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Top Employers Cull Long Application Forms to Attract More Candidates

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Employers are trying to broaden their appeal to potential recruits by slashing the length of time it takes to apply for a job, according to research by the world’s biggest job site Indeed.

With UK unemployment at its lowest level for more than four decades, the shrinking pool of candidates may have encouraged many employers to ditch long-winded application forms in an effort to encourage more jobseekers to apply.
Indeed analysed the time it takes to complete the initial application forms used by each of the FTSE 100 companies, as well as the 20 ‘CoolBrands’ compiled annually by the Centre for Brand Analysis. Researchers found the average form takes nine and a half minutes to complete. The average application form for a job at the top 120 firms has 34.2 questions.

Housebuilder Taylor Wimpey has the quickest application form, clocking in at just 28 seconds.
TABLE: Top 10 quickest application forms

RANK COMPANY TIME TAKEN TO COMPLETE NUMBER OF QUESTIONS
1 TAYLOR WIMPEY 28 seconds 7
2 NETFLIX 39 seconds 5
3 ASSOCIATED BRITISH FOODS 1 minute 6
4 GLASTONBURY FESTIVALS 1 minute 5 seconds 6
5 WORLDPAY 1 minute 8 seconds 12
6 BERKELEY GROUP HOLDINGS 1 minute 11 seconds 12
7 BUNZL 1 minute 16 seconds 4
8 = INMARSAT 1 minute 30 seconds 3
8 = MONDI 1 minute 30 seconds 11
10 = JOHNSON MATTHEY 1 minute 47 seconds 13
10 = DIRECT LINE GROUP 1 minute 47 seconds 27

The companies with the fewest number of questions were Netflix, Taylor Wimpey, Associated British Foods Plc, Bunzl and Mondi.

With official figures showing the number of people in work is at a record high, employers are having to work hard to woo potential recruits away from their current jobs – and an important part of that is making the application process as painless as possible.

Nevertheless, despite the progress made in speeding up application times, Indeed’s researchers also found a surprising 49% of top companies don’t have ‘mobile friendly’ application forms, preventing potential candidates from applying while on the go.

Bill Richards, UK Managing Director at Indeed, comments:

‘’The battle for talent has forced many recruiters to think hard about how they identify and attract the best people. Whereas in the past there was a tendency to add more and more questions to application forms to test candidates’ suitability, in the current market we’re seeing a shift as many employers make the first stage of the application process quicker and easier for jobseekers.

“Research shows that you risk losing up to 4% of candidates with every minute you add to your application process. Many jobseekers will be applying to multiple companies and doing so in their precious free time. So anything recruiters can do to make the initial stage as swift as possible will reduce the risk of a good candidate being put off by a dauntingly long form.

“Similarly, most potential recruits tend to look for jobs while away from their desk on a mobile device, so recruiters who ensure their application process is mobile friendly are removing one more barrier to applications. In the current seller’s market, the onus is on recruiters to make the application process as easy as possible or risk losing out on talent.”