Talent Acquisition

How to Use Low-Touch Application Forms to Attract Top Candidates

man staring at a complicated process

The job application form itself is rarely the moment you realise a candidate is a perfect fit for your open role.

That comes when you have your initial conversations or face-to-face interviews.

Moving from high-touch applications to low-touch job application forms is a powerful way to attract more qualified candidates and give your recruitment process the best chance of success.

In this article, we’ll look at why low-touch application forms are the key to attracting top talent to your role, the main differences between high and low-touch, UX tips to help you create high-converting application forms, and more.

Let’s jump right in.

Your job application process is more important than ever in the fight for talent

There’s a fight for talent caused by a range of factors, including but not limited to:

That means it’s more challenging than ever for firms to find and hire top talent.

Every part of your hiring process — from the application form, to the interview, to your new hire onboarding process, to your candidate retention strategy — matters.

If you get any parts wrong, your time-to-hire will increase, and it’ll be a roadblock for company growth.

But, there are ways you can optimise and improve your application process to give you a higher chance of finding the candidates you need and who will thrive at your company.

What is a low-touch job application form?

Low-touch job application forms are forms that require applicants to fill out a smaller number of form fields or take fewer steps to submit a job application.

This could involve things like:

  • Reducing the number of fields in an application form
  • Making your careers page easy to find
  • Reducing the drop-off points in your recruitment flow

It’s a change from the all-too-common job application process that requires applicants to copy-paste their CV or resume into a form with 100 fields and ignore the work someone has already put into crafting their CV to stand out.

Low-touch applications are effective because top candidates don’t want to spend hours applying for a job that takes their interest. They want to put their prospective application in and have a conversation with the recruiter hiring for the role. A low-touch application process enables that.

What are the key differences between high and low-touch job application forms?

There’s no single difference between high and low-touch job applications, and they both have their advantages and disadvantages.

High-touch applications

High-touch applications are good for roles with a high volume of candidates. Some friction in the application flow will filter candidates and you’ll be left with only the most motivated applying. You can gather all of the details and application information that you need to help your team quickly filter through applications and find the applicants you’d like to progress to the next stage.

On the other hand, high-touch applications can turn off well-qualified applicants, particularly if they’re more of a passive than an active candidate.

Here are some of the main pros and cons:


  • Roles that are likely to receive a high number of applicants
  • Entry-level where non-experienced based filters are more important
  • You can gather all key information upfront


  • Can turn off passive candidates
  • Highly qualified applicants don’t want to go to huge efforts to apply as they’re already in demand
  • Can introduce bias into the process

Low-touch applications

Low-touch applications have a variety of benefits. For example, most recruiters will have more conversations with highly qualified candidates using low-touch methods. Reaching out to a candidate with a friendly email or InMail to let them know about the role will gather more attention than posting a link to an application where a candidate needs to fill out a long and time-consuming form to proceed.

It’s also effective for passive candidates. If someone notices your application and sees it doesn’t require much effort to apply, they’ll be more likely to.

However, if you try to use low-touch application workflows for roles that would be a better fit for a high-touch approach, you’ll be out of luck.


  • Easier for candidates to apply
  • Good fit for mid to high-level roles as it encourages time-restrained candidates to apply
  • May need to re-work your careers and application pages to work for low-touch


  • Not a fit for entry-level roles
  • More manual work to filter through candidates

4 UX tips to create a low-touch application process

The user experience (UX) of your careers site and application is an often-overlooked part of the hiring process.

It’s easy to underestimate the importance of UX, but no matter how good your public-facing company culture is, an application process that’s difficult to complete will lead to a lower number of applicants.

If your UX helps candidates move through the application process more smoothly you’ll have more applicants and better chances of finding that perfect hire.

Here are six ways you can improve your current application process and form UX:

1. Add a clear link to your careers page on your website

This sounds obvious, but it needs to be obvious that you’re hiring. Don’t just delegate the role to external recruitment teams, or third-party job boards.

On our website, we even include a link to our Careers page in the main header menu.

Make it clear to candidates that you’re hiring, and anyone interested who’s visiting your website will gravitate towards it.

careers page

2. Make it easy to find your open roles

When a prospective candidate visits your careers page, you need to make it easy for them to browse.

Most Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) like Workable have this built-in, but if you’re creating a custom page, keep it in mind.

Anyone can quickly filter through your roles and find one that’s a fit for them.

For example, Cuvva’s careers page lets you choose between the different business areas, from product to marketing to operations.

It’s a simple step, but important. Candidates won’t need to scroll far to see what roles you have available, and they’ll be more likely to click through and start an application.


3. Use heatmaps and analytics to track completion rate

If you’re worried that your application process is hurting application rates, then it’s time to look at your data.

You can use tools like Hotjar or Microsoft Clarity to add heatmaps to your careers or application pages.

You can start tracking where common drop-off points are in the application process. You might find that there are parts of your application flow that lead to a significantly high number of people quitting the page, or areas that are commonly missed by candidates.

You can use your data to optimise and improve your form, reduce the number of touches that could harm completion rates, and ultimately, get more qualified candidates into your pipeline.

4. Talk to candidates before they apply

Candidates applying for mid-level or senior roles don’t expect to fill out long, high-touch forms before they’ve had a conversation with a recruiter.

Look for ways to reduce touches in the process, not just in your application form. This could mean starting the application process with a short email questionnaire, which is acceptable for most or having a 15-minute call to help both the recruiter and the candidate judge whether it’ll be a good fit.

If a candidate is a perfect fit, they’ll be happy to go through the official application form, even if there are complicated parts to it.

Your recruitment team will need to be active to make this process work, but it’ll pay dividends as more quality candidates are happy to go through your application form.

Do high-touch applications still have a place in your recruitment strategy?

High-touch application processes aren’t always bad.

If you have a high volume of candidates, have a clear expectation for what your team looks for in a candidate, and don’t have the team bandwidth to spend time talking with candidates before an interview, then high-touch can work.

But, there’s always a risk that it will be putting top candidates off applying, so make sure to analyse and review your process at regular intervals.

Metrics to determine if your job application process is scaring off top candidates

1. Total number of applicants

If you’re receiving a high number of applicants, that’s a good start — if they’re qualified. If people are reaching your application form, that suggests that your careers page is well located on your website, and your job application forms are easy to get started with.

But, it’s important to make sure that the applicants you’re receiving are qualified. If not, there’s a chance that your application form is scaring off top candidates without you knowing.

2. Application form conversion rate

This is the conversion rate of the number of total applicants to the number of completed applicants.

For a low-touch application form, this needs to be high. If your conversation rate is low, it’s a sign that there are potentially too many steps on your application form and there’s a risk that high-quality candidates will be dropping off before completing.

3. Candidate Net Promoter Score

Net Promoter Score (NPS) is a popular metric used by businesses to gauge how satisfied customers are with an experience.

You can apply NPS to recruitment and the candidate experience, too. After a candidate completes your application form, ask candidates to rate the application on a scale of 1-10.

You’ll learn if it’s a positive experience for them. If the NPS is low, you know you can make improvements to make the form easier to complete for candidates.

Are low-touch applications always the better choice?

Low-touch applications are an excellent way to improve the number of candidates coming into your application process. They can also help boost the number of applications from highly qualified candidates, as they won’t be scared off by seeing hundreds of fields and questions in your application form.

Low-touch applications are particularly relevant for mid to senior roles. It’s hard to source quality candidates for these roles, and keeping your application forms low-touch will ensure that the highest number of applications come through.

For entry-level roles, you may still be better off with a high-touch application form, as it can help filter down applicants and reduce the total number of applications you’ll need to manually review.

To determine which is best for your needs, make sure to regularly ask candidates for feedback on their application experience, track your application analytics, and review how your recruitment process is performing compared to your targets.


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