Whether it’s for a grant, scholarship, fellowship, job, or any other program, you’ll always have to fill out an application. But more than one third of applicants are annoyed by application processes.
Organizations have received the message and are making changes to their processes; primarily by shortening them up in hopes of easing the frustration.
But there are many other ways to amp up your online application. Here are three best practices to create a simpler, more intuitive application.
Only ask your applicants for information once
If you offer more than one program, chances are applicants will be submitting a handful of different applications. Why ask them to fill out information over and over again though, if the answer doesn’t change for each application?
Things like personal and educational information or work and volunteer experience don’t often change from application to application. Asking your applicants to submit this information more than once is time consuming and discouraging, and can lead to applicant drop-off.
To combat this time-wasting issue, use a system that allows an applicant answer your questions one time, applying that information to each of their applications moving forward. Not only will this help your applicants focus on the questions that matter most, but it will keep the process flowing and remove frustration caused by repetition.
Save your applicants’ work for them
As an applicant, nothing is more frustrating than spending time on an application, only to lose your progress halfway through. Maybe the tool you’re using doesn’t save your data throughout the process, or maybe you forgot to click ‘save’ for the hundredth time. Either way, this experience is frustrating, and starting over can take a long time.
Using an application management solution that automatically saves applicant progress prevents wasted time and unnecessary grief. Applicants never have to worry about their data being erased, and they’ll never feel the frustration that comes with having to start over.
This auto-save feature will also allow your applicants to come back to their application at a later time, which may offer a much-needed break, especially if there are a lot of requirements. Enabling your applicants to complete the application in pieces will reduce the pressure of getting the job done.
Communicate with your applicants in real-time
Sometimes applicants make mistakes, or don’t understand how to answer a question on the application. You can’t always be there hovering over their shoulder or available by phone 24/7, so why not offer them clear direction and troubleshooting from the beginning?
When your applicant forgets to answer a question, crosses the maximum word number for a question, or forgets the ‘.com’ in their email address, for example, custom error messages will help your applicant easily identify the problem and lead them to a quick resolution.
Being able to both identify the issue to your applicant and explain the steps needed to resolve that issue will save you time as a program manager, but it will also decrease confusion and frustration in your applicants (and speed up the overall application process!)
All of these tips can help you seamlessly collect applications and keep your applicants happy, all while saving everyone time in the process. A win-win for you both!