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71% of applicants would abandon online job application after 15 minutes, Hays reveals

The majority (71%) of applicants say they would abandon an online job application process if it took 15 minutes or longer to complete, according to a new report published by Hays. Almost one in ten would consider abandoning an application after just five minutes.

The report found that 49% of candidates would consider applying for a role instantly if the process appeared to be simple and easy, suggesting employers could be missing out on quality candidates as a result.

The Hays What Workers Want Report 2018, which surveyed 14,600 employers and employees, found that the majority of employers are failing to prioritise the online application process as part of their talent attraction strategies.

According to the report, many employer recruitment websites are undermining their own efforts on a number of different fronts. 50% of applicants gave a neutral to very poor rating of their experience when applying for a role directly on an employer’s website or online jobs portal. The majority (72%) of those who gave these ratings blamed a lengthy process with too many requirements as the main contributing factor.

Surprisingly, while over a third of employers (41%) are aware that they may offer a neutral to poor application experience via their career websites, over half of employers (54%) are still not prioritising improved user functionality as part of their recruitment strategy.

When applying online, today’s applicants expect to be able to edit and submit their CV easily (90%), save job searches (80%) and receive job alerts (76%). Despite the emphasis applicants place on a simple and streamlined online process, the report suggests that they still value personal interaction as part of the process.

Over 69% of applicants say it is important to them to have a contact person who can provide status updates on their individual application. This need for clear communication was a recurring theme emerging from the report. For example, 57% said it was important to receive confirmation of moving to the interview stage within a week of applying, but over a third of employers (36%) said this process typically takes in excess of a week.

Following the final job interview, 58% percent of applicants expect to hear within three days whether they have been successful, but 33% of employers failed to work to this timeline and typically took a week or more to respond to the applicant.

Positively, having two rounds of interviews was seen as the optimum by both employers and employees. 

Simon Winfield, managing director for Hays UK & Ireland, said, “Today’s candidates are more digitally fluent than ever before. They have become accustomed to doing everything online, from communicating with friends and catching up on news to managing their finances and booking their holidays. As a result, they have come to expect a very slick and intuitive user experience regardless of service or function. Not unreasonably, they expect the same ease of use when applying for a new role.

“Our What Workers Want Report suggests today’s applicants are easily deterred by lengthy and inefficient processes, cumbersome technology, and a failure by employers to adhere to agreed timelines. Too many employers have been very slow to recognise the applicant’s user experience as a key tenet of their recruitment strategy, and by extension, the potential it has to paint either a very positive or negative first impression of the company.  In neglecting to invest in the applicant’s user experience, many employers may be undermining their ability to compete for the best talent.”

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