When Was the Last Time You Went Through Your Own Apply Flow?

When Was the Last Time You Went Through Your Own Apply Flow?

Mike Roberts

application completion rate improvementIf you’ve ever watched an amateur cooking competition on TV, one question the judges often ask is “Did you taste this?” The presence of that question typically means a key ingredient like salt was misused in some way. And it would have been noticeable and fixable, only if the chef had taken the time to taste it. This is a lesson we can extend to the candidate experience in the apply flow on your career site.

Have you applied to one of your own positions lately? An unfortunate truth for many recruiting leaders is they tend to be so busy steering their team’s performance, they’re not aware of their own candidate experience. What’s interesting—and often the case at large companies today—is their candidate experience was once considered good by digital standards, but is no longer packing the same punch.

In this post, we’ll inspect what you can do to evaluate the candidate experience of your own apply flow and how to make it better.

Gap Analysis: 5 Steps to Evaluating the Performance Of Your Apply Flow

The best way to understand the performance of your own apply flow is to conduct a gap analysis. This offers insights into your current performance versus what you might consider world-class performance. If the research reveals you’re behind, you can use it to build an actionable plan for your career site and apply flow going forward. If it’s IT-related, the gap analysis can also help guide you to the right solution.

The following five steps should help you get started:

1. Develop a Cross-Functional Team

To effectively conduct a gap analysis, it’s often optimal to pull together a cross-functional team from throughout your organization. This team should have people with job functions not exclusive to recruiting. Research shows that diverse groups can surface perspectives and results far beyond the average. And if executed well, the results from this project could transform your application completion rates.

2. Identify Apply Flows to Examine

The second step is to identify a number of companies that seem to be getting the apply flow right. Although they don’t have to be competitors, choosing companies to compare to from within your industry may be helpful—they’re more likely working to attract similar types of people to their career site. For instance, as you know, many companies have different recruiting strategies for skills-based versus volume-based positions.

3. Develop a List of Assessment Questions

The next step is to develop a set of assessment questions that will be used to rank and detail the performance of each apply flow. These could be very high-level or more in-depth depending on the people resources you have on hand. In a case study we wrote previously, we shared the questions a leading pharmaceutical company used in its gap analysis of ten different apply flows (including its own). Here are a few samples:

  • What is the navigation like on the career site?
  • Could you easily find what you were looking for?
  • How many clicks did it take you to get to the application?
  • How long did the apply process take?
  • Can you apply from a mobile device?

You may also want to go deeper, evaluating each apply flow based on whether or not it hits the various touchstones of a modern career site candidate experience. These include things like whether or not the company has advanced search capabilities, a talent network, responsive web design, and so on (complete list here).

4. Conduct the Apply Flow Research

It’s important to have your team go through this analysis without bias. The more objective they are, the stronger the results and more realistic your current performance and ideal state will be. Keep this in mind as you ask them to start the process. Using something as simple as Google Forms can help to keep all of the information standardized and in one central location.

5. Conduct the Apply Flow Gap Analysis

By compiling all of the results, you can start to rank which apply flows are doing a standout job, and which leave something to be desired. You can then evaluate your apply flow performance through the lens of this information. At this time, it’s also helpful to pull in some benchmark data where possible. This can be used to better understand average versus above-average performance.

The truth is, what’s uncovered in a gap analysis can sometimes be painful—even a little hard to accept. But it’s a necessary process that too many recruiting leaders are overlooking. Many organizations have been operating with a “it’s good enough” mentality, when in reality the apply flow should be something of which your whole team is proud and continually working to optimize.

Interested in learning more about what it takes to build a modern candidate experience? Check out our new“9-Point Checklist for Building a Next-Generation Candidate Experience.”

candidate experience best practices

career site assessment

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