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Nursing recruitment

5 tips to streamline your nursing job application process

BY: Tammy Pennington on October 25, 2017

If you are a healthcare recruiter or hiring manager, you want to find top job candidates, and you want them now.

With prime nursing candidates in high demand, you need to consider your audience to attract the right candidates. Research from Indeed.com suggests 78% of job seekers would apply for jobs on their mobile phone if the process was easier, so it’s vital to reach that audience with your job application process to get the best applicants.

The application process should be straightforward and take only a few minutes to complete. If an application takes longer than five minutes to complete, you are likely to lose more than 50% of potential applicants, according to the online job site Beyond.com.

Here are five tips for recruiters to make the job application process as smooth and streamlined as possible while getting the best results.

job application process

Young female nurse uses cell phone in clinic to search for open jobs.

Design for mobile devices

It’s important for your job application to be mobile-friendly. Make sure it’s easy to access on multiple platforms, such as social media. Avoid using bulky drop-down menus that are confusing or difficult to navigate on a cell phone. Don’t make people scroll through multiple pages of content – millennials, in particular, hate this.

Include an “Apply” button at the top of the first page to make the process of submitting the application easier. It’s important to remember you’re not going to hire somebody at this point; you just want to get the right candidates to the next level so you can decide whether you want them to come in for an interview

Keep job descriptions concise

You can do this by choosing a few key points to get your thoughts across. Don’t spend a lot of space on explaining company culture or making general statements.

Be sure to include the most relevant questions early in the application so an applicant can see right off the bat if they meet the job requirements. Does the individual have the degree or certification necessary? Can they work nights and weekends? Do they want to work remotely? Be upfront with these issues so you don’t waste the candidate’s time. It shows you care about them, and they’ll respect that.

Rethink making a resumé a requirement

If more than 70% of job seekers are using a mobile device to search for jobs, it makes sense to give them the option to apply for a job, or at least express interest, without attaching a resumé. Consider the growing trend of allowing candidates to submit their LinkedIn profile URL as a preliminary resume.

Another option is to include a contact form with a few short questions about their qualifications that can be answered with a simple yes/no or with a single click. This will help you determine if you want to connect with them for an interview. Make this simple change to your hiring process and you will be ahead of the curve.

Have the right applicant tracking system

The right applicant tracking software is immensely helpful, and can be a great time saver for you and the candidate. There are so many available applicant tracking systems on the market now that you shouldn’t settle for one that makes your job harder. Choose a system that helps you by narrow down candidates based on qualifications, saving you the hassle of wading through resumes and profiles that aren’t matched to the job.

Many job seekers also complain about not getting a timely response from the employer or waiting months to find out that they didn’t make the cut. Your applicant tracking system should be set up to immediately notify individuals who don’t meet the qualifications for a position. This eliminates having to answer a lot of follow-up calls, and is just common courtesy.

Conversely, if you find top talent, contact them immediately. Don’t wait until you get a pool of 100 candidates. Put together a brief email to express interest and initiate that all-important conversation before someone else does.

job application process

Create more than one job description

Write two job descriptions, one short and one longer. Start by posting the short one, and if you don’t get qualified applicants within 10 days, use the longer description, or change the job title. Perhaps the title was not specific enough, or your job description was too vague or poorly written. The same job stated in a different way might attract more and better-qualified candidates.

By using these tips, you will make the hiring process more appealing to prospective nursing applicants. You also will give your organization a much better chance of landing the top nursing talent you need to ensure your organization runs smoothly and provides the best possible patient care.


Freelance writer Sue Pierman contributed to the writing and research of this article. 

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Tammy Pennington

Tammy Pennington has been helping recruiters reach nurses through both live events and technology for nearly two decades. As product manager for advertising solutions at OnCourse Learning, Pennington focuses on launching new products to keep companies engaged and connected with job seekers. She formerly was national events director for Nurse.com. Follow her on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/tammy-pennington-7622576/ or on Twitter @Tpennington123.