Traditional healthcare applications are lengthy, largely the same across organizations, and time-consuming to complete, regardless of the role, making the entire process agonizing for job seekers. This friction, or job seekers’ resistance to complete long, repetitive applications, can negatively impact your organization’s quantity and quality of applicants. It’s no surprise, then, that the digital transformation rolling through healthcare includes innovations to the application process.

“The market is competitive and multiple organizations are looking for the same talent,” says Kena Adelekan, MSL, RACR, talent acquisition partner with Adventist Health System in Altamonte Springs, Fla. “When you frustrate applicants from the start, they may develop a negative perception of your organization. And if another organization has a process that’s quicker and faster, they’re apt to go with that facility over yours.”

How can you ensure you’re providing a frictionless healthcare application process, so you don’t miss out on qualified candidates?

Candidate Experience Is Key 

“Applicants expect service and support that is effective and efficient,” says John Petrov, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, senior vice president and chief human relations officer for CHI Saint Joseph Health. “They don’t want to go through a cumbersome online application process and have lots of data entry to do.”

Multiple studies echo Petrov’s sentiments. Just consider the following statistics:

  • Ease of use is 80 percent more important to users than service and support, according to research from Sierra-Cedar.
  • SHRM data shows that 60 percent of job seekers bounce before they finish an application because the process is too complex, the form is too lengthy, or the experience is not optimized for mobile. In contrast, an optimized consumer experience can flip that, as clients that use the optimized application in the HealthcareSource Applicant Tracking System have seen that flip to be a 60 percent completion rate.
  • According to our own Voice of Customer data collected by Lean Human Capital by HealthcareSource, 61.9 percent of candidates surveyed who did not get the job and had a negative experience responded that they had already told others about their experience. Further, data from the 2017 Talent Board North American Candidate Experience Research Report indicates that 35 percent air their grievances publicly.

This research demonstrates how important addressing the overall candidate experience is to your organization’s recruitment and talent pipelining success.

Act Now to Avoid Future Consequences

If you don’t work to improve the candidate experience for your potential applicants, you’ll risk missing out on high-quality talent and likely increase your time-to-fill. Below are a few strategic ways to improve your application process, so you can avoid the consequences of providing a poor user experience.

#1 Optimize Applications for Mobile

Since 60 percent of healthcare applications are completed on mobile devices, it’s critical your forms are browser and platform-agnostic, so applicants have a smooth experience anytime, anywhere.

#2 Reduce Repetitive Actions

Good candidates may be right for several positions within your organization. Enabling them to enter once, save, and autofill multiple applications reduces the time and effort required to complete the process, and encourages them to apply for more positions. You can also offer an “apply with…” option that enables applicants to use saved information from a profile they created previously – saving them from entering the same data over, and over again.

#3 Implement a Short-Form Application

For hard-to-fill jobs, incentivize applicants by requiring minimal information to get started. “Once mutual interest is established, the recruiter can request more complex information,” explains Jason Crepeau, senior director, strategy – talent acquisition solutions, for HealthcareSource.

 #4 Enable Text Messaging

Lack of communication is a common complaint about the healthcare hiring process. Text messaging is an effective way to “allow timely responses and updates,” Petrov says. Text messages are read and responded to in less than 5 minutes on average, versus 90 minutes for email, according to CTIA.

In the digital age, everyone demands easy and efficient online experiences – from shopping for merchandise to advancing their careers. That’s why enhancing your application process “is the right thing to do,” says Petrov. “Having a focus on continuous process improvement and innovation is key to remaining relevant in today’s increasingly competitive world.”

Learn more about how to modernize your talent management practices by downloading our free 2019 Healthcare Talent Management Predictions eBook.

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About Margot Carmichael Lester

Margot Carmichael Lester is a North Carolina-based business and brand journalist who has covered healthcare and staffing for more than 20 years. She also writes about moviemaking for the International Cinematographers Guild, specializing in action cinema, and co-authored the award-winning teen writing book, Be a Better Writer. She earned her BA in journalism from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and is a rabid Tar Heel basketball fan.