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How to Modify Your Job Application to Increase Applicant Volume

Reducing friction in the application process can have a drastic impact on the number of applications you receive.
Collie King

This is the fourth post in a five-part series on the pre-hire process in high-turnover industries. Our data comes primarily from helping post over 1,000,000 jobs in the building services, janitorial, and security industries.

We’ve talked at length about the in-person interview and the phone screen. The application itself is equally as critical as these phases and is often a big reason for low applicant volume.

The best explanation for this is that most traditional job application templates are long, cumbersome, and unnecessarily ask difficult questions.

The number one way to increase your applicant volume immediately is to reduce friction in the application process. Your application should be extremely easy to complete. If it’s not, you’re going to lose a lot of potentially good candidates along the way.

Keep your application no more than one page in length and use the following formatting and tips to increase your applicant volume.

Section One: Basic Information

This is standard information and quite obvious, but only include the information you absolutely need. Items to include in this section:

  • Personal Information: Only ask for one phone number and one street address.
  • Education: Reduce the fat on this section by simply including a checkbox of “highest level of education completed.” This is usually all you need to know.

Section Two: Job-Specific Questions

This is arguably the most important thing to include in the job application, but we see many companies reserve these for the phone screen. These questions are simple, low-commitment questions that require a checkbox or a quick answer.

Placing these at the top of the application will generate micro-commitments from the applicant and make them feel like they’ve gotten far along in the process. This will lead to a greater likelihood of them completing the laborious job history section

  • Physical Requirements
  • Proximity to Job
  • Salary Requirements
  • Employment Eligibility
  • Certifications, equipment experience, etc.
  • Work shift availability

This also opens up room in the phone screen to connect with the applicant on a personal level and gain trust. Now that you know they’re capable of doing the job, OK with pay, and live within close proximity of the job, you can use the phone screen in a much different way.

Section Three: Job History

Traditionally, a written application will have room for three previous jobs. This places unnecessary pressure on the candidate and is a common place for them to stop the process.

You only need to know whether or not they’ve held a job before, and in many cases you don’t even need that; so why ask?

The main reasons we see job history as the biggest stumbling block for applicants are:

  • Previous employer’s phone number and address. More often than not, this is useless information. Yet, it’s a real stumbling block as they feel the need to find this information for you. If they can’t easily find it, they’ll stop the process.
  • Exact Dates of Previous Employment. It can be quite difficult to remember the exact dates you were employed. Do you care to have this information in the first place?
  • Can We Contact Your Manager? Most companies we work with never actually contact the manager at the previous place of employment for an applicant. This question can commonly create a lot of stress especially if that applicant didn’t have a great relationship with their previous manager. If you’re not going to contact them - don’t ask!

Virtually every company hiring low-skilled employees believes they need more applicants, but few think about what they’re actually asking on the application. By reducing friction points on the application, you will improve your applicant volume and not spend money doing it.

Ready for Part Five of the series? Click here → Mastering Messaging in Your Recruiting Process.

Perfecting the Pre-Hire Process Webinar

If you've found this series helpful, we invite you to watch a replay of our webinar where we went even more in-depth on each phase of the pre-hire process. Join our CEO, Collie King, as he dissects each stage of the applicant funnel to help you identify which parts of the process you need to improve.

In the webinar, you'll learn:

  1. How to leverage your pre-hire process as a key strategy in scaling your business.
  2. Which numbers to track in your pre-hire process and why.
  3. How to build trust with applicants and make them want to work for you.
  4. How to generate more applicants, more interviews, and more accepted offers.

Click Here to Access the Webinar

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