Why the Job Application Experience Matters

Often times so much focus is put on what an organization wants from their job application experience, but let’s talk about the candidate application experience. More than likely, you have been a victim of an agonizing application process.

The process probably went something like this; you create a login and upload your resume – only to have to RE-ENTER everything into an application that was already on your resume. It’s time consuming to say the least, but not only that – you probably do not even hear back from the company on what the next steps are in the process.

What’s worse is when you get spammed by that same company regarding other opportunities….and still never hear back from a hiring manager. Essentially, it is a ONE-way information stream that does not offer the applicant any feedback, etc. While some organizations might not bat an eye at this process, it is time to recognize that this is NOT what candidates want in their job search.

Hopefully you’ve realized that your job candidates are also your customers (existing and potential).  Your candidate’s application experience matters, if your customers have a bad experience – what do you think happens?  And how do you think they will feel about your company?  Do you think you have a high probability of keeping them as a customer?  Probably not! And that ultimately will hurt your talent acquisition process.

 5 Things You SHOULDN’T Do To Your Job Applicants:

  1. Ask them to spend more than 10 minutes before they understand what your company and the job has to offer them. This is the time to sell them on why they should work for your company.
  2. Spend too much time registering for and filling out a long, text-based application. The longer an applicant needs to spend on the application, the greater the chances of them dropping out of the process altogether. This could mean you are losing qualified applicants – and you don’t want to lose them!
  3. Leave them in limbo at the end of each part of the hiring process. In other words give them very specific information at the end of each step as to what they can expect and what their chances are of getting the job. Giving feedback during the entire process creates a two-way street of communication.
  4. Prioritize all applicants the same. Each candidate has a different perspective on what they want to know about the company and the job before committing too much time to the hiring process. Ask important questions and depending on the applicant’s responses it might be non-negotiable, therefore letting the candidate self-select themselves out of the application process. When an applicant self-selects themselves out, this saves the BOTH of you time.
  5.  Ask your job candidates to complete a boring process and application that you wouldn’t be happy to complete yourself. The name of the game is engagement – be sure you engage those top candidates as quickly as possible!


7 Things You SHOULD Do For Your Job Applicants:

  1. Create an interactive experience where they get information based on their answers to questions on the application.
  2. Use video so they feel engaged with the entire process. Read more on video in the hiring process here.
  3. Create a process that lets you spend more time with your high potential applicants and less time with your low potential applicants. Saving time means saving money! Hiring managers are often slammed with work and recruiting is not always their only responsibility.
  4. For those applicants that are not qualified let them experience a very short, interactive, and friendly process so they are not upset at spending too much time and the ultimate result.
  5. Make sure your application experience treats them in their best interest versus the company’s best interest.
  6. Make the online experience more similar to what people are used to now (i.e., informative and engaging).
  7. Make the process mobile/tablet friendly. Meet people where they are, it’s 2022 and most people are doing everything from their cell phones or tablets.


Today’s job candidate expectations have risen.  Candidates are smarter, more technology savvy, informed and share their experiences with everyone.  In today’s times, everyone is a customer in one way or another, and they are rating their experience, even as an applicant. Make sure what’s being shared out there on the web about your process is positive.

If, the candidate had a positive job application experience during the process, the greater the chance they would refer a friend to do the same. And as noted by SHRM, employee referrals are rated as one of the most commonly used and best methods of recruitment. For more resources related to the candidate experience, see below links to our previous blogs.


Related resources: Pre-employment Screening

Related blog: What is a Pre-Employment Test and When Should They Be Utilized?


This blog has been revised. It was originally posted on 9/22/2017