Do Your Web Forms Offer a Fair Return for a Visitor’s Information?

Everyone that works with e-stores and e-commerce has some awareness of conversion.  The goal is to set the site up in a way that the highest numbers of visitors complete the sale and checkout.  Unfortunately those lessons are often forgotten in other applications.  Any form on a website should ultimately have an eye on what is being asked of the visitor and what do they get in return.  If you want people to interact, you need to be sure it’s a fair trade.

I was recently evaluating an employment section of a website and noticed a monstrous form for people to submit a resume.  Now the prospect of employment is a pretty hefty return, so many people will fill out quite a bit of information online, but one of the required fields was a social security number.  In an age of increasing online scams you’d be hard pressed to get my social security number on any form, let alone one that only offers a possibility of a job interview. Guaranteed employment, maybe, possible interview, never.  Since I assumed they weren’t going to hire anyone that submitted a resume I inquired why the field was necessary. 

The reason: it cuts down on paperwork because the SS# goes into our applicant database and we have it on file.  The question is why do you need it?  Unless you intend to hire someone there is no pressing need to have their social security number on file.  Efficiency is good but in this case it was causing a lack of qualified candidates to apply.  Taking 2 minutes for a recruiter to type in the SS# for any applicant selected for the job is a lot easier than asking everyone that applies.  It will also help convert more job searchers into job applicants.  Always be aware of what you’re asking for in your web forms and make sure its not unreasonable compared to what your visitors receive in return.

– Eric

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