Five Ways to Keep Top Applicants from Walking Out the Door

Five Ways to Keep Top Applicants from Walking Out the Door

Five Ways to Keep Top Applicants from Walking Out the Door

You’ve probably encountered quite a few articles lately about employee satisfaction and employee engagement. Both are major concerns of employers in today’s market. Many organizations are not placing sufficient value on the need to enhance the candidate experience during the application and hiring stages. There is a grave imbalance that is occurring between the talent shortage in the current market, and the hiring processes of many organizations. Both the American Staffing Association and the Society for Human Resource Management have dedicated recent webinars and seminars to educating employers about the importance of employee engagement. There is a misconception among hiring managers that this engagement begins once someone becomes an employee. In reality, it begins as soon as a candidate submits an application. In order to effectively measure candidate experience, businesses should map out the candidate’s journey from the job description to the offer stage and take steps to improve upon each. According to Glassdoor, organizations that invest in a strong candidate experience improve their quality of hires by up to 70%. Here are some ways that you can create a positive candidate experience and ensure you continue to attract top talent to your organization.

Consider the Importance of Talent Rediscovery
A major trend in recruiting is “talent rediscovery.” Organizations utilize their internal archives and databases to search for candidates who may have applied to positions in the past. These candidates may not have been a fit for the position for which they originally applied, but have the skill set for another open position in the company. From the first contact with candidates, hiring managers need to conduct themselves in a manner that would make future communication possible. According to a recent CareerBuilder study, 54% of employers re-engage with past candidates who were not given job offers. If you need to reach out to that candidate down the road, would they welcome a phone call from you? It is crucial that employers not burn bridges with candidates that could be considerably important to their talent pipeline. By providing the initial feedback and response to these candidates during the initial application process, employers provide closure and establish a positive relationship that can be honed in the future.

Attract Talent with a Positive and Informative Job Post
Whether you are posting a job on your own company website or on one of the many available job boards or career sites available today, you should approach it from a standpoint that you are trying to attract a qualified candidate to your organization. More than just cutting and pasting an internal job description, you are essentially creating a marketing piece that focuses on the advantages of being part of your organization. Job postings that say things like “No phone calls” or “Do not contact us about the position” create an element of negativity that you do not want associated with your company, and will chase good applicants away. A low unemployment rate, and a candidate driven market mean more opportunities for jobseekers. A concise description of the responsibilities is important too. According to, one of the top five reasons employees leave a position soon after starting is because the job was not described accurately. According to, the best job posts are a balance of the specific requirements and responsibilities of the job, coupled with a demonstration of what’s in it for the candidate. With such extreme competition for talent, your job posting needs to focus first on attracting the candidate, and then qualifying them.

Evaluate and Improve the Application Process
According to the Society for Human Resource Management, 60% of jobseekers do not finish online job applications because they are too long or too difficult. If you notice that your job posting is getting a lot of views but no applicants, this could be the case. A CareerBuilder study revealed that one in five candidates said they are not willing to complete an application that takes them 20 minutes or more, and 76% want to know how long it will take them to complete an application before they begin. Online research firm Statista revealed that more than 90% of jobseekers used their mobile phones to search for jobs. If your company’s job site or job application is not mobile-friendly, it is highly likely that you are missing out on a large percentage of applicants. There is a false belief among some employers that an exhaustive process will weed out candidates who aren’t dedicated to acquiring a position. Top candidates have a great deal of leverage in today’s market and are less likely to endure a long or cumbersome application process.

Minimize lengthy hiring process
Maintaining contact with candidates during the process is a very effective way to ensure that they don’t drop off. But a long hiring process could be costing you top talent. Once you’ve narrowed down your candidate choices to the top three (our recruiters recommend three final candidates to whom you would be willing to extend an offer), you will need to ensure that you do not prolong the process. The top two obstacles to hiring in most organizations according to a Glassdoor recruiting statistics article  are a shortage of candidates (31%) and lengthy hiring practices (27%). In addition to the negative side effects of a long hiring process for the candidate, there are adverse effects to your business as well. Because candidates can submit reviews about their hiring experience to websites like Glassdoor, your company may earn a reputation as slow decision makers, and deter future applicants from applying.  According to Statistic Brain, the average time it takes to hear back from an employer regarding their hiring decision is 8 days.

Establish communication immediately and continue it throughout the process
One of the most common complaints that recruiters hear from candidates has to do with the lack of follow up on the part of employers and hiring managers, especially after the submission of a resume or application. Candidates apply to open positions only to have their resumes end up in the so-called “black hole.” The most in-demand candidates want employers to show as much interest in them as they show in a potential employer. Follow-up is integral to demonstrating that interest. Applicants should receive some type of communication from the organization throughout each step of the process to ensure engagement and limit drop off. This can be done through an automated reply system, or an administrative assistant to give it a more human touch. According to CareerBuilder, 66% of candidates will not wait longer than two weeks to hear back after a job submission. Given the skills gap and the increased level of competition to secure top talent, most qualified candidates will already have found another position within two weeks if you have not contacted them.

Why Should You Care?
The average length of an interview as reported by Statistic Brain is 40 minutes, and typical length of a job search is 16.9 weeks. A candidate post shared on LinkedIn Pulse stipulates that it takes 30 minutes to an hour to apply for one online job application. Candidates who are spending a great deal of time and effort to become part of your organization are deserving of basic feedback and communication for those efforts. Besides the fact that candidates are able to share their experience with thousands of people thanks to social media, there is also the idea that those candidates are potential customers or clients. Presenting your organization as one who values every type of interaction provides enormous value to your brand and reputation in the community. Changing jobs is among the top 20 most stressful life events a human being can experience. Employers who are able to demonstrate some empathy when it comes to this process, largely in the form of good communication and follow up, are much more likely to continue to attract top talent.

Employers who truly wish to create a positive candidate experience should examine each step of the hiring process and identify those problem areas. One way to do this is through a focus group. Conduct a survey of those applicants who have gone through the process. Establish those steps where improvement is necessary and develop problem-solving methods to correct the issues. Standardizing the hiring process within your organization and closing the loop on the application process ensures that every candidate receives a fair, respectful and positive experience. Organizations that prioritize the candidate experience will enjoy benefits that are both far reaching and ongoing.

Bradley Staffing Group is a full-service staffing firm based in Wayne, PA. We are committed to matching A-level talent with best-in-class businesses. Our knowledgeable and well-trained staff brings a combined 70+ years of staffing experience to our clients and candidates alike.

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