These days finding high quality employees is harder than ever. There seems to be a constant battle to encourage folks to apply, then get them to stay engaged through the application process. This is why it’s so important that every employer does their best to create a positive applicant experience. Creating a positive applicant experience will help get more applicants into your pipeline and keep them there throughout your hiring process.
What exactly is applicant experience?
Applicant experience is basically how an applicant feels about your company. It’s the attitude they have about the company and their feelings about how they are treated by your company.
Every interaction that you have with applicants shapes the applicant experience. The more positive an applicant’s feelings toward your business and your hiring process, the more likely they are to stay engaged until the end.
The great thing about applicant experience is that you have complete control over it. You can shape the experience that applicants have with your business into whatever you’d like.
In this article we’ll share a few ideas that can have a big impact on applicant experience. This will be a good starting point, but the possibilities are truly endless.
Avoid things that irritate job seekers.
A good place to start an effort to improve applicant experience is with the things that irritate job seekers the most. If you can eliminate or at least nix a significant number of the top offenders, you’ll go far in improving your applicant experience. So what are the top offenders? Here are a few.
Requiring personal information like social security numbers and Driver License numbers.
How to Fix It:
Only ask for information that is actually needed for you to move on to the next phase of the application process. Let’s say you’re hiring a delivery driver for your floral business. The applicant may need a driver license, but do you really need to know the driver license number at this point? Probably not.
Instead you could ask: Do you have a valid Florida Driver License?
This question gets the information that you need to decide if this applicant can move further in your process. Also, the applicant doesn’t have very sensitive information floating around in cyberspace and being seen by who only knows. Applicants worry about identity theft just like the rest of us. So any action you can take to limit the amount of personal information required to apply for a job, the more comfortable applicants will feel about applying.
Requiring that applicants type information that’s provided on their resume into an online application form. This is made even worse if the applicant then has to upload a copy of their resume. Applicants really hate this.
How to fix it:
You may have applicants manually enter their work history and other information because you need these details in your applicant tracking system. Or maybe it’s because this is what you did when you have applied for jobs in the past. But it isn’t written in stone that this has to be how the application process works.
Technology is on your side in this case. If you’re using an applicant tracking system (ATS), put the resume parse feature to work for you. Resume parse allows applicants to upload their resume. Then the system will extract the information and place it where it needs to go within the ATS.
This simple feature creates a less frustrating, less time consuming experience for applicants while still giving you the information needed in your database.
But what if your company does not currently use an applicant tracking system, but maybe uses an online form to collect applicant information? A possible fix could be to allow applicants to apply by email. Instead of filling out an online form, the applicant could email their resume to a designated email address.
Offender # 3
Super long job applications when short and sweet would work. Applicants are constantly weighing a time reward equation. Applications take time to complete, but for the applicant there is no doubt that they will receive any type of follow up for their time investment. So when applicants see a long application that will take an hour to complete, a good number of them will bail.
How to fix it:
Keep applications as short as possible. Your application should only ask the critical information that you need to decide if you can move this individual forward in your hiring process. Remember, the application is merely an introduction. You can ask more questions and dive deeper into the applicant’s work history or qualifications later. Ask only what’s needed to pass through the first evaluation. The shorter and more relevant your application is, the more applications you’ll ultimately receive.
Be mobile friendly.
These days people do a lot more than text their friends and scroll Instagram on their smartphones. They also search for and apply for jobs from their mobile devices as well.
The rise in the number of job applications done on smartphones could be due to the fact that some applicants do not have traditional computers and internet at home. Or because we all spend a significant amount of time on our phone in general, so it’s a seemingly natural thing to do.
Whatever the reason, not having a mobile friendly employment application or job site can create an avoidable barrier for would be job applicants. If a job seeker has to go to a library, career center or wait until they get to a friend or relative that has access to a computer and internet to apply for your job, they simply aren’t going to apply.
Creating a mobile friendly application process is pretty painless. If you share your jobs on Jacksonville Works, your jobs site, job posting and application process is already mobile friendly. It’s also a good practice to check any online application forms that you use to make sure they can be completed on a mobile device.
Follow up with applicants
There is a lot of ghosting going on in the hiring arena. And a good part of it is on the side of employers. Ghosting is when either the employer or candidate disappears from the hiring process without explanation. Communication just stops.
This may look like an applicant not returning your calls or emails. Silence when you reach out to schedule an interview or accept a job offer. Also more and more common is being stood up for job interviews.
While it's irritating when applicants do this, they are not alone. Employers do it too. Neither is right. And it irritates job seekers, serious job seekers just as much.
That's why the simple act of communicating regularly with applicants will have a great impact on the applicant experience.
You can choose how to communicate with applicants and how by means you’ll do it. Just let them know at the beginning how you will follow up with them. Let’s say you prefer to do all communication by email because it’s efficient, then just tell applicants that. You can include this tidbit of knowledge on your application form or jobs page. So long as they know, you’re good to go.
So when should you communicate with applicants? Great question. Put yourself in the applicant’s shoes. Think about when you, as an applicant, would want an update on your application status.
Also, think about when applicants have called you to follow up. Did they call to make sure you got their application? Did they call to see if you had made a decision on their interview? Thinking through your communication plan this way will not only keep applicants informed and happy, but reduce the number of “application follow up” calls to your office. Win-win!
Consider starting with these touch points in your applicant communication plan:
When application is received.
When the application has been reviewed.
Post application review. (Application rejected or next steps in the hiring process)
To schedule an interview.
To confirm an interview.
To provide next steps in after an interview.
Post interview decision (Offer, reject, pending)
If you do any testing, screening, background checks or have other steps in your process, throw in a contact when your process reaches that point. These communications can be set up as templates to save time as well. However you choose to communicate with applicants it’s well worth the time investment. Remember, informed applicants are happy applicants who stay engaged with your hiring process.
Be flexible when scheduling interviews.
Applicants can be juggling a lot. That juggling act may include kids, and another job or two. That’s why it’s so important to give some flexibility in the options you give applicants to interview with your business.
Let’s say you’re interested in interviewing an applicant, but she works during regular business hours. If she can’t get off work without sending a red flag to her current supervisor that she’s going on an interview, well she might decline the interview or not show up. That means you could have missed out on a great new hire. So what can be done?
Have a conversation with applicants when you want to schedule an interview. Ask them for their availability. Then make it work with the times that you’re available to interview. It could be that a lunch appointment or meeting after work would be a doable option.
Take some time to think about how you can build some flexibility into your interview scheduling process. Applicants will appreciate having their time and life situations valued by your company.
Creating a positive applicant experience will reap significant benefits for your business. Your efforts will increase your business’ ability to hire the talented, high quality employees that your business needs to thrive, even in times when it’s challenging to hire.
Here's a little known secret. The job interview actually starts when you fill out the application. Employers start to decide whether or not you're a good fit for their job when they start to look over your job application. Your Interview has begun.
So knowing this as a job seeker you want to give yourself the best possible advantage. The goal is to gain the attention- positive attention, of employers. Not to have your job application tossed into the reject pile.
Employers only spend a few seconds looking over an application. This is because companies can receive hundreds of applications. So your job is to catch their eye. Otherwise the attention of the employer will be consumed with red flags, or instructions that were not followed. Applications like get screened, then rejected. Meaning your chances of getting that job have come to a screeching halt.
That's not what we want .
We want your application to land at the very top of the must call for an interview pile. So in this post we're gonna talk about five things that you can do that will make your application stand out. And by doing so, gain some positive feedback from the employers that you are interested in. By following this advice you will greatly increase your chances of getting more jobs with the companies you're most interested in working.
1.Complete the entire job application and follow all instructions.
Employers ask a lot of questions sometimes on applications. You may not understand the reason why they want to know this information. Why in the world do they need to know your driver license number? What’s the point of asking for your security number? Or if you have the legal right to work in the United States?
Some of these questions may seem arbitrary and downright pointless. But if the employer took the time to put those questions on the application, they expect those questions to be answered by anyone who applies. By not answering all the questions on an application no matter how trivial you think it may be or how long winded the application form, you’re decreasing the likelihood that you’ll be selected for an interview. If you’re lucky, an employer may reach out to clarify some information or ask you to resubmit the application. But that situation is highly unlikely.
Incomplete applications are rejected applications. That said, we encourage you to fill out the whole application, no matter how long and follow all instructions. We know, we know, it’s a pain to re-enter all the information that’s on your resume, but do it anyway if you really want the job.
So just to recap here. Once you fill out an application, this is the start of the job interview.
Employers are going to be on the lookout for your ability to follow directions and pay attention to details. These are important qualities for anyone that they are thinking about bringing on their team. So it doesn't matter how you feel or think about it. The questions may actually be stupid. All that matters is that you do what is required to move you through the hiring process and ultimately get the job.
Give correct and complete information about past jobs.
Employers are super interested in the jobs you've had in the past. That's because employers decide if you can do the job they're hiring for based on the type of work you've done before. This is called work history.
They also try to understand what kind of employee you may be for them. Employers attempt to determine this by reviewing how long you stayed on jobs and why you left jobs. Employers are looking for patterns that can help them make a good hiring decision.
The thought is that if you job hopped, only stayed on past jobs for a few months, then you'll probably only stay on their job for a few months. They also may think that if you quit jobs without notice before, chances are good that you may do the same thing on their job. So they are trying to make a decision that will limit their risk of hiring all over again in a few months if the person they choose doesn't work out.
Because your past employment history is so important to employers it should be really important to you as well. If you’re interested in a job and you want to boost your chances of getting a call for an interview, take the time to enter in all employment information. Typically for each past employer you’ll be asked to provide:
supervisor's name and title
starting in indicates
starting and ending rate of pay
Description of the work that you did
Start and end dates of employment
why you left the job
Even though this information seems mundane, it's all important to employers. Being able to accurately remember all of this information for all of your past your employers can be hard to do on the spot.
Make it easier on yourself by making a list of all of this information. Save it on your phone and computer. That way when you’re filling out applications, you can copy and paste these details. Not only will this make your applications more accurate, out you can fill them out faster too.
Read the job posting
Employers write job postings for one reason. That reason is so that you can read it. They want to share with you important details about the job. They hope that you can use that information to make an informed decision about whether or not the job is for you. So read the entire job post. Yep the entire thing.
When you read a job posting there a few things specifically that we want you to look out for. Pay special attention to:
The job duties: The job posting should describe what type of work is done in the job.
Pay: Not every job posting shares the pay rate. But for those that do, consider if the pay offered meets your needs.
work location: This is where the job is gonna be done.
After you’ve read the whole job posting, take a few minutes to think about details. Ask yourself these questions before clicking on apply:
Can I work the schedule the employer wants?
Am I interested in and willing to do the work described?
Can I get to the work location?
Do I have the skills, experience and education the employer wants?
Am I satisfied with what the job pays?
If you’ve answered “yes” to all of these questions, go ahead and apply. If not consider other options or make any needed changes to make it work.
Reading the job posting is also interview preparation. You don’t want to ask questions in an interview that were clearly answered in the job posting.
The main take-away: Carefully read the job posting for every job that you apply.
References can make your application stand out from a crowd. Some applications ask you to include references others may not. But if you have the opportunity to enter references on your application go ahead and do so.
References are important because they back you up. Employers are less interested in our own evaluation of work as an employee and more interested in what people who have actually employed us think. Who doesn't think that they are a great worker? Everyone does. We are all a little biased when it comes to judging ourselves. Employers know this.
That's where the magic of references come in. You get to have other people who have worked with you say that you are a good worker. Let your past boss brag on how you always showed up for work on time and always did a fantastic job.
Ideally reference should be past supervisors supervisors . If not past supervisors, people who have worked with you in a volunteer role as part of a group or organization. A teacher could also be a good reference source if you are a student worker or looking for your first job after graduating.
When possible ask these references to write a letter of recommendation. These letters can be saved to share with employers. If that’s an option, be sure to have their fill contact information, name, phone, email and address, to share with employers that ask for references.
Also, and very important, give your references a heads up that you’re looking for a job and you’ll share them as a reference. This heads up, allows that be prepared for getting a phone call so they talk you up well.
Key takeaway: Get references in advance of your job search. When possible share contact information for references or upload as an attachment to your application if given the option. Also, if neither option is presented, bring references with you to interviews or send my email as a follow up to your application.
Before you hit submit make sure you proofread it. No one is expecting you to be perfect. Autocorrect and typos happen to the best of us. But taking those few extra minutes to proofread your work to proofread what you've typed can make all the difference.
Proofreading before sending off an application shows that you care and pays attention to detail. Overall, it sends a positive message about yourself as opposed to an application that has tons of errors. An error free application is the best reflection of your work ethic.
To make proofreading easier, you can use technology to help. Grammarly is a fantastic tool that can be installed in your web browser. Grammarly reviews everything that you type and flags any errors.
You’ll still need to proofread as nothing is foolproof. But Grammarly should make quick work of giving your application a nice polish. Oh and Grammarly is free to use, so there’s no reason not to try it.
Sometimes it can seem difficult to get the attention of employers and get more responses from applications. Putting these tips to use will help you get more responses from the employers you’re most interested in working. Which tips will you try first?
The interview process for seasonal employees is just as important as for permanent workers. Seasonal employees will serve your clients, make your products and otherwise represent your company brand. So even though they may only be employed by your organization for a short period of time, they will have a lasting impact. So of course, you want to make sure that you’re bringing on the best talent that will be a positive asset to your business.
The employment interview is the best tool that you have as an employer to decide if a seasonal job candidate is right for the job and your company culture. Taking the time to properly prepare before interviewing seasonal job candidates can increase the likelihood that you’ll hire the right people and have a successful busy season.
Here are some tips to help you prepare to effectively interview seasonal job candidates. We'll dive into more depth of tip throughout article.
Decide on your hiring criteria in advance.
Offer a job preview.
Ask the right questions.
Clearly communicate the details of the job. ((Again))
Decide on Your Hiring Criteria in Advance
Before hosting your first interview, decide on your hiring criteria. You’ll have an easier time identifying your ideal candidate if you know what that looks like. Defining your hiring criteria is very simple. When creating your criteria consider answering this question:
👉 What must be true for a candidate to be successful in this job? .👈
When you list out everything that is needed for a candidate to be successful in the seasonal job you’re hiring for, you will have created a profile for your ideal hire. You can use this data to make a checklist that can be ticked off as you speak with candidates. You’ll know when you have a viable candidate when everything on your list is checked off.
Here's an example. Your criteria may look something like this:
✔Must be able to work 7am-6pm.
✔Must be able to work Monday to Friday and every other Saturday.
✔Must have a valid driver license.
✔Must have a CPR certification.
As you can see, having a clearly defined lists of what you must have in a seasonal employee will keep you laser focused looking for those things during the interview.
Offer a Job Preview
Sometimes, no matter how well you try to explain the job and work environment, the candidate still may not correctly visualize the demands of the job. If you have ever had an employee quit because they said the job wasn’t what they thought it would be, a job preview can be a wonderful tool to prevent that in the future.
A job preview can eliminate any misinterpretations about the job by allowing candidates to see the work being performed in the environment it is performed in.
A job preview can take many forms. Here are a few suggestions that can be done as part of the interview.
Allow the candidate to observe someone doing the job. For example, if the job is for a cashier, allow the candidate to watch as a cashier who is already on your team helps customers.
Create a video that shows what it’s like to do the job. In the example given above the video could show the cashier assisting customers, stocking shelves, accepting payments and other job functions. You could also engage existing employees to provide insights into what it’s like to do the job.
If you do choose to incorporate a job preview, keep in mind that the candidate should not perform any work. They are simply observing to assist them in clearly understanding the work that the job involves.
Adding a job preview as part of your interview process could be a game changer that makes sure that the candidates who move on in your hiring process, know what they are getting into.
Ask the Right Questions
The interview is your opportunity to understand a candidate’s motivations to work a seasonal job and access their fit for the job. The questions that are asked during the interview are powerful tools that allow you to learn about the candidate and ultimately decide if they are the best person to hire for your seasonal job.
When deciding what questions to ask when interviewing candidates for seasonal jobs, focus on questions that allow you gain insights into their:
True motivation for wanting to work a seasonal job.
Availability to work the days and hours that your business needs.
Willingness to do the required work.
Qualifications, both technical and soft skills
To get started, you could consider incorporating some of the sample interview questions in our Interview Questions to Ask Seasonal Job Candidates resource.
Clearly Communicate the Details of the Job. Again.
Even if you have explained the job in detail in the job posting, go over it again during the interview.
Jobseekers may be applying for and interviewing for multiple jobs at the same time. It is really easy to forget or blur the exact details for each job that they applied.
To help refresh their memory and make sure that everyone is on the same page, take a few minutes to review the most important information about the job.
It is completely fine if afterward the candidate realizes that they can’t meet one or more of the requirements for the job. In fact, it's a good idea to ask the candidate directly if they are on board with everything you described about the job. It is better to find out during the interview that process, than after an offer has been made that they really don't want to or can't do the job.
Here's what should be reviewed with every seasonal job applicant, during every interview.
✔ Work hours: The specific hours employees in the job will work.
✔ Work days: The days of the week the person hired will work.
✔ Availability: Explain any specific days or hours that the person hired must be willing to work. (ex. weekends, weekdays, holidays)
✔ Pay: I nclude the hourly rate of pay along with any bonuses or incentive pay.
✔ Length of assignment: The number of weeks or months the job lasts.
✔ Specific start and end dates: The calendar dates of when seasonal staff begin and end work.
✔ Work location: The place where the job is done
✔Job duties: Describe the work that will be done in the seasonal job.
✔ Working conditions : Describe the type of environment the work is performed in and any type of physical requirements (standing, walking, bending, working in hot or cold temperatures, ect.)
“The person hired for the camp counsellor seasonal job will work 7am-6pm, Monday through Friday. Camp counselors must also be available for training sessions every other Saturday from 8am-12pm. The pay is $18 per hour. The assignment is for six weeks beginning on June 1st and ending August 15. Our camp counselors supervise and instruct small groups of children of various ages to ensure a safe, healthy and fun environment. You’ll lead children in arts and crafts, came and other camp activities. Camp Counselors are on their feet moving their entire shift. They are frequently outside in hot conditions. Does what I just described sound like a job you are interested in and willing to do?”
Implementing these simple tips will help you interview seasonal job candidates efficiently and and intentionally. You'll be prepared to evaluate candidates who are interested in the job and capable of meeting the needs of your business. Get started finding seasonal employees. Post a job today for free.
About Jacksonville Works
Jacksonville Works is a community job board. At J acksonville Works , we are on a mission to help local employers find great local employees. We are locally owned, locally operated and committed to helping business owners in Jacksonville hire. To get started, post your job.