Simply put, job boards are having difficulty delivering product to market.  This language is common in manufacturing and retail industries, but general logistic terms are not often adapted to online recruiting. So, let’s think outside the box, like Supply Chain Manager.

If the job board industry main product is a candidate’s completed application and the market is your employer/customer demand for completed applications, data has revealed that candidates, when faced with an ATS apply process, are abandoning the application at unacceptable high rates!  Said another way, when candidates start the apply process with a ”click to apply” at a third-party recruitment site and are re-directed to the employer’s ATS application process, upwards of 90% fail to complete the application, and this is the supply-chain problem.

Just look at the data, an early CareerBuilder survey put the abandonment rate at 60% for most companies. AppCast has the figure closer to 90%, and much higher for mobile users.

What’s driving candidates to abandon an application process? Frequently cited reasons include repetitive ATS account registration requirements, repetitive document uploading and apply forms that are too lengthy with questions that seem irrelevant or invasive. Factor in that more and more candidates are opting to use their mobile devices, and that most ATS apply processes simply are too cumbersome to use, resulting in even fewer completed applications.

The bottom-line, candidates are abandoning the external apply process industry-wide because of workflow inefficiencies between third party recruitment sites and employer utilized ATSs.

Have you ever booked accommodations or a car or flight on Travago or Travelosity? If you have, you know it’s easy, frictionless and very efficient to search and identify your item of choice, secure a reservation and make a payment all through one website. Using these services is fast, easy and efficient. Compare that experience to what candidates go through simply trying to apply for a job opportunity online. Applying for a job through a recruitment site usually requires registering an account on more than one website, uploading the same documents multiple times, and typing the same information over and over, plus agreeing to terms and usage conditions that transfer data ownership over to the website operators.

While government labor-law compliance requires excessive candidate data collection, the lack of data utilization between website stakeholders compounds the level of effort it takes for a candidate to complete an application. This data disconnect between job boards is in large part driving candidate away from the online recruitment industry in search of a better way to seek employment, and its hurting everyone.

How This Disconnect Hurts All of Us

Because of this lack of integration, millions of job candidates are transferred from recruitment websites and job boards (where they’ve already created profiles, stored career data and entered contact information) to an employer’s ATS with very little or none of this information intact.

They’re forced to fill out applications and other required forms from scratch again and again. This can take hours for each job they apply to. It’s a frustrating, unacceptable experience filled with redundant steps, multiple registration points and a variety of potential bottlenecks. No wonder the abandonment rate is sky high.

Let’s be clear: job candidates aren’t the only ones affected by the lack of integration between recruitment sites and ATSs. It has a profoundly negative impact on everyone involved:

  • Employers – Abandonment means employers aren’t getting access to all of the talent that’s trying to reach them. Nor are they getting full ROI from the recruitment sites and job boards they’re relying on to send this talent to them. The poor candidate experience also tarnishes employment brands the moment job seekers attempt to interact with them.
  • Recruitment Websites/Job Boards – When abandonment occurs, these sites don’t get credit for delivering candidates to an employer’s ATS, despite the fact that they did deliver. The ROI they provide to clients plummets. They appear to be technically incompetent, even downright unhelpful to job seekers and employers alike. This leads to a loss of clients, traffic and revenue.
  • ATS Providers – By failing to support the smooth transfer of candidate information from recruiting sites, ATSs appear to be roadblocks to a positive candidate experience. Employers question their value, especially as candidates openly complain about their poor experiences via social channels and other public forums.

The longer recruitment sites, job boards and ATSs remain disconnected, the more all three of these groups are harmed and the more insensitive they appear to be to the plight of job seekers. Peter Cappelli, Professor of Management at The Wharton School and Director of Wharton’s Center for Human Resources, puts it this way: “The candidate experience is a largely untapped source of influence and brand management for employers. Improving it helps everyone — job seekers, vendors and employers.”

We couldn’t agree more. That’s why we’ve developed a solution that serves all of these groups.

Our solution is cloud-based software that connects any recruitment site and any job board to any applicant tracking system. It provides seamless, single-point integration at the ecosystem level, vastly improving the way candidate information is shared and delivered.

You can download our article, “Wake Up Call: It’s Time To Integrate Recruitment Websites and ATSs Once and for All,” to learn more about how reThinkData improves the candidate experience and prevents abandonment.

photo credit: Dead End, DeKalb, IL via photopin (license)