7 recruitment fails that cause applicants to drop out of the application process early

It happens to all of us: candidates are interested in the job offer but end up not completing the application process. Why did they walk out on you? 🤔 Take a look at these 7 reasons that potentially cause applicants to drop out of the application process too early!

Application isn’t mobile-friendly

It has become increasingly important to offer a mobile-friendly experience since the global switch from desktop to mobile. Candidates want to be able to apply on the go. Double-check that your website is as mobile-friendly as it should be. Long loading times or web pages that cannot adjust to mobile devices are a no go, and this may be causing your applicants to drop out prematurely. A helpful tip is to use PageSpeed Insights from Google, with which you can check your website’s performance for free. It will even give you recommendations to finetune your pages! 

On top of that, it should be easy to go through the application process in one seamless mobile flow. If you want to attract candidates via an ad on Facebook, you don’t want to disturb their flow by asking for a cv or a long cover letter at the very start. You’re better off working with a short online questionnaire via a handy tool like Typeform, in which you can still request the cv to be sent later on. This way, your requests stay compatible with the device the candidate is using, making your and their road to success free of obstacles. ✅

‘Exhausting’ applications

Candidates who are asked to provide an information overload will drop out of the application process. It’s not done to ask your candidates to upload their cv and then have them list their work experience and education. Stick to the questions you really need the answers to, such as how many years of experience they have in the field. This will make the application a lot more pleasant for the candidate. Do you still want to check some extra information or test a few skills? Give your candidates a clear explanation of why that is important to you. Candidates will be very busy, especially the ones that are still working a full-time job. If you explain why they need to free up more time for your process, you can expect more understanding. 👍

Vague job description

When you send a vacancy out onto the world wide web, you hope to catch qualified, competent candidates that suit your organisation. Avoid poorly written and obscure job descriptions, as this may be causing applicants to drop out. Be as specific as possible and use crystal clear job titles with a minimum amount of buzzwords. Be sure to check our tips for writing a good vacancy

Lack of communication

If you don’t communicate with your applicants, they won’t know where in the process they are. If they don’t receive any confirmation emails and are waiting for a reply for ages, the chances of them dropping out increase. Inform your candidates about when they can expect a reply. Good communication also generates a fresh dose of motivation to continue with the application process. 💪 Move clear and frequent communication to the very top of your to-do list. This is just as important when it comes to bad news: communicate honestly and frequently to candidates you have chosen to reject. After all, they may still be interesting for future positions, and you don’t want them to start spreading bad reviews or word-of-mouth.

Bad first impression

Everyone knows that it’s essential to make an excellent first impression. This is no less true with a job interview. Making your candidates wait for ages when they arrive for their interview is, of course, not an option! Thoroughly prepare yourself for job interviews, and make sure to present your organisation as an attractive employer; you want your candidates to be excited to work for you! Never mind that gossip at the coffee machine; your candidate can do without that. 

Too many stages

The best way to cause your applicants to drop out? An overload of application stages can be just as overwhelming as the classic information overload. Dragging your candidates through four different stages can cause them to drop out too quickly. Ask yourself if every stage is really necessary. Instead, select the few candidates that really matter or organise an interview with several candidates at once. 

Generic interviews

The last recruitment fail that can cause candidates to drop out early is repeatedly asking the same standard questions:

  • Tell me about yourself?
  • Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?
  • What are your 3 best and 3 worst traits? 

… it’s the same old song. Try to alternate these originals, which undoubtedly have their value because a cliché is a cliché for a reason, with questions outside the box. Ask some questions that relate to your company culture, for example. You’ll quickly find out if your candidate is a good fit that way. If your company culture is relatively stiff and humour isn’t that appropriate, you won’t need to ask your candidates how many ping-pong balls will fit in a Suzuki. Don’t forget to ask these essential interview questions! 💡 Keep your ultimate goal in mind at all times: you want to get to know your applicant. You can teach skills, but you can’t teach attitude. 

A man winking with a drink in his hand.

Don’t forget

When you’re making your way through that obstacle course of an application process, keep a watchful eye on the candidate experience, as this can prevent your applicants from dropping out! The impression a candidate gets during this process can determine their decision of accepting the job offer. Read these tips about creating a great candidate experience!

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