Employer

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A correct understanding of the application funnel helps employers to improve recruitment efforts by optimizing every stage of the process.

Looking at how to improve the recruitment process, this lesson will explore:

  • The candidate experience and how to leverage it to attract the right talent
  • The application funnel and how to optimize it for conversions
  • Best practices to improve conversions

This article will explain how to increase application rates in your recruitment funnel.

Application Funnel: Understanding and Optimizing the Candidate Experience

User Flow: A Primer

For employers, the user experience is a crucial element to attract the right talent. Online job boards and company application sites need to make it as easy and efficient as possible for job seekers to apply for open positions. Slow loading pages and lengthy application forms can drive potential applicants away. This is where the importance of UX in recruitment stands out.

The user/customer experience translates directly into the context of the job seeker. A typical job seeker is someone with little time available to spend. Also, job seekers might have very specific goals and/or questions regarding available positions:

  • Qualification and adequacy: what is the job and where is it located?
  • Personal and financial interests: how many working hours and how does it pay?
  • Ease of application (candidate experience): why and how to apply?

Answering these questions up front facilitates the flow of candidates and potential hires through the application funnel, thus optimizing the job seeker experience.

Application Funnel: A Lever That Recruiters Can Control

Given the current context of job seekers it helps to keep certain aspects in mind when planning an application funnel:

  • Reachability: smartphones are always around. With such a constant availability and high level of engagement from users, employers have a huge number of opportunities during the day of a job seeker to keep them flowing through the funnel.
  • Mobile optimization: job application sites should function equally well regardless of the screen size they’re being accessed from (e.g. via responsive design; etc.). When this aspect is overlooked, applicant drop-off rates increase. Other equally important factors of mobile optimization include single input fields, automatically pre-filled values, step-by-step forms with progress bars, minimal forms, and avoiding drop-down menus.
  • Logical information flow: applicants do not complete application forms for many reasons, dropping out of the funnel as a result. One way to minimize this risk is by establishing priorities in the information flow: the most important info should be requested first and, in the case of application forms, the priority is contact information. This way, if applicants drop off, they can be contacted later and brought back into the flow to continue with the application process.  
  • A/B testing: the application funnel creates valuable data and can be applied to optimize recruiting efforts. By applying A/B testing techniques to the various steps, employers can continually improve both their candidate experiences and conversion rates. A/B testing is especially suitable for analyzing user behavior on application pages and forms. By comparing different versions of these pages and their interactive elements, employers can identify opportunities for improving the candidate experience.

Best Practices: Identifying and Solving Issues With the Application Funnel

When conducting an application funnel audit it helps to look first at funnel stages with significant drop-off rates. These can be indicative of some type of friction that needs corrective action.

Examples of typical friction points include:

  • Poor branding
  • Sourcing problems
  • Usability issues
  • Ineffective hiring process
  • Unattractive job offers

These points of friction have a negative impact on the overall efficiency of the recruitment process as well as on the company’s ROI. This is why the funnel requires active management in order to constantly improve recruiting performance.

Conversion rate optimization is a continuous process. To optimize mobile application funnels, employers need to:

  • Identify all possible friction points (see above)
  • Leverage available tools for A/B testing and analytics (Optimizely, Google Analytics, Kissmetrics, Perengo, etc.)
  • Create variations of mobile pages and application forms, testing their performance with the A/B testing tools of choice
  • Analyze the data from test results, apply all necessary changes to reduce friction, and continue testing for further improvements

A carefully devised conversion rate optimization strategy can improve both recruitment and business goals.

About the author: Mike Kofi Okyere is founder and CEO of Perengo, a programmatic recruitment platform for performance-conscious recruiters working for high-growth businesses and Fortune 1000 companies. Mike is applying his years of experience in the world of e-commerce and adtech to improving the world of recruitment through algorithms and machine learning. Previously, he served as the head of performance advertising for AdMob (SEA/AU NZ), before its acquisition by Google in 2010. At Google, he drove the strategy and execution for mobile display advertising as head of mobile advertising for Australia/New Zealand, and then head of mobile display advertising for Google Asia. Follow Mike on his HR Technologist blog on Medium.

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