Candidate drop-offs during the hiring process can be a major setback for any organization. If you’re experiencing this issue, you’re not alone.

In this article, we’ll journey through the reason behind candidate drop-offs and reveal strategies to help you improve your KPIs. 

Let’s begin.

What is candidate drop-off?

Candidate drop-off refers to those instances when potential applicants, despite their initial enthusiasm, opt to exit the application or the entire hiring process prematurely. 

Consider the candidate journey as a continuous pathway, and at different intervals, some candidates choose to step away.

High applicant drop-off rates can pose challenges for both recruiters and hiring managers. 

Why is that? 

Each candidate backing out means missing out on the ideal match for a role. 

Moreover, increased drop-off rates often hint at underlying inefficiencies or challenges in the recruitment process. 

5 major reasons why candidates are dropping off from your hiring process 

Red flags that increase candidate drop off

1. Lengthy application forms

Today, when applicants expect a swift application process, how can you expect them to stick around for your lengthy forms?

Such forms can be daunting, especially when they demand extensive details, multiple uploads, or repetitive information. 

A tedious application process can deter even the most enthusiastic applicants. 

Candidates might perceive a lengthy form as a reflection of the company’s overall approach – slow, old-fashioned, and not valuing their time. 

2. Poor communication

Communication is the cornerstone of any relationship, including the one between recruiters and job seekers. 

When applicants take the time to apply for a position, they expect some form of acknowledgment or feedback. 

A lack of timely candidate communication can leave candidates in the dark, wondering about their application’s status. 

This can be especially frustrating for applicants who have invested their time and effort into their applications, only to be met with a wall of silence.

3. Complicated tech processes

The digital experience a company offers speaks volumes about its values and operations. A clunky and outdated careers page can be a major red flag for candidates. 

If they have to use a site that’s not user-friendly, constantly crashes, or doesn’t save their progress, it can be really annoying. 

Such experiences might lead candidates to question the company’s tech-savviness and its commitment to providing efficient solutions. 

4. Vague job descriptions

If a job description is ambiguous, generic, or lacks crucial details, it fails in its primary purpose. 

Candidates rely on job descriptions to gauge if a role aligns with their skills, experience, and career aspirations.

Such uncertainties can deter potential job seekers from applying, fearing a mismatch or misalignment with their career goals.

5. Negative company reviews

Candidates often turn to online platforms for insights into potential employers. 

Websites like Glassdoor offer candid feedback from current and former employees, painting a picture of the company’s culture, management style, and overall work environment. 

A consistent pattern of negative reviews can be alarming for potential candidates. 

They might start questioning the company’s work environment, its treatment of employees, or even its stability and future prospects. 

6 sure-shot ways to reduce candidate drop-off

Ways to reduce candidate drop off

1. Simplify the application process

The application stage can set the tone for a candidate’s perception of the company. 

If they’re overwhelmed at this initial stage, they might question the company’s efficiency and adaptability.

While companies naturally want thorough information from candidates (because every detail counts) — it’s essential to ensure the application doesn’t become monotonous with repetitive fields.

Here’s what you can do to further enhance the process:

  • Incorporate auto-fill features: This not only speeds up the process but also reduces the chances of errors.
  • Enable portfolio or LinkedIn linking: This allows candidates to showcase their professional journey without manually entering every detail. It’s a win-win, as recruiters get a holistic view of the candidate’s background with minimal effort.
  • Provide clear instructions: A well-guided process can significantly reduce candidate anxiety and confusion. Consider adding tips or FAQs to clarify common queries.
  • Regularly review the application process: Remove any steps that no longer add value or ask for outdated information. For instance, in certain industries, a candidate’s proficiency in emerging tools or platforms might be more relevant than their knowledge of older and obsolete technologies.

2. Always encourage communication

Remember waiting for a response after sending an important message? 

That anticipation, mixed with anxiety, is a feeling many applicants experience after hitting the ‘submit’ button on their job application.

Communication plays a pivotal role in shaping the candidate experience

From the moment they express interest in a position, candidates keenly observe how a company engages with them. 

Follow these tips to communicate effectively:

  • Personalization: Address candidates by their name and reference specific parts of their application or previous interactions. This adds a personal touch, making candidates feel more connected and valued by the company.
  • Using the right tools: Candidate experience tools like chatbots or candidate relationship management (CRM) systems can offer real-time updates and also automate your outreach.
  • Feedback loops: Post-interview or assessment, provide your honest feedback. This shows candidates that their time and effort are valued.

3. Embrace your online presence

An engaging online presence can draw candidates in, making them excited about joining the company.

A robust online presence extends beyond just a well-designed website. Here’s how to leverage various online platforms effectively:

  • Authenticity: Regardless of the platform, authenticity is key. Share genuine insights, real-life stories, and testimonials. Whether it’s a day-in-the-life video on YouTube or employee spotlights on Instagram, give candidates a transparent view of the company culture.
  • Engagement: Engage with your audience actively. Respond to comments on Facebook, share company achievements on LinkedIn, and celebrate milestones on Instagram. This active engagement can foster a sense of community and belonging.
  • Showcase opportunities: Use platforms like Medium or your company blog to delve deeper into the projects you undertake, the technologies you champion, and the opportunities for growth within the organization.
  • Leverage different platforms:
    • LinkedIn: Ideal for professional networking, sharing company news, and posting job vacancies.
    • Instagram: Showcase company culture, behind-the-scenes looks, and employee spotlights.
    • Twitter: Share industry news, engage in trending discussions, and highlight company milestones.
    • YouTube: Post tutorials, or informational videos about the company and its offerings. You can also host “Ask us anything” sessions here. 
    • Reddit: Engage in industry-specific subreddits, share knowledge, and gather feedback. It’s a great platform for candid conversations and insights.
    • TikTok: Use this platform for short, engaging videos that highlight company culture, fun moments, or quick insights into daily operations.

Pro tip: Diversify your content strategy based on the platform. What works on LinkedIn might not resonate on Instagram. Tailor your content to fit the audience and nature of each platform for maximum impact.

4. Leverage mobile optimization

Ever tried accessing a website on your phone only to be met with tiny text and unclickable buttons? 

In today’s mobile-centric world, such experiences can be incredibly off-putting. 

With a significant portion of job seekers relying on their mobile devices to search and apply for jobs, ensuring a mobile-friendly recruiting process is no longer a luxury, it’s a necessity.

People are on the move, juggling multiple tasks, and they want the flexibility to search for jobs, apply, and even interview, all from their mobile devices. 

Ensure that your careers page and application forms use responsive design. 

This means that the layout and content automatically adjust to fit the screen size, whether it’s a desktop, tablet, or smartphone.

5. Invest in #RecTech

There are so many places to find candidates, so many resumes to go through, and so many interviews to conduct. 

This is where investing in recruitment technology can help you a lot.

A recruitment software can do several things, like posting job openings on different websites, collecting and parsing resumes, and even helping schedule interviews. 

Instead of having excel sheets everywhere or trying to keep track of everything in your head, the software keeps it all neatly organized on your computer.

One of the best things about recruiting software is that it uses data to help make decisions. For example, it can show which job sites bring in the most candidates or which job ads are the most popular. 

Quick tip: If you are searching for a trustworthy hiring software, you might want to take a free demo of Recruit CRM.

Recruit CRM’s AI-powered ATS + CRM offers a variety of features like AI resume parsing, candidate matching, GPT integration, 100% customizations, 5000+ integrations, automated workflows, and more to improve your recruitment ROI. 

6. Seek candidate feedback

Just like businesses value customer feedback, you should value feedback from job applicants. 

It’s a simple yet powerful way to understand and improve the hiring process.

Collect applicant feedback using candidate experience feedback surveys because they see things that might not be obvious to you. 

Maybe the job application was too long, or the interview instructions were unclear. By asking candidates what they experienced, companies can get insights into what’s working and what’s not.

It’s also worth noting that when you ask for feedback, it shows the applicant that you care. Even if someone doesn’t get the job, they might leave with a positive impression of the company.

Frequently asked questions

1. Can optimizing the careers page impact my candidate drop-off rate?

Definitely! A well-structured and engaging careers page not only attracts potential candidates but also guides them smoothly through the application process. 

When candidates find it easy to navigate and understand the roles, they’re more likely to complete their applications, leading to a decrease in drop-off rates.

2. How do the length and complexity of application forms influence candidate drop-off rates?

The longer and more complicated an application form is, the more likely candidates are to abandon it. If they feel overwhelmed by too many questions or unclear instructions, they might decide it’s not worth the effort. 

Simplifying and streamlining these forms can significantly reduce the chances of candidates dropping off midway.

3. How often should I take candidate feedback to reduce drop-off?

It’s wise to seek feedback after every major recruitment drive or at least quarterly. Regular feedback helps identify any recurring issues or new challenges in the hiring process. 

By addressing these concerns promptly, you can continually enhance the candidate experience and reduce drop-offs.