Competition is fierce when it comes to hiring new employees. And while some recruiting techniques can draw more candidates in, like posting to multiple job boards, advertising on social platforms and using employee referrals, if your actual job application is long and tedious, you could be sabotaging your recruiting strategy. 


Research shows that candidates frequently quit while filling out online job applications; meaning job seekers click “apply” but never complete the application. One study showed the candidate drop-off rate is as high as 92%. 

Reasons for such high drop-off rates could be the length of an application or its complexity. Candidates are busy and don’t want to spend a lot of time filling out “paperwork” that will likely never be used. In some cases, five minutes could be too long to fill out an application. Optimizing your application so it’s as streamlined as possible, while still providing enough candidate data, can help improve your application rates.  

What’s Holding Your Job Application Back? 

At its core, a job application is a formal document used by employers to fill open positions. It gathers basic information needed to start the recruitment process, including contact information, experience and credentials. But many companies make the mistake of asking for too much or redundant information that frustrates candidates. For example, a basic job application doesn’t need to ask candidates for: 

  • Addresses – Candidates usually don’t know off-hand the mailing addresses or phone numbers of past educational institutions or employers. Asking them to jump from your application to search for this information increases the chances they’ll drop off.  
  • References – Unless you’re calling the references for every single application you receive (which would be a huge waste of time) there is no need to ask for this information in the first round. Asking for references can wait until candidates pass the first round of interviews.  
  • Graduation Dates – Coming up with exact dates of high school and post-secondary graduations is another frustration for applicants. Who can remember the exact day they graduated from high school? Plus, asking for graduation dates could also cause issues for employers as they indicate age and employers cannot discriminate against a candidate based on age. 
  • GPA – Grade point average and transcripts are another part of recruitment that can wait until the candidate moves forward in your selection process. If certain credentials are required for the position, it’s easier to include screening questions that root out unqualified candidates before they can even start the application process.  

Keep Online Applications Short and Sweet 

Having an optimized job application means using an application that candidates can complete both easily and quickly. 

  • Make sure it’s mobile friendly. Candidates use their phones to search for jobs. Having a mobile-friendly application means they don’t have to wait to get on a PC or laptop to apply for a job that catches their eye. 
  • Don’t require a login. Creating a username and password can get annoying, especially if the candidates are applying for multiple jobs. Login credentials shouldn’t be a requirement, especially since you’ll automatically capture the candidate’s email when they apply. 
  • Keep it short. Make your application easy to complete in five minutes or less. Candidates don’t want to get drawn into a 20- to 30-minute experience, especially if they’re trying to apply for a job while on a break. Five minutes should be enough time to gather basic information and inform a candidate about the available position. 

 Other Ways to Optimize Your Application Process 

Pay Attention to How You Format Your Job Postings 

Getting the right candidates to apply for open positions is easier when you advertise them with clear job descriptions, improved formatting and all of the important information needed. Don’t use buzz words or make up job titles for a description. Posting an accountant position titled as “Number Ninja” or asking for a “First Impressions Director” when you really want a receptionist is just confusing for the applicant and won’t get your postings seen by as many potential candidates. Keep the format of your job postings clean, simple and consistent. 

Use Screening Questions to Sort and Rank Candidates 

Screening questions help ensure only qualified candidates can apply for a position. Screening questions can be integrated into your online application process with the answers only allowing for those qualified candidates to move forward in the process. For example, if the job posting is for a welding position, a screening question could ask, “Do you have a welding certification?” Anyone who says no wouldn’t be allowed to move on. Screening questions not only put the most qualified candidates in your pool, giving you the ability to rank and score them, but they reduce the number of applications you need to report for hiring compliance if you’re ever audited by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs.  

Arcoro’s Applicant Tracking System (ATS) has tools and features that can help you optimize your job application and streamline your entire recruitment process. The software allows companies to customize their online applications to reflect specific company brands and messaging. It will even create QR codes that candidates can quickly scan to apply for a position. QR codes can be printed and posted on decals and business cards or used digitally. And all candidate information is driven back to the ATS. 

If you already have Arcoro’s ATS, call your customer service representative to learn how to use some of these features. Or if you’re interested in upgrading your current recruitment process, contact us to get a free demo and see just what Arcoro’s ATS can do for you. 

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