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4 Changes To Make To Reduce Your Application Drop Off Rate

A recruiter’s job is (obviously) to hire the best person for a vacant job. There are a number of steps that go into this process, but attracting candidates and actually getting them to apply are the very first building blocks to finding that perfect person. This can be particularly challenging.


According to a SHRM study, application completion/drop-off rate vary dramatically based entirely on the application itself. We’ve all applied to the jobs that ask you to upload your resume on one screen, and then ask you to fill out your job history on the very next. This is a great example of how to get applicants to quit before they even really get started.


If you’re finding a large number of candidates leaving applications unfinished, it may be time to look at your application process to determine if there are areas for improvement. You can’t present the star candidate to your hiring manager if they don’t finish their application, after all.


Application 2


Length of Application

Just because someone is applying to jobs does not mean they have nothing better to do than to spend hours upon hours doing it. An application is a preview to how a company works – is it efficient and up-to-date or is it long and drawn out? In fact, that SHRM study found that application drop off rate increases by 50% when there are more than 25 questions on an application.


There are a few ways to remedy this. You can have the candidates answer a few key qualifying questions then use that information paired with the resume to decide if you want to go forward. Another way is to consider a video application system (like DeepHire). By doing something like this, you can ask in-depth qualifying questions that the applicants can answer on video, rather than having to write an essay to effectively answer. This will save them time and still give you the information you need to make educated decisions on who to move forward.



Just like the length of the application makes a significant difference in drop off rate, so does the simplicity of it. Applications should not be treated like interviews. It’s unreasonable to ask a candidate to spend hours answering questions that should be asked by a human (likely the hiring manager). The questions should be chosen strategically.


To ensure you’ve created simple, but effective application questions, consider what are the “must haves” and “nice to haves” in the ideal candidate. If a question correlates with the “nice to haves” it’s better to be asked later in the interview process. Also, anything requiring in-depth answers (think, essay) is time-consuming and requires a lot of thought that the casual job seeker may not have time for. Stick to the basics (unless you’re offering the video option for the in-depth questions) to keep things simple but effective.



With so many different web-browsing options, applications need to be flexible. The perfect candidate may be scrolling through LinkedIn on their phone casually one day and find your job posting. But, if there is no way for them to apply on their phone (and perhaps they aren’t nearby a computer) you could lose them.


It’s not always easy to build platforms that allow candidates to apply using a laptop, desktop, tablet, or phone – but it’s worth the time and effort to do so. Today’s workforce isn’t shy about asking for flexibility in the workplace, so creating an application process that demonstrates flexibility will reflect well on the company.



As always, communication is key when it comes to the recruitment process as a whole. That starts as early as the application process. Job seekers like to know what to expect in the process, and that starts from day one. By setting expectations and guidelines, you show candidates that you value the time they are spending on your application, and you ensure them that the effort is appreciated.


In order to do this from the start, add expectations and company culture information in the job description. Implement information about employee value and maybe consider putting in a video message from the hiring manager about what the process is going to look like. Also, once a candidate completes the application, you can keep them engaged by sending automated emails to them explaining next steps. Always be sure to communicate your decisions with the applicant – even if they aren’t in their favor – so there is no room for them to become disengaged.



Application 1


Application 1



Your applicant drop off rate is an important factor in your success as a recruiter. If your application is not set up in a way that encourages completion, you’ll lose out on a lot of great talent. Filling a role is the goal, but filling a role with a quality hire is what determines success.


If you’re interested in learning more about ways to improve your application process, and are interested in video tools, contact (or call us at 330-931-8770). We’d love to hear about your goals and help you reach them.