Screening Questions: What's the deal? 👀

by Shelby Burke

We're always thinking of ways to increase application volume, but what if the real problem is that we're just missing out on applicants because our screening process is too long? 🧐 Of course, you want to learn as much as you can about a potential candidate from their application, so have a look at what we learned!

Plenty of candidates see our posting and begin applying but never finish and submit their applications. Why is that?

We looked at application completion rates based on a variety of factors: application length, question types, and job types. Our findings gave us three S’s that you can keep in mind as you create and edit job postings: Six, Simpler, and Specialized.

6️⃣ Six: Screening Question Length

Our studies have found that in the pursuit of candidate knowledge, there is a balance between how many questions you can ask and a job postings completion rate. To maintain a healthy completion rate, having no more than six questions on the application is best. There is more success the fewer questions you have, and once the application has seven or more questions, the completion rate drastically begins to fall below 70%.

❓Simpler: Question Types

HigherMe enables you to make two main types of questions: choice and text. We looked into the split between choice and text questions and as an application has more and more text questions it has lower and lower completion rates. Applicants are more likely to complete an application if more of the questions are choice-based. The more choice questions an application has, the application is straightforward or simpler. While we encourage you to still include text questions, we suggest that you consider whether you can turn some of your text-response questions into a multiple-choice question. That way you still get your answer and fewer applicants “lose steam” when applying!

✨ Specialized: Job Types

Different jobs require different skills and we know that applications reflect that. While having fewer text-based questions increases application completion rate, the effects of the style of the application vary by job type. Looking at the restaurant industry, the Front of House (FOH) and Back of House (BOH) split demonstrates the need for specialized applications based on the role. As the applications approached being 100% text-based questions, this had a significant decline in the completion rate for BOH jobs. For FOH jobs, this effect was considerably smaller. When thinking of the types of people applying for these jobs, it begins to make sense. FOH jobs require direct interactions with people and require a more social and outgoing person. A more social and outgoing person is more inclined to write about themselves and generally to have a lot to say. 😄

So, keep the strengths of the roles in mind! For front-facing roles, up to half of the questions can be text-based. For roles that don’t require as much customer interaction, no more than a third of the questions should be text-based.

Putting all of this together, here are two examples of good application screening questions:

  • Host: three text-based questions and three choice questions (6 total questions)
  • Line Cook: one text-based question and three choice questions (4 total questions)

So, next time you put together an application, remember the three S’s!