At some point in your life, you were probably told by a trusted individual in your life to “finish what you started”. In your youth, the advise might have been tied to sports, studying for an exam, or even eating what was on your plate for dinner. In today’s adult world, it could apply to completing an online job application.
According to Appcast, a recruitment data provider, the percentage of candidates who fail to complete an application after hitting the “apply” button is as high of 92%! In other words, only 1 of 10 candidates who start an application actually complete the online document and formally become a candidate. That is a remarkably distressing number for employers looking to fill open positions.
A popular “excuse” for Job Seekers to explain not completing an application, is that the document takes too long to complete. In some cases, this may even be a legitimate reason to drop out early. This is especially true going back 10 or more years ago, when having a lengthy multiple page application was combined with asking other skill-based questions. In today’s world, most companies have adjusted this time based on the received feedback and have streamlined their process to make completing the application much more manageable. In fact, InFlight conducted an audit of Fortune 500 companies and found that the average application process of these companies was only 4 minutes and 52 seconds. So, in summary, what Job Seeker does not have 5 minutes to complete a job application? Any candidate who is serious about finding new employment should be able to find that amount of time.
For fear of stating the obvious, there is one major advantage to completing a job application. The act of completing the document gives you an opportunity to be hired for the position. Just by finishing the application, you have passed a major hurdle given that (as noted above) only about 1 in 10 actually do so and become a formal candidate.
You may wonder why the application is still an important document to employers. You may also be asking yourself why not just accept my resume and move on? The primary reason is that the application is the formal submission of your interest in the position. It becomes a company document and will include your signature (either “wet” or “e”) that everything stated is true. For employers, the application also contains what they want to know. This is a big difference from the resume, which tells them what you want to share (or think they want to know). For the employer, completing the job application fully shows that the candidate can follow directions, respects the process, and has attention to detail. These are all key qualities for a productive employee.
Of course, the quality of your application is important also, so be sure to answer each question as completely as you can. Do not skip over questions, especially any that are marked as “required” (the system may not even allow you to avoid them). Try to avoid writing “please see resume” in lieu of completing a portion of the application. Prospective employers will be expecting you to upload a Cover Letter and Resume, but they still will want to you fill out all sections. Doing this shortcut is also concerning to a Hiring Manager, because it may be perceived that you cut corners whenever an opportunity to do so arises.
Completing an application provides some valuable insight to the Hiring Manager. The most obvious is that what you write can provide more information that goes beyond the Cover Letter and Resume and can boost your chances to be hired. Take advantage of the application and not just view it as a procedural chore that must be completed. Pay particular attention to any information requests that may not be addressed on your Resume.
It is human nature for a person to seek a faster or easier path to completing a task. We are constantly drilled about doing something quicker in order to meet a deadline or to move onto something else that needs to be done. One area, however, that you should slow down and make sure that the job is completed fully is the job application. This allows you to show your prospective employer that you respect their standard processes and that you have the necessary attention to detail.
As always, the best of luck in your job search.
The following has been prepared for the general information of WNYJobs readers. It is not meant to provide advice with respect to any specific legal or policy matter and should not be acted upon without verification by the reader.
Joe Stein WNY Human Resources Professional
Feel free to contact Joe Stein regarding questions or comments at: Joe Stein