Online application form

What Questions Should You Ask on Your Online Application Form?

Are you giving your online application form a re-vamp? Or have you recently transitioned from a traditional email apply process or a paper-based application form for your vacancies?

Either way, when putting together your online application form for a vacancy, it can sometimes be tricky to know where to begin.

One mistake that organisations make is simply translating their paper-based application form to the internet. Online application forms are designed to be shorter so this often doesn’t work.

With so many potential questions you can ask, each covering different areas, the most important thing is that you obtain the information needed about the candidate to gauge whether they are a suitable match for your vacancy.

But what are the options for questions that you can ask? Here are some of the questions we recommend including on your online application forms:

The basic questions

These are viewed as the standard questions you will find on most application forms. Examples of these are:

• Do you have the right to work in the country where the role is based?
• Do you live within a commutable distance of the role’s location?
• What’s your current notice period?

The experience questions

These questions will ask candidates if they have experience in a particular area and will often ask them to elaborate more on this, usually in a free text question format. It’s important not to include too many free text questions within your application form as they can take a long time to answer thoroughly, especially on a mobile device.

The diversity/equal opportunities questions

Not every business includes equal opportunities questions on their application forms but with an increasing number of organisations focusing on their Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) efforts, more diversity data is being collected on candidates at application stage.

Equal opportunities questions can be questions surrounding age, gender, religion and race – they will likely be optional questions and all information will be reported on anonymously. If you’re monitoring your EDI efforts, it’s important to include these questions so you can report on the diversity of your applicants and workforce.

The multi-choice questions

These questions are great when you’re looking for candidates who hold a variety of skills; for instance, they’re often used for IT roles that require experience with several different programs or coding languages. They provide a quick way of seeing exactly what skills candidates have.

3 tips for building an online application form

1. Don’t make it too long

Is it really necessary to ask dozens of questions to gauge whether an applicant is a suitable match for your role?

If your online application form is too long, candidates are likely to get bored and abandon the application process before submitting the form. If you think that your current application form might be on the lengthy side, we suggest auditing every question; is there anything that could wait until interview stage to be asked? Just ask the essentials on your online form.

2. Don’t make your questions confusing

Word your questions clearly so candidate can answer them with confidence. Confusingly worded questions can often lead to incorrect answers which might mean that you reject an applicant who could be a great fit for your organisation.

For example, don’t ask a question such as ‘Do you have experience of customer service, sales and administration?’ and only provide the option to give a ‘Yes/No’ response. This can leave candidates confused if they have experience of one but not all of these areas.

Make it as easy as possible for candidates to provide accurate answers and give them the best chance of success when they apply for your roles.

3. Don’t ask for information that you can find in a candidate’s CV

When putting together your application form, consider if this is information you can gain easily from a CV or not. For example, don’t ask for information on their degree or any qualifications achieved; applicants are likely to have clearly laid these out on their CV. You don’t want candidates to have to repeat themselves constantly but you also need to have a clear idea if they meet your criteria or not.

Are you looking to modernise your application process via recruitment technology? Book your demo of Webrecruit ATS.

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