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Is it time to say farewell to 3rd party application forms?

Posted By: Thomas Shaw, 11:30am Tuesday 19 July 2011    Print Article

At last! SEEK's new application export function (or as I like to call it "job application webservice") is live and ready to go. Kudos to Jobadder for being the first to implement this new function for their clients.

It's quite interesting to find out, that a large percentage of jobs listed on SEEK (NZ ~39% and AU ~49%) link out to 3rd party application forms. This form could be your recruitment website, multi-posting system or directly back into your ATS/recruitment database.

SEEK's linkout % figure was higher than I first expected. It must be increasingly hard for them to explain to clients WHY there is such a discrepancy in metrics from application form views > linkout clicks and THEN provided with some unverified application metrics through the clients own system.

"You said I had 40 linkouts to my providers application form, but I only received 14 applications! Where did the other 26 go?"

If it was my job board, I would want the advertiser to know the exact metrics my site was achieving: ad views > application form views > successful applications!

But there has also always been a number of technical problem linking out to 3rd party forms. Not to mention 20 page application forms are so 2005 (yes, talking about you PageUp, Taleo, NGA, etc.).

It's not the first job board to recognise this problem. JobG8 and a number of other job boards and solution providers have had this function available for a number of years.

The question you should be asking yourself is... Can you put a $ figure on the number of candidates you may be loosing through a 3rd party application form?

5 reasons why you should reconsider 3rd party application forms

  1. If you have a popup blocker installed on your browser, there is a very small chance the application form may be blocked, unable to load, or unable to render for your device.

  2. Duty of care. You could be referring users to insecure, unresponsive websites (ie TurboRecruit's DDoS attack in 2009) or expired forms. Perhaps even redirecting users to identity thieves.

  3. Candidates are unable to use stored candidate profile/resumes on an existing job board to apply for jobs using the 3rd party form.

  4. Pop up forms don't work on mobile devices.

  5. But most of all, this slight change in process will improve the candidates application experience!

On the flip side, the solution provider that needs to receive the candidates application is still receiving the application, but through a different medium. ie, the webservice.

Solution providers should embrace this move. In the end the candidate will have a better experience and the client will see an improved job application process!

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Article Tags: seek jobadder application form linkout ats application tracking systems multiposter ddos candidate experience job board recruitment systems user experience

Comments Hide Comments (5)

Feel free to join in on the conversation. All comments are moderated before publishing. Comments posted by subscribers don't necessarily reflect the views of Recruitment Directory.

 Brett Iredale (3:05pm Tuesday 19 July 2011)

Thanks for the mention Tom. We are pleased to have been able to work with SEEK on this and believe this is a step in the right direction for a lot of our mutual clients.

 Jeff Dickey-Chasins (2:55am Friday 22 July 2011)


Excellent post. This is a never-ending problem for job boards. One big challenge, as you said, is candidate attrition at the point where they enter the ATS - companies often don't understand that a 15 page application form turns off candidates. Then there are the technical issues you point out. If we could get some sort of market coalescence around a technical solution, it would: a) help job boards; b) help employers; c) make candidates happier. I've got my fingers crossed!

 Gareth Jenkins (9:53pm Friday 22 July 2011)

Hi Thomas.

Removal of 3rd party apps can work - at least to solve the many problems you have mentioned - however should always be backed up by at least an automated thankyou emails inviting the candidate to the company's own career site to find out more information about them and to engage further with them. Of course some of this depends on the role at hand - a retail temp worker doesn't need to spend two hours researching each company's key values before applying! However in order to have any hope of a truly good fit for a more senior long term role, having a good opportunity to find out more about the company, culture and career paths is essential I believe. There will never be enough information on a jobsboard "profile" for this.

 Simon Bishop (4:20pm Monday 01 August 2011)

Hi Thomas,

Is interesting this option being offered by Seek, however the stats that Seek put forward (re 3rd party link outs) are tracked when a candidate clicks on the "apply now" button - whereas Seek tracks their own submissions once a successful application is submitted.

As many jobseekers would click on the apply button and not go through with Seek application forms, however these are not tracked as they are with 3rd party link outs.. so the stats for 3rd party linkouts can be misleading.

3rd party application forms (when used correctly) are very popular with our clients as the recruiters like having control over what is asked/answered by jobseekers. Especially is large volume applications is expected and knockout questions are used. If one agency/corporate overdoes the application form, then surely this is favourable to other competing agencies for the same talent.

 Ranald Hendriks (6:42am Monday 17 October 2011)

Higher job application statistics on Link Out may assist the advertiser in increasing the number of applicants (simply because it is easier for them to apply for many roles when doing it on a job site that they have created their resume on). I'm skeptical from my experience however that the quality of these additional serial job hunters was worth not linking out. The additional transactional cost economics of reviewing a much higher number of poor quality candidates Vs the higher quality of linked out candidates outweighs the purported benefits of stopping linked out, serving the job board supplier only. It makes good sense to Link Out and install tracking tags on your RMS/ATS to establish which job boards provide the best quality of candidates on Link out.

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