Looking for a new job has brought me to the deepest and darkest trenches I never even knew existed on the internet. I've been to places I wouldn't even dare bring you. I think I've actually seen the "black hole" where resumes tend to go once you spend an hour entering details about your life on an online job application. It was either that or my head hitting the desk from the exhaustion of typing - over and over - my job history, skills and abilities, salary requirements and what shoe size I wear. It has been many years since I've been in the job market and this online stuff at that time didn't even exist. Well people, times have changed and if you are unfortunate enough to get the pink slip, throw on a life vest because it will be an adventure!
I wonder during this time consuming process if my fruitful efforts and time spent applying for your job online will actually prove success? A nice little automated "Your resume has been received and you may or may not hear back from us, but good luck!" email is actually quite comforting since it's the only thing I'm hearing back when I apply for a position. Now I'm starting to really understand what my applicants go through and what I've been missing since I've been a recruiter.
I never realized how incredibly ridiculous some of these online applications are until now. In fact, one application I came across immediately asked me for my social security number, date of birth, and my mother's maiden name - are you kidding me? During this experience, almost 90% of job applications make you go through this lengthy process of entering your name, nick name, maiden name, future name, last four addresses, all of your employment history, manager names, references and so much more. I kept thinking to myself, "Maybe this is a test of my patience? I can do this! I can show them that I will answer each question incredibly detailed and hopefully I will hear back because I spent all of this time applying for a job I think would benefit their organization if they hired me!" Still waiting.
It made me think about my candidates who apply for the open positions I post for my current organization. It made me realize all the effort and patience it takes to apply for a position and how ridiculous it is to make the application process so time consuming. I can understand the need for screening questions and a cover letter, but please for the love of whatever you believe in, please come up with or buy a system that downloads information from our resume to your database so we don't have to enter in all the details AND then download our resume which provides you with the exact same information. Trust me. There are a few companies out there who get it and the application process was pain free.
This whole trying to find a job thing has taught me a couple of very important lessons I will for sure take with me hopefully with my next dream job:
1. Stop what you are doing RIGHT NOW and apply for a job you posted for your company. Did it make you want to drink a gallon of coffee or start smoking if you have never smoked before in your life? If so, now is your chance to save those around you. Make your application process simple. Ask for what you want. A recruiter is supposed to find out all of the details about someone by talking to applicants.
2. It seems as though we rely on these repeated questions and a computer to make the screening process easier, but think about passive or professional candidates. If you are not really looking for a job, but heard about this fabulous company you might want to work for, would you seriously spend an hour applying for a job when you really don't need to? However, if the application process was simple, why not submit your resume quickly over lunch?
3. We all sometimes don't do this and I have to admit I do it every-so-often, but respond to your applicants. We all get so busy and forget to let them know the position has been filled or put on hold, but the resume will be kept on file. It's nice to know, even when it's an automated response, that the application is where it was meant to be and that hopefully someone will read it, call you, and interview you.
I will eventually come out of this a winner. Come and apply for a position I will post in the future at my next dream job because I can guarantee you won't want to change your profession and become a traveling circus roadie. Good luck and go forth with less painful application processes!