Most employers require an applicant to fill out an application when they apply for a job. It’s a commonly accepted part of the hiring process. So, what happens when you add a third party into the mix: a recruitment firm? Who facilitates the application? Lots of times an applicant would just fill it out as they wait for their first interview to start. Seems like an easy answer. Now let’s consider the virtual hiring process. So much has changed in the wake of a global pandemic; work from home and zoom interviews are now commonplace. How have virtual interviews changed the role of recruiters? For some, they’ve had to take extra steps and get further involved in the interview process. One example of this is facilitating the physical application.
As recruiters, we are involved in almost all communication between our candidate and the hiring firm. We set up interviews and prep our candidates, we edit resumes, and compile notes on each applicant. In any normal situation the application would be the employer’s responsibility. As the process has grown increasingly virtual and since we often send blind resumes and keep all contact information confidential, we assume some responsibility as the coordinating party. This has proved to be the case most often and we have had to add an extra step into our process. We’ve done more handholding and follow up to make sure the application is complete before the interview, trying to package everything up nicely for our client. In order to do this, we’ve had to analyze and try a few different approaches to find the best and easiest way to achieve a smooth interview process.
Firms are asking recruiters to assist with getting candidates to fill out an application prior to their first virtual interview. As the communicators, it falls to us to send the application and ensure that it gets completed and back to the employer. Adding this step has proven difficult. Candidates require multiple follow up attempts and have expressed difficulty in this part of the process. We have evaluated a few changes made within the past few months that have improved our return rate on applications.
Our first attempt at sending out an application to our candidates involved sending a PDF. For most, this meant printing the document, filling it out, scanning, and sending it back. The time frame for return was extended since completing it required multiple steps and it often could not be done without a personal computer. A candidate would need to wait until the end of the workday, and we would hope they got it back to us by the next morning. In a market where both recruiters and hiring managers are trying to speed the hiring process and get offers out as soon as possible to beat competition, the application became a major hinderance.
To alleviate pressure and make the application easier we needed to:
• Find a platform where candidates can fill out the form on a personal device, like a cell phone
• Stop including it as an attachment
• Incentivize completion by telling the candidate that they must fill it out to continue with the interview process
• Maintain confidentiality and prevent document circulation
Our solution was to seek out an online software for document and contract facilitation with the ability for electronic signing. We explored a few different options and selected our choice of PandaDocs. They offer easy to use templates with editing features and can prevent sharing to keep documents confidential. It also allows the owner of the document to view the progress made by the applicant. Overall, it had all the features we wanted and more.
After uploading all our templates into PandaDocs, we began sending out test emails within out team. We quickly found that the emails were going to the Spam folder. Luckily, PandaDocs offers an option where you can send the document via an embedded link. This turned out to be exactly what we needed. Not only did it solve the issue of the Spam folder, but it also allows us to reduce the number of emails we send to candidates. Now the e-sign document comes straight from our recruiters, keeps all relevant information in one place for our candidates, and cuts down on confusion.
Utilizing electronic signing is a great addition to our process. It has made it easier for our candidates to fill out applications and has cut down on follow up emails for our recruiters. Our application turnaround time has decreased, and we are able to get offers out quicker. We would absolutely recommend incorporating e-sign software if you aren’t already!