A recruiter usually wants to reach as many suitable candidates as possible quickly. A candidate wants to apply easily for a job offer.
What is the optimal application form for both the recruiter and the candidate? And is there really such a thing as an optimal form?
To answer these questions, we want to go beyond the literature and start by analysing the data available to us. Being Arca24 a company that develops and supplies software for the HR sector, we manage a database of more than 6 million candidates of different nationalities, career levels, roles and from different geographical areas, and more than 40,000 online job offers on our systems.
What is the difference between long and short registration forms?
Short candidate registration forms usually include the main personal data (e-mail, first name, last name, country, region, city and home address, date of birth, mobile number, gender and, of course, the CV) and details about the work experiences such as main profession, sector, role, area of preference.
By choosing these forms, you give up information such as driving licence, means of transport, notice period, hourly availability, membership of protected categories, language skills and level of education.
Disadvantages of the short registration form:
By choosing to collect little candidate’s data at the registration stage, you actually give up a lot of valuable information. The recruiter carrying out the recruiting process cannot, for example, use all the filters within the Applicant Tracking System on all the candidates in his/her database, such as time of notice, driving licence, languages spoken, etc., because those data are not available in the fields during registration.
Companies often choose this solution, hoping that the candidates will finish filling in their profile at a later stage. Unfortunately, this does not always happen.
Less information available can therefore result in more time being invested in completing the selection process or in a lot of effort spent on communications that encourage the candidate to complete his/her profile 100%.
Disadvantages of the long registration form:
The main disadvantage is of course the time to fill in, especially if registering from mobile. Too many fields might discourage candidates from completing the process, although we might consider it a first barrier to test people’s motivation.
Does the length of the form affect the number of candidates registered for a job offer?
In order to answer this question, the conversion rate was measured, i.e. the % of candidates who arrived at a company’s website and completed the registration process.
We expected to find an affirmative answer to this question in the data, a guarantee of an increase in the conversion rate, even by 25%.
However, contrary to what one might think, the length of the candidate registration form is not a determining factor.
Comparing registration forms of different lengths in a sample of more than 100 companies shows that the number of items candidates have to fill out to register is not discriminating.
It turns out that companies that use short registration forms do not have such a significantly different conversion rate than companies in the same industry that use a more comprehensive registration form.
The data shows that there are companies that use long registration forms that reach or even exceed 40% conversion rate and companies with short forms that do not exceed 25%.
Therefore, it is clear that there are other, more decisive factors, such as the knowledge of the brand publishing the offer, the type of job sought and the way in which the job itself is written, which influence the number of candidates encouraged to register for job offers.