Attention spans and the application process…

Attention spans and the application process…

How long is too long, when it comes to applying for a job? Wouldn’t you think, when it comes to making the next move in your career, time is of little consequence?

Apparently, it is. According to research, a whole third of applicants who spy your carefully-worded, appropriately-thought-out job advertisement will only complete it if they can do so within fifteen minutes. The perfect role, it may be, but for them, twenty minutes is too long to wait for it.

Some companies are taking steps to match the attention span of today’s job-seekers. Netflix is the fastest, according to recruitment specialist Kate Smedley; applying for a job with them takes a candidate one whole minute. Their form contains only five screening questions. Amazon and Google are following suit, with similar streamlined application processes.

The resubmitting of information a candidate has already entered is apparently a huge turn-off for today’s top talent. Kate’s advice is to offer a one-click-apply option, as well as an efficient filtering process.

According to Microsoft, the digital world has reduced our attention span to eight seconds. Eight seconds! Monique Filardi of Hard Hat Hub advises recruiters to take note. She says, “Nine out of ten jobs postings today are nothing more than a grocery list of boring tasks and requirements, which limits your ability to attract top talent.”

Engagement is key. It’s likely that the best candidates will also register with other agencies; your application process must keep their attention and promote the relevant opportunity before they switch off and move on to something else.

Your mobile offering has to be up to scratch, too, given that, last year, 72% of job-seekers searched for roles on their smartphone. The key word in that sentence is ‘searched’ – it doesn’t necessarily mean they applied for the role on their phone, particularly if the mobile application process was cumbersome and lengthy. This is a particular aspect of the recruitment process a company needs to get right, given that the next generation of talent will have been brought up on digital and mobile devices.

So, what else can recruiters do to attract and secure an applicant’s attention?

  • Video is often overlooked and underused, and can put forward a company’s benefits to the job-seeker in a more engaging way than reams of text. Video interviews can also be a boon, considering applicants’ busy lives.
  • User-friendly digital forms, that only need to capture applicants’ details once, without need for repeat entry. For instance, if an applicant has to register their details to apply for a job via your site, this information is automatically transferred into their digital application.
  • Fast responses. As mentioned, candidates are likely to be applying for more than one role across many places. A quick response that moves applicants to the next stage of the process (or not) will encourage a positive impression of your company.

Ensure your applicants are switched on to the opportunities you can offer them; don’t allow them to switch off. There’s no doubt you’ll have worked hard to attract their attention, so why not make every effort to keep it?

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