Recruitment Tips, Employer Trends, and Hiring Insights from CareerBuilder

Talent Acquisition

The Surprising Reason You’re Not Getting the Candidates You Need

You don’t get it. You’re doing everything right: You’re offering a great job with a great company, you’ve ensured your job advertising placement is targeting the right group of candidates, and you’re positive you’re offering the most competitive salary. Even your job posting is flawless.

And yet, the job applications just aren’t flowing in the way they should. So what gives?

The truth is, while you might be doing everything right to attract the right job candidates and compel them to apply to your job opportunities, it might just be what happens after they hit “apply now” that’s the source of your troubles. 

Research shows that 34 percent of candidates who try to apply for jobs don’t complete the application process – simply because the application process is too much of a hassle.

(Think about it. Have you ever tried to enter a contest online only to find that the registration process is more trouble than the prize is worth? Applying to a job online can be just as frustrating. The more hoops you make candidates jump through just to apply, the less likely they are to complete the application process.)

According to CareerBuilder internal data, the top two reasons candidates gave for failing to complete the application process were due to usability issues and time constraints:

  • 24 percent of candidates don’t apply to jobs because the “Apply Now” link is broken.
  • 21 percent believe that the long application process isn’t worth their time.

The good news is that fixing your job application process to end candidate drop-off is a relatively easy fix. The hard part, however, comes with discerning exactly where and why candidates are dropping off in the first place – an effort that will inevitably require some data analysis.

While your current applicant tracking system might be able to offer some insight as to what you need to change or enhance about your application process, you might find you need the help of a third party that can offer objective analysis and insights.  CareerBuilder’s Applicant Experience offering, for example, gives insight into your application process by tracking candidates and surveying them within 24 hours of an interaction with your Job Posting, and then again a month later.

Not only will an external resource help you uncover holes your internal team is likely to overlook, but you’ll benefit from the expert solutions to create a better recruitment process overall.  It’s an investment up front, but one that will ultimately save you time and money (and frustration).

How often do you evaluate your organization’s application process?

Mary Lorenz

About Mary Lorenz

Mary is a copywriter for CareerBuilder, specializing in B2B marketing and corporate recruiting best practices and social media. In addition to creating copy for corporate advertising and marketing campaigns, she researches and writes about employee attraction, engagement and retention. Whenever possible, she makes references to pop culture. Sometimes, those references are even relevant. A New Orleans native, Mary now lives in Chicago, right down the street from the best sushi place in the city. It's awesome.

A prime example of a painfully tedious job application process is Taleo.  I have had so many versions of my resume and NONE of them have been parsed correctly.

When I requested Taleo informally for the format of the ideal resume, I was told that it was proprietary information and that it could not be shared.

Meanwhile, I don't apply to any positions using Taleo.


@tydus_it we help smoothing the process as we spotted the exact same pain for technical profiles


I'd say I've done this before, but it's not the normal reason I don't follow through with applying. Most never make it to this point. Things that normally knock out jobs for me:1. Poorly written job prerequisites. I cannot have 10 years experience in Server 2008, it's only four years old (as an example). Contradictions in the job requirements (e.g. degree required in one section, not required in another). I view a job listing as a presentation of your company, and if it's sloppy I view that as a window into how things run in your organization. 2. Unrealistic job prerequisites. I've seen so many jobs with listings of 10 years experience in technology X, 8 years in Y, 15 years in Z, etc, plus certifications. Someone with 10 years+ experience in 10 different technologies plus five high end certs is not going to be applying to most of the businesses I see these requirements on.. If that person even exists. Once again, this could be my first impression of your company. If the initial job requirements are not realistic, why would I expect the day to day work expectations to be? This also holds true for the application process mentioned in your article. if the application process is a long, drawn out, annoying wad of red tape that is what I would expect my daily life to be working for you.3. Tell me about your benefits, and give a salary range in the listing. "Competitive" and "Industry Standard" mean nothing to me. Salary doesn't need to be exact, but throw a range out there. It lets me know I'm in the ball park. The more information I have about the great benefits (if they are really great) the more likely I am to apply. Pitch your company to me, I'm all ears.I know a lot of people look at interviewing as stressful and focused on the candidate, however I view it as a two way street. On top of the candidate putting on his A game for the interview, the company needs to put on theirs. I've turned down job offers because even though a company wanted to hire me, I wasn't comfortable in the climate they presented in the interview or didn't really feel I fit in with their team as much as they thought I would.A candidate needs to interview an employer just as much as the other way around. This is the main reason I stopped part way through the application process.


@billjarrett Thanks for the insight, Bill. Great points - and you're absolutely right, companies expect job seekers to bring their A game to interviews, so they should hold themselves to the same standards. The same goes for how they present themselves 'on paper' in the job listing. We've discussed before on The Hiring Site the importance of creating clearly written job postings, but the point cannot be overcommunicated.


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