process. Learn how to simplify job submissions, reduce stress for all parties, and get the right talent to interview.


How does the job application process work?

The job application process is made up of a series of steps to get a person considered for a role. Candidates will move forward with tasks like submitting a resume, putting forward references, passing background checks, and then - finally - getting to the interview stage.

There are a few ways that candidates can apply:

  • Online applications | One of the most common methods out there today. Candidates can submit their information directly through a website or a job portal. Applying online can be pretty easy thanks to things like resume uploads or adding LinkedIn profile info.

  • Paper applications | Some keep it old school. A written paper application is often sent via mail or turned in at an office. It’s not often a popular choice for recruitment, as it requires applicants to fill out detailed forms and adds to time-to-hire.

  • Video applications | New tech adds more ways to recruit. Recording a video interview is an alternative way for applicants to showcase their skills and personality.

How can recruiters make it all happen? By providing clear instructions, regularly communicating with talent, and selecting only the best candidates to move forward.

For the application process to benefit everyone, it helps to simplify and streamline. Candidates will have a much easier time with a lower-stress process, like quick application submissions. And with good candidate experience comes good recruiter experience.


Common problems with job application processes today

Every recruitment agency and client will have slightly different ideas on how to manage job applications. But every recruitment business can face similar challenges when it comes to this stage of hiring.

Here are some of the most common stumbling blocks:

1. Time-consuming tasks

Filling forms, uploading documents, answering questions: all of these tasks add up. Nobody wants to be bogged down by the hiring process. Whether you’re asking consultants or candidates, “how long does a job application process take” is likely a top concern.

2. Shortlisting high volumes of applications

When a job’s posted online, tons of applications could come flooding in. It’s impossible for any agency to manually sort hundreds or thousands of resumes for each role. The shortlisting process for recruitment inevitably results in delays and frustration for everyone involved.

3. Poor communication

The more applicants and interview rounds there are, the more difficult it is for candidates - and recruiters - to keep track of any application status. In many cases, candidates might not get clear information or feedback from consultants, which contributes to a less-than-satisfactory candidate experience.

4. Risk of choosing the wrong candidates

Despite their best efforts, there’s always the risk that recruiters will overlook some candidates. That’s true even when those applicants had qualifications just as good (or even better) than the ones who made it to an interview. And in a candidate-short market, mistakes like these hurt.


Tips to optimize the job application process

Optimizing processes takes a combination of creativity and innovation, not to mention the right tech stack. Below are a few tips for recruiters to improve their chances of success.

1. Consider application alternatives

There’s a world beyond traditional resume-based applications. It might be worth exploring alternatives like video resumes or other screening tools. Options like these can let candidates showcase their skills and qualifications in a more dynamic way.

2. Streamline everything

Simplifying job applications avoids delays and other problems. Recruiters can aim to streamline the steps to apply for a job wherever possible. If you have access to options like LinkedIn easy apply, or portals for candidates to self-manage documents, things get sped up for everyone.

3. Use automation tools

Recruitment automation is a popular means of eliminating repetitive tasks and reducing errors. Staffing tools - such as resume shortlisting software or online application systems - can make it all happen. With these in your toolkit, you can automate resume screening, manage candidate records, and use status tracking to keep it all organized.

Learn more: Top sourcing tools to have in your staffing toolkit

4. Dig into analytics

The power of data and metrics-based insights grows every day. Recruiters can benefit enormously from these sources of information. By using powerful analytics tools, trends about applicants become apparent. And with that knowledge in hand, you’re empowered to refine and improve business processes over time.

5. Prioritize candidate experience

Of course job applicants can’t be reduced just to data points; every candidate has feelings and needs that should be considered during the recruitment process. By delivering a high-quality experience in everything from initial interactions to final interviews, recruiters guarantee an improvement in candidate satisfaction. As a side note, it also improves the chances of getting the best talent to sign for that open role.

6. Establish clear communication channels

One of the biggest challenges in recruiting is a lack of communication. This can come from ineffective comms methods or simply a breakdown in talks. To minimize this risk, recruiters should aim to establish reliable channels for sharing information, resolving issues, and providing regular status updates.

For keeping everyone inside your agency in the loop, consider an omnichannel comms hub.

7. Focus on user-friendliness & accessibility

Make sure to focus on user-friendliness and accessibility not just for job applications, but across all recruitment operations.

For example, responsive web design makes things easier for candidates whether they’re viewing your jobs board via desktop or mobile device. Easier navigation leads to a better user experience, more applications, and a win for your recruitment pipeline.

8. Provide clear guidance & follow-up

Misunderstandings and missed opportunities cost money. Giving candidates guidelines and plenty of follow-ups throughout the job application process pays off in spades.

To start, take a good look at your jobs board and candidate portal if you have one - are the application instructions there clear? Any ambiguity could turn away candidates, which drives down profit.

Candidates could also use some guidance through the process. Think about investing in tech tools that automate candidate check-ins, personalized emails, or other reminders.

And if a candidate doesn’t make the cut, there are always newsletters, job alerts, and other comms to make clear new roles they might go for.

9. Optimize for mobile

More people browse mobile-first than ever. It’s a good idea to consider mobile recruiting as part of an overall job application strategy.

By optimizing your job posting site and other online applications for mobile use, you’ll open the roles there to a broader range of people. Equal opportunity to apply leads to increased exposure for your agency and improves candidate experience at the same time.

10. Empower recruiting teams

Consultants play a crucial role to make the job application process even better.

The first step, of course, is to ensure that all members of the recruiting team are well-trained and equipped with the right resources to work well.

One important point is to provide rules for candidate communication at each stage. By engaging the right way from initial screening through to offer letters and beyond, recruiters can offer a better experience and outcome for everyone involved.

Learn more: 7 things that make candidates apply via your recruitment website


Recruitment technology accelerates applications

While the traditional approach to recruiting is still workable in many cases, there’s also clearly a need for alternatives.

Streamlining and automating key steps in the job application process gives both recruiters and candidates a better experience in terms of speed, accuracy, transparency, and efficiency.

Job application automation software and tools are popular for a reason. With online portals, resume screening, and other elements coming into play, staffing agencies can now handle much larger volumes of applications.

The more a recruitment business leans into rec tech, the more opportunities they’ll uncover to power up their operations.


Modernize your job application process with Vincere's recruitment software

At Vincere, we strongly believe that a better job application experience means better outcomes for everyone involved. That’s why we’ve developed the best easy-to-use job recruitment software to automate key steps and free up recruiters’ time.

Our state-of-the-art platform allows users to create customized job ads from scratch, scan and pre-screen candidates using our powerful applicant tracking system (ATS), manage workflows with streamlined CRM functionality and generate detailed analytics dashboards about your recruitment operations.

Best of all, the system is configurable to suit your unique business and recruitment processes.

Just a few features and benefits of Vincere's Recruitment Operating System:


Want to chat about all things Vincere? Have a call with us to talk about optimizing your application process by requesting a demo.


Final thoughts

Optimizing the job application process pays off in two ways: helping recruiters make better, objective decisions when sourcing talent, and providing candidates with an easier journey to landing their next role.

Recruitment will always be a people business, but tech can help. Automation, optimization, and new technologies can be leveraged to take your business performance to the next level.