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Are your application processes too long to attract procurement talent?


Demand for talented procurement professionals continues to be high. Our CIPS/Hays Procurement Salary Guide 2018 shows that three-fifths of managers are expecting to hire procurement, supply chain and logistics (PSC&L) talent in the next year. However, the percentage of employers facing challenges finding the right talent is on the increase, rising by 5% from last year to 56% in 2018.

Getting the application process right is therefore imperative for PSC&L employers in order to find the professionals they need. In my previous blog, I discussed what PSC&L professionals look for in a job advert and what you can do to ensure you catch the eye of these professionals. But just because someone has decided to apply for a role at your organisation does not mean that they are guaranteed to finish the application.

Time, or the lack of it, is contributing to challenges keeping professionals engaged during the application process. Our new What Workers Want research shows that nearly three-quarters of PSC&L candidates (73%) would consider abandoning an application that took them over 15 minutes to complete. But two-fifths of employers say that their application process takes longer than this timeframe to finish, meaning they are at risk of losing out on professionals during the application stage and exacerbating the hiring challenges they already face. 

It is not just the process of applying which needs to be efficient, timely feedback on applications is important too. Over half (57%) of PSC&L professionals expect to hear back about the success of their application up to a week after it is submitted. However, employers are taking too long to notify applicants during this part of the application process. Only a third feedback to applicants up to a week after they receive an application, and two-fifths instead take between one and four weeks.

So what can you do to avoid losing candidates during the application stage?

1. Test your own application process

An application process of over 15 minutes is too long for most candidates, but do you know how long yours takes to complete? Test it in its entirety for yourself and time how long it actually takes. This will put you in a more informed position to pinpoint the areas where it may be taking too long.

2. Don’t ask for more information than is necessary

One such area during the application process which may need improving is the amount of information you ask candidates to provide. When you test your process, ask yourself if each piece of information you ask for is necessary for someone applying for a role, and whether you ever ask for the same information twice. Remember, you can ask for further information from candidates later on in the process, the key here is to keep applicants engaged enough to complete the application.

3. Be timely on your feedback

Are you feeding back to applicants within a week of their application being submitted? If not, you could lose the interest of the candidate and they may have already looked elsewhere by the time you contact them. It is also important to reply to all applicants, regardless of whether their application is successful or not. A candidate who did not make the cut this time might do so for another role at your organisation in the future, but if their application experience is poor the first time around they may not consider applying again.

With challenges finding the right PSC&L talent widespread in the profession, employers should take the time to check whether their application process is adding to the difficulties. Making the process as quick and efficient as possible and maintaining contact with all applicants can not only increase the number of professionals that apply for a job, but also maintain a pipeline of engaged talent for future roles.

We talk more about how you can improve your hiring processes in our latest podcast.

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