June 2016

7 ways to improve online applications

The days of sorting through paper job applications on a desk already swarming with files and documents may be over, but the novelty of collecting all submissions through the Internet also comes with its own challenges.

Technology is moving forward rapidly, and it’s tough to keep up with the latest trends and best practices for online application administration, distribution, and management. Fortunately, we’ve come up with some ways to make sure your district’s online recruiting presence is current.

1. Provide flexibility

Many job seekers are scrolling through career search websites when they come across your district’s posting. Can they apply directly from the career search website, right from their phone or tablet? Or do they have to leave the website and fill out the forms on your district’s page? Candidates are more likely to apply if they can do it with a click of a button on Indeed or LinkedIn.

2. Simplify and streamline

More than 60 percent of candidates quit in the middle of filling out online job applications because of their length or complexity, according to a report from CareerBuilder. Having multiple pages of questions to go through is tedious and time consuming, and districts should avoid too lengthy or complex processes. A study from Appcast found that recruiters can boost completion rates by up to 365 percent by reducing the time it takes to complete an application to five minutes or less. Districts should be cautious in requiring more than name, contact information, basic questions about work eligibility, and resume or LinkedIn profile access to submit an application.

3. Make it mobile friendly

A report by Kelton, a strategic consultancy, states 86 percent of active candidates use their smartphones to begin a job search. If your district’s website is responsive to mobile access, that can mean a larger applicant pool.
 
4. Reduce redundancy

Don’t ask candidates to re-enter resume information after they have already submitted a resume file. That is unequivocally the most frustrating thing for applicants to endure, and it is responsible for high numbers of abandoned applications.

5. Make it searchable

Competing with hundreds of other districts for top candidates can make it difficult for yours to stand out. Listing a job only on the district website is usually not going to reach all potential applicants for most districts. Sites like Indeed (a national career search site with headquarters in Austin), LinkedIn, TeachingJobs, K12 Jobspot, and even Craigslist are all places districts should consider posting their vacancies. Announcing new openings on social media websites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram can be helpful, too.

6. Give applicants status updates

Talent Board vice president Kevin Grossman said candidates want more than a simple “Thank you for completing our application.” Updating job seekers at each point of the application reviewing process keeps candidates engaged and less likely to forget about the company and move on to other options. Let them know when the application has been successfully received and when it is being reviewed. Districts can do a little extra by notifying candidates they are in the process of reaching out to their references, or deciding their finalists. Any communication is good communication from an applicant’s standpoint. Check your application system to determine if it can provide applicants with automatic updates.

7. Ask for feedback

The best way to improve your process is to solicit and respond to feedback. People who have been through your specific application have the most to offer in terms of quality, accurate criticism. Implement a process for obtaining information from your new hires and take the time to complete an application yourself.