Here’s the Secret to Avoid Losing Top Job Applicants Before They Finish Applying

mobile applications

Here’s the Secret to Avoid Losing Top Job Applicants Before They Finish Applying

By: WorkPop (workpop.com) featured on Inc.com

Published: June 21, 2017

If the best hires typically take the initiative on the job, rather than passively receiving whatever’s pushed their way, it only makes sense that the best candidates might take a similarly proactive approach to digging through job opportunities online. Even without considering superlatives, it pays to ensure you’re providing a strong candidate experience from their first interaction. Today, that means ensuring your candidate-facing job content is not just available on mobile devices, but intended for job seekers who are searching on smartphones while on the go.

Start taking inventory by thinking about activity as mobility. Most job seekers don’t spend all day sitting at a desk. Even the more enterprising habit of hunting and clicking through job sites at a workstation or in a cubicle is diminishing in importance. The most significant search tools prospective candidates use are the ones that let them seize on episodes of downtime or gaps in their day to make targeted strikes on potential job opportunities–in transit, on the go, and sometimes on the run. For you, that means ensuring your Careers page or site is fully optimized for mobile, primed to snag good candidates whether they’re obsessed with zeroing in on their dream job or just keeping their eyes peeled for something too tempting to pass up. According to Jobvite Recruiter Nation, half of all career pages are still not optimized for mobile – a terrible oversight in today’s connected, fast-paced world.

A lot can go into perfecting the fine art of mobile optimization, but breaking it down into a few key parts should help ensure you don’t lose the plot or get overwhelmed. Think about the most fundamental step in the job search process: filling out the application. On smartphones or tablets, applications need to be at least as common-sensical, intuitive, and user-friendly as other channels –and to really hit the sweet spot for prospective candidates, you need to avoid trying to simply replicate that traditional experience online. There’s only so much real estate on the screen of their smartphones, and only so much tapping and swiping they can comfortably manage. Fonts need to be sized legibly, drop-down menus need to fit within frame, and features like “next” buttons or copy-and-paste fields need to be kept to a minimum.

The stakes are high for them and even higher for you. If a candidate’s first impression of your company is a long, cumbersome mobile application they can’t comfortably read, navigate, and engage with, they’re likely to skip applying entirely–and not come back later. But don’t just content yourself with a short application. If it’s clunky and counter-intuitive, it’ll come off as luring candidates into a mess that’s masquerading as a breeze. To avoid such nasty surprises, walk through your own application process, on web and on mobile, as if you yourself were a candidate. Is it repetitive or frustrating? The ups and downs of your user experience will jump out at you, making it that much easier to identity and address problems before they’re out in the wild.

You should also watch your internal analytics. How’s the traffic on your career page or site? How high are your bounce rates from mobile traffic? Those first-line-of-defense indicators give you a solid look at what kind of candidates are using what kind of devices–for how long, and with what degree of success. If there’s a big gap between devices driving you a lot of traffic and the bounce rates on those devices, consider it priority one to optimize your career portal for those devices.

The fact is that top candidates expect companies to present themselves well online, especially on mobile. And because, often, their first serious introduction to a company in a professional capacity will happen as a candidate for a job, you’re well-advised to ensure that your web and online job application process sets the tone for all you’d like to come.

The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.

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