How to Improve Your Job Application Forms Using Logical Flow

Today's typical job application form is straightforward, but also lacking in personalization and detail. It will ask for an applicant's resume, cover letter, social media profile(s), and possibly a portfolio website. In many instances, this information is sufficient.

However, some companies may want to put candidates through a more thorough screening process and may need customization options. Asking pertinent questions up front through an application form can save recruiters a lot of time and hassle and cut down on the amount of time spent on phone screenings and interviews. With an online form builder like JotForm, HR professionals can easily create more comprehensive application forms by using logical flow to help their companies cut through the clutter.

How Should Application Forms Be Structured?

A form that adheres to logical flow asks questions in an order that makes sense to the applicant. Each section, and the order in which they appear, is intuitive and unambiguous. For example, people are used to being asked for their name and contact information first, and they are used to forms going from general to specific as they work their way through.

Grouping relevant sections together creates blocks of form fields that seem easier to tackle for applicants than the alternative – i.e., asking the same number of questions one after another without a visual break. If your form is especially lengthy, you may want to employ form organization techniques such as page breaks and tabs to keep the flow swimming along in neat components.

What Kind of Additional Questions Should My Application Pose?

Your job application should feature questions that help gauge the interest and expertise level of an applicant beyond what you would be able to glean from a resume. Ask questions that are relevant to the company culture and mission – questions that will help you determine if the applicant is a good fit. Here are some broad examples of what these questions might look like:

- Why do you want to work for X company?

- Why do you think that you would be great for this role?

- What are your hobbies?

Role-specific questions can include ones that help paint a picture of how the applicant works in scenarios that they would likely encounter at your organization – e.g., "Describe a time that you realized that your team wasn't going to make the deadline at the current pace. How did you proceed?"

How Can I Make My Application Form More Efficient?

Use conditional logic to make forms more streamlined. Also known as "branching" or "logic jumping," conditional logic is an online form-building method whereby you can configure a form to show or hide certain fields, sections, or entire pages based on an applicant's responses. Using conditional logic, you can customize the flow of your form according to a set of rules that you define. This allows your users to skip irrelevant questions, which should also lower your online form abandonment rate because applicants will only need to answer questions that matter to them.

An example would be to ask, "Have you taken a product or feature from conception to launch?" If the applicant answers "Yes," then the next question could state, "Describe your experience taking the project from beginning to end." If the applicant answers "No," they wouldn't see this question. This allows you to gain more information about each candidate's specific situation, and it gives each candidate the opportunity to dive deeper into their past job experiences.

Conditional logic can also be seen in action when you allow form users to select which role they're applying for from a dropdown menu, and based on their selection, they will then see follow-up questions that are specific to that role. Conditional logic is a smart way to configure your form to show fields dynamically.

Leeyan Rogers is the vice president of marketing at JotForm, an online form-building tool based in San Francisco.