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Achieve Recruitment Success With Shorter Applications

February 17, 2022 | Elise Walton


It’s tempting to pre-screen job candidates with lots of questions in an application form before communicating with them. However, with today’s ultra-competitive job market, you can’t afford to disqualify candidates so quickly. It’s a job seekers’ market and as a hiring manager or recruiter, you have to sell the job to them. By making your applications shorter and easier to complete, you can get more candidates in your queue and fill jobs faster.

The reported abandonment rate on online job applications ranges from 60% to as high as 95% due to the applications’ length and complexity. Think your application is short enough? Make it even shorter. Most job seekers prefer a one-click apply and won’t spend more than 10 minutes on one job application. Remember, your competition isn’t limited to other post-acute care organizations. Nearly half of the senior living professionals we surveyed said they compete with hotels, restaurants, retail, and gig economy services when hiring – jobs that often don’t require certifications or background checks to apply.

Balancing a competitive, candidate-friendly application process with gathering the information you need to vet applications can be tricky. Here’s a plan for how you can make it work.

1. Focus on getting candidates’ contact information

A candidate’s first application doesn’t need to be their complete application, so prioritize getting their name, phone number, and email address before requiring further information. Think of this first touch point like meeting someone at a party. You wouldn’t approach a stranger at a party and immediately ask them their career goals, biggest weaknesses, references, or other personal information. You’d start by asking their name, where they’re from, maybe where they currently work. This should be the same approach you take to getting new candidates.

Offer a “quick apply” option that only asks the minimum information you need to contact a candidate so job seekers can quickly express interest in working for you without having to complete a full application.

2. Communicate quickly to screen candidates

Once you have a candidate’s contact information, reach out to them soon to introduce yourself and confirm you received their info. Chances are, yours is not the only job they are applying for. A quick, personalized response can go a long way in making a positive first impression and building interest in working for your organization. Technology can automate this communication so you can reach candidates ASAP and take work off your recruiters' full plates.

Text, call, or email the candidate with a few screening questions that you would normally ask in a more traditional application. These should still be simple questions that candidates can easily answer, like “Do you have your CNA certification?” or “How many years experience do you have as an RN?”. With this information, you can decide if you’d like to continue pursuing this candidate.

3. Get the candidate excited about your organization and ask them to apply

Before you ask the candidate to complete the full application, convince them that they want to work for your organization. Share some employee benefits, highlight the workplace culture, and give some examples of positive employee feedback. Then, invite the candidate to complete the full job application.

This approach can make the candidate feel more invested in completing the application after learning about your organization and being personally invited to apply. Plus, this strategy allows you to pre-screen applicants without having to sift through a lengthy application so you can speed up the time to hire.


Having the right applicant tracking system in place makes this kind of plan turnkey. Request a demo of OnShift Employ to see how we can make a quick apply strategy work for your organization.

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About Elise Walton

Elise Walton is a Senior Product Marketing Manager at OnShift.

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