The most unfortunate thing that can happen to your recruitment cycle is to have a candidate drop out of your application process because your online application isn’t up to snuff. 

Nevertheless, it’s something that happens every day at some of the best companies out there.

Staffing companies can step in and change that by taking over that process for their clients.  By providing solutions that are outside of the normal staffing context, you can elevate yourself from a vendor that of a solution provider and core talent partner.

With the TempWorks online app portal you can create that experience for a client and even keep their candidates in a separate pool.  There is really no limit to what you can customize for the right client.

So in this post I’m presenting a series of steps that we’ve focused on here at TempWorks to create the absolute best online application experience. 

After TempWorks developer Andy Cohen and I went to the HR technology show last year, we came back with a ton of ideas about online recruitment which, thanks to vastly improving web technologies like jQuery and JSON, we were able to act on quickly.

Here is our list of ways things we’ve implemented into the recent release of TempWorks App Portal.

Prefill as Much as Possible

PREFILL the application from a resume parser - we rewrote how our resume parser was being used and captured the data from the get-go. Marvelous improvements in speed have been made over the years, and we merely had to upgrade to the latest version and plug in to the new API.

Eliminate Errors

Another issue in terms of reducing applicant abandonment in the new Application was preventing those silly little errors that happen in browsers which prevent the data from saving. We found that our old application would frequently show an error message with information that was completely useless to the end user. After this message, they would have log on again and find that all of the information that they had spent the last ten minutes entering was missing.

We tackled this by moving the entire application on to one page. We decided to change to a tabbed user interface where a user clicks a next or save button to advance through the application.

Reduce Page Clutter

We reduced the amount of information that the user would see on a page (or rather a tab) at one time. Many of our client staffing agencies cater to Light Industrial where the computer skills aren’t the best. We slimmed down the number of fields that are required and displayed.

One neat thing that we recently did was completely separate the server application ( where the data is saved) from the client side (web browser). Instead of waiting for the server to render the content, we now let the browser do all that work for us. We simply send back (geek speak warning) JSON, which is tiny bits of information similar to XML in structure, and is significantly faster than waiting for the server side to render how a page will look. SPEED SPEED SPEED. Don't let your application speed bog you down.

Speed Up the Process

There are a few other issues of importance to Staffing Agencies that I have found over the years. Recruiters want to get their candidates out to a job as quickly as possible. Also, neither admins or recruiters want to spend their time filling out the required data, so they use the online application as a method of gathering that data, many times at the expense of not having an applicant complete the process.

In my opinion, having worked at many angles with a staffing agency and now at a company that develops software for staffing agencies, the whole online application process needs to be slimmed down and geared towards getting the minimum amount of requirements entered so the applicant can be contacted or brought in to the office for an interview.

Customize It

Despite making recommendations, like removing SSN fields from the initial registration (staffers, this is a NO-NO!), reducing the number of fields, trying to emphasize the importance of resume parsing, and simplifying the application process as a whole. Our clients continually want a highly customized application experience that serves as an initial screening process to weed out applicants and at the same time capture as much data as possible so the agencies don't have to do more work in the administrative aspect of getting a candidate to a job. There needs to be a balance of all of these factors. That balance is very industry specific. Mortgage staffing will be different from industrial staffing, general admin different from insurance staffing, and so on.


I implore all agencies to try to think about how the end user will look at their application and make changes accordingly.

Tags: Advice, TempWorks, Applicant Portal, Andy Cohen, Jquery, JSON, Online Applications, Software, Software Development