How Hourly Job-seekers Decide Where to Apply

The internet revolution in hiring is here. It has, in fact, been here since the first millennials began securing their first jobs in the late 1990s. And yet. When we spend eight hours per day – one-third of our lives – where we work, we can be understandably picky about where we work. So much so, that very few job applications are completed entirely online.

The results of a StellarEmploy survey showed the importance applicants place on that je ne sais quoi of the jobs they apply for, and eventually take.

  • Job-seekers apply through both targeted and general searches: 66% of applicants said they identified a specific place they want to work and then figured out how to apply there at least once in the past week. That means that making your job appeal to people beyond your job posting is important, because …

  • Job-seekers don’t apply to that many jobs: More than 80% of our applicants had applied to less than five job in the past week. This is good news for employers because it means that once you have an applicant, you have a pretty high chance of getting him or her to take the job with you. But your job isn’t over yet when applicants report that …

  • The feeling of the place is important for accepting jobs: Only 26% of applicants said they would accept a job without visiting the location and meeting with coworkers first. Of the remaining applicants, half said they always need to visit the location first, and half said that it would depend on the vibe they got during a phone interview.

Given that the internet is the most effective, fastest way to apply to jobs. The question is now how can we make online job applications more personal?

StellarEmploy has seen several companies in the hourly jobs space attempt to personalize their application process by asking company-specific questions, like “What makes you excited about working with us?” However, as the length of an application grows, the number of applications that an applicant can submit each week declines. A typical online application now takes 45 minutes to complete rather than 15 minutes for a walk-in paper application.

Another approach is to provide more information about the company, through visuals or descriptions online. At StellarEmploy, we saw a 100% increase in completed applications when we added pretty visuals to our online process.

Finally, if the feel of the place is important, employers can revert back to accepting applications in store. Companies such as Macy’s and Target set up computers for applicants to complete their online application in the store itself. StellarEmploy’s clients invite applicants to complete their application inside on their smartphone.

StellarEmploy believes that the best way to encourage applicant engagement is to emphasize why the job is ideal for the applicant specifically. This is why we have started recommending jobs based upon our proprietary personality evaluation.

However they choose to do it, the companies that make the best use of their online applicant funnel will have found ways to personalize the process despite the dispassionate characteristics of the online application.

Sara Nadel is Co-Founder and Co-CEO of StellarEmploy