Advantages of Application Forms in Recruitment

Philip Cleave
June 23, 2021
Young lady filling out online application form

Given the increasing competitiveness of the recruitment industry and statistics, which reveal that 46% of recruiters are struggling to attract top talent, with another 52% finding it more challenging to identify the right candidates from a growing pool of applicants, it’s not hard to appreciate how highly any tools that can improve this process will be valued.

The recruitment selection process

The application form is a great example of a key tool. Its value to recruitment agencies and HR departments becomes more obvious when you consider how detailed the recruitment process is.

From the initial assessment of hiring needs, job description preparation and search for talent, to screening and shortlisting, interviewing, candidate evaluation and then providing the offer of employment. For recruitment agencies there’s also the ongoing communication between candidates and clients to consider, which all costs time and money.

This is where the value of getting job candidates to complete an application form comes in. Besides their personal details, the information that each job hunter provides about their work history, qualifications, skill sets and relevant experience, can significantly streamline the search, screening and shortlisting of candidates for recruitment companies.

This process traditionally required candidates to fill out paper applications. However, an increasing number of recruitment agencies and HR departments realised they could collect this information more efficiently through recruitment surveys and HR survey software. They also recognised the value of using online forms and surveys, to measure candidates’ satisfaction with the recruitment process and testing of soft skills for job vacancies. This all helps to improve the quality of their recruitment process and the candidates they interview.

Advantages of application forms

If you’ve not gone down the digital survey route with your job candidate application process, it can be useful to get a snapshot of its advantages. So, here’s some key benefits to consider for using online survey templates.

  • You can quickly adapt application forms to specific job vacancies. Because the templates are digitally designed, they can be quickly adapted when you need to reach out to candidates with a fresh job role.
  • Identify the most relevant applicants faster. When searching for specific skill sets and qualifications, a digital form is much simpler to scan for specific keywords. This can make it much quicker to identify and select the best candidates to interview.
  • Gain a better idea of a candidate’s competency in the role. As long as you’ve asked candidates the right questions about what they would do in different scenarios, your job application survey should give you a better indication of how they might perform if you offered them the role.
  • Increased applicant accuracy. Withtraditional paper-based applications it’s easier to inadvertently make mistakes and leave items unanswered, potentially costing applicants a role. In contrast, online application survey templates can be coded to alert applicants about any missed fields, which they must complete in order to submit their application. This helps improve overall applicant accuracy and ultimately their chances of reaching the interview stage.
  • It’s more convenient for applicants to complete. Online job application survey forms can be completed from anywhere on any device, making the digital application much more convenient for applicants to complete. This should help increase the number of applications you receive for each role.

Disadvantages of application forms

While there are plenty of advantages of using online survey template, as part of your application process for job candidates, there are a few downsides to be aware of. So, we’ve outlined these for you below, just so you can be a bit more informed in your decision making about how you want to move forward next.

  • Lack of personal interaction. While the digital application route is fast and efficient, it’s quite impersonal. The lack of personal interaction can also be a disadvantage for some application types, such as applying for a job advertised through a recruitment agency.

In such circumstances it can be more beneficial to have a face-to-face meeting with the agency first, which can help each party get a better feel for each other and how likely it will be for the applicant to find work through them.

  • Some people perform better verbally, rather than through written communications. We are all different and while some people communicate eloquently with their written words, others communicate more effectively through spoken voice.

This can put the latter group at a disadvantage when they are completing application forms, as while they may have the right skills and experience, they may not be able to express themselves as effectively in writing as they can verbally. This could lead to them potentially losing out to other candidates with a lesser overall ability at the initial application stage.

  • Keyword filtering can unwittingly filter out strong candidates. While using keywords to quickly identify the best candidates in terms of actual qualifications and skills, can be hugely valuable, there are grey areas where it could lead to you missing equally strong candidates.

For example, if you solely relied on keyword filtering at the application stage, you might miss out on a candidate with just one missing qualification that might actually be a stronger overall candidate than someone else who ticked all your keyword boxes.

  • It can discriminate against applicants with no computer access. It seems amazing in this day and age, but there are still some people who may have very limited access to a computer or the internet, or both. This can be especially the case for those on very low incomes. So, it’s something employers and recruitment agencies need to be aware of and provide alternative options for just in case.

Example application form questions

From ‘Which one of our company values do you identify most with and why? or ‘What kind of environment do you work best in? to ‘Who inspires you in your work and why? or ‘What is it that you’re most passionate about outside of work? There’s a lot of different areas you may potentially want to touch on in a job application survey, in order to get a better idea of a candidate’s skills, experience, personality and suitability as a fit for the role you’re advertising. However, it’s a more detailed area than we can cover off in this section alone.

Next time

Therefore, now that we’ve given you an insight into some of the key advantages and disadvantages of applications forms in relation to the recruitment process, we’ll explore the questions to ask on an application form in a bit more depth in part 2. We look forward to catching up with you again next time.

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