8 Benefits of Online Applications For Local Government

Written by Jonathan Wiersma

Municipalities are people-centric entities that are managed by the types of individuals who are motivated to serve those around them and improve their local communities. 

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Human resource managers in the public sector are faced with one unique challenge: how to find ideal candidates for civic service positions through the impersonal job recruitment process.

Online applications are helping municipalities to accumulate a more qualified talent pool while improving the overall candidate experience. Under this mutually beneficial arrangement municipalities are more quickly and cost-effectively identifying and hiring service-minded candidates prepared and committed to serve their communities. In return, candidates are experiencing a more convenient and efficient application process.


Before you post your next round of open positions through traditional, paper-based methods, consider these benefits of the online application process.

1. Qualified Candidates Are Performing Job Searches Online

According to recent studies, 30 percent of all Google searches are employment related. Candidates are searching for jobs online and are expecting to continue their application process online – not by downloading, handwriting and mailing a paper application. When a candidate identifies with your job posting, enabling him/her to immediately submit an application online, while he/she is still highly motivated and excited by the opportunity, will result in a more thorough and expressive application.

2. Qualified Candidates Are on Mobile

Applicants are also searching for opportunities from their mobile devices. According to a recent survey, 43 percent of job candidates have used their mobile device to look for a job. Today's workforce, especially younger generations, prefer to use their mobile devices for research – including job opportunities. The audience that wants to pay their bills online also wants the opportunity to find and apply for jobs online. Having an online application built into your mobile optimized website will expand your potential talent pool exponentially and increase your chances of more quickly hiring the ideal candidate.

3. Qualified Candidates Are Tech Savvy

As a society, we grow digitally knowledgeable and reliant every day. In addition, today's millennial and post-millennial generations that are just entering the work force are heavily tech-savvy. Candidates with technical skills will be an asset to your municipality, but you may not find these qualified candidates if you are only accepting paper applications and not posting open positions online. A more streamlined online application process will also signal to candidates that your municipality embraces modern technology and values their time, which will improve their perception of a position serving their local government.

4. Digital Tools Remove Barriers to Application

The last thing you want to do is deter a qualified candidate with a cumbersome application process. The thought of printing a paper application, paying for stamps and waiting weeks for a response will seem to many to be too time consuming when there are viable positions that can be obtained with less up-front time, effort and cost. Making the application process as easy as possible will help ensure you have a larger and more valuable applicant pool for consideration.

5. Online Applications Save You Time

According to a recent study by The Wall Street Journal, it takes employers, on average, 25 business days to fill a vacant position. Filling a position through traditional channels such as newspaper classified ads, headhunters or internal personnel departments can be time-consuming and costly for municipalities running on lean budgets. Online applications can reduce the cost of hiring considerably, especially when online application forms are easily accessible from your municipal website.

6. Online Applications Save Your Candidate Time

For job seekers, whether they are actively or passively searching for a new position, the research, application submission, interview and onboarding process could take months. Compared to traditional paper applications, online hiring is a more expeditious approach to filling vacant positions and right-sizing staff. Online hiring allows for faster pre-screening of candidates, which moves qualified talent more quickly through the pipeline, ultimately matching civic-minded applicants to municipal employers faster. When confronted with an application process perceived as being outdated or timely, applicants will move on to other opportunities and your government will miss out on talented candidates.

7. Storage, Organization and Access to Digital Information

The average municipality simply does not have the space necessary to store paper records for each candidate that submits an application to each vacant position. In addition, organizing paper records of applicants at various stages of the review process for each open position can pose significant logistical challenges. Online applications not only save physical space, they allow for easier tracking of applicants throughout the screening process and searching for stored candidate data.

8. Better Hires Lead to Less Attrition. Which Saves Money.

According to a U.C. Berkeley study, it costs $4,000 on average above salary and wages to hire a new employee. Add to that the cost of benefits, which can total up to 1.4 times the employee's base salary, and municipalities are looking at significant allocations of taxpayer dollars just to fill vacancies. With all of the benefits that online applications provide to more accurately match qualified candidates to job positions, local governments stand to benefit financially from maintaining longer tenured employees. Better hires lead to less attrition, greater job satisfaction and greater productivity – all factors that will help mitigate the cost of new hires to municipal bottom lines.

Online applications allow public sector employers to efficiently connect with talented candidates seeking positions that will allow them to improve the lives of others. To find such candidates, municipalities must offer application processes that appeal to forward-thinking, tech-savvy and expressive candidates. With a solution like CivicHR®, candidates can easily access online applications for municipal job opportunities. CivicHR also provides human resource managers with an easy-to-use software solution that will attract high quality service-minded candidates on multiple communication platforms and expedite the identification and onboarding of civic talent.

Learn more about the CivicHR Talent Management solution from CivicPlus

Want to learn more? Click here for 8 benefits of online job post applications in government HR software.