How to Create a Killer Online Job Application Form
Let’s face it: Hiring isn’t easy.
And neither is sorting through hundreds of generic online job applications before finally finding a few that look promising.
Here are a few possible scenarios. Which one would you prefer?
- After posting a job, you sort through hundreds of mediocre applications and only find a few that are promising.
- You get a smaller pool of applications, nothing crazy — but you’re blown away by almost every application.
- Nobody applies for your job because your application form isn’t user-friendly.
Alright, I’m going to take a wild guess that you went with the second one.
Why? Because you value your time. If you didn’t value your time, you wouldn’t be reading an article on how to create applications in the most efficient way possible.
And let’s be honest: Creating (and promoting) an online job application is only a very small portion of the amount of time it actually takes to hire someone.
Why should you create a job application form with efficiency in mind?
As someone who cares about the day-to-day workings of your business, you probably live and breathe efficiency.
That’s why it’s so important to create job applications that actually motivate awesome people to apply. That way, you can avoid being stuck looking at hundreds of “meh” applications.
Here are five ways you can create INSANELY efficient job applications that inspire top talent to apply.
1. Know what you really want (and who you’re really going to be hiring)
This is really, really important. If you know what qualities you’re looking for in a candidate, you’ll know how to create a job listing that grabs their attention — and you’ll also be able to spot them quickly.
Really think about what kind of person you want to hire. Beyond the job description, ask yourself what you’re looking for in terms of work ethic or the way they tackle tasks.
Are you looking for someone who works quickly, or would you prefer hiring someone who’s careful and meticulous? The best way to gain attention from the type of employee you want to hire is to be as detailed as you possibly can in the description. Don’t be afraid to talk about your company culture.
2. Ask smart questions to save time
We’ve all heard that there’s no such thing as a stupid question.
But when it comes to job applications, it’s in your best interest to ask smart, direct questions — after all, it’ll save you a crazy amount of time!
Creative questions get creative answers.
Check out this example of an application for a marketing position:
The last question in this example isn’t really a standard one, but as you can imagine, any answer the candidate provides will reveal a lot about how they approach a task.
Notice that not every field is required, either. This can also tell you a lot about a candidate: is it their style to go above and beyond, or are they more likely to do the bare minimum?
Of course, you don’t want to get too crazy with this — if your application form is too long and tedious, nobody will want to apply. Then again, if it’s ridiculously easy to apply, you’ll get hundreds of sub-par applications and will have to go through many of them before finally finding your top choices.
The key is to find that perfect balance.
On top of choosing the right questions to ask, it’s also vital that many of the questions are open-ended. So, try your best to avoid yes or no answers. Bill Cates explains in a HubSpot article that some questions really can bring true value to the table, but only when they’re good, open-ended questions.
3. Include specific instructions to help you filter out applications
Come on, do you really want to read someone’s application when they didn’t even bother to read the job description?
In the section where you’re explaining the job duties, try doing something a little sneaky: ask them to put an asterisk before their first name in the form field. This will tell you that they read the entire job description and didn’t skip it over.
Adding that extra step will help you easily separate the people who took the time to read the job description from the people who blasted out tons of identical applications.
If someone doesn’t take the time to read your job description, there’s a good chance that their application isn’t going to be tailored for your company, either, and that they’re copying and pasting their responses from other applications.
It’s pretty easy to figure out whether or not an applicant took the time to read everything, and the result is that you’ll be able to focus on the applications of those individuals who took the time — so, what have you got to lose?
4. Choose a design that’s simple and user-friendly
Sounds cheesy, but let the design be a reflection of your company. Upload your logo, use your company colors, and write a wicked job description.
And don’t forget to make sure that your application form is responsive. We now know that many people use only their phones to browse the web, so this isn’t an area to ignore.
Keep the look of the application simple. In other words, it’s always a good idea to avoid a cluttered 90s design with crazy fonts. 🙂
5. Create a thank you page so that job applicants know what’s next
It’s important to let applicants know what they can expect after submitting an application.
And guess what? You don’t need to do anything manually, and it doesn’t have to take tons of time.
You can do this easily by creating a thank-you page.
Bonus tip: If you want to really go above and beyond a simple thank you page, create an automated (but personable) email follow-up with details on when applicants can expect to hear back.
Plus, you’ll look like a pro without even trying!
Have a tip to share?
Now that you know how to create awesome job applications, we want to know: Have you created some killer online job applications and want to share some lessons you learned along the way? We’d love to hear your stories and strategies! Share your thoughts with us below in the comments, or tweet with us @FormAssembly anytime.