I ran into this little snippet in an online job ad today and I think it illustrates one of the big problems in online recruitment.

Online Recruitment Ad
I believe this well meaning organization is trying to engage with candidates in an honest and upfront way.  But it appears they are a little helpless when they include the statement: Please note: If the ‘Apply Now’ button on a job board posting does not take you directly to the (unnamed) career site, please type www.(unnamed).org/careers in your browser to reach our site directly.”

Why would this strange statement appear in a job ad?  Because the Internet can be an ugly place when it comes to engaging candidates.  You see, it’s easy to grab a job ad and place it on your career aggregation site and put your own “Apply” button on the ad.  What happens when the job seeker clicks on that apply button can be anything from semi-respectable data gathering for the purpose of aiding in future job searches on that site, all the way to misleading data gathering for the purposes of marketing the candidate other jobs and services. There are probably better and worse scenarios than I mention, so please share your stories and knowledge.

In this case, I clicked the apply button to find out what would happen, putting myself in the position of a job seeker with a sincere interest. I was immediately notified that I must register before applying.  I went to the associated registration page and filled out my personal information.  I was told of all the benefits I would get from registering with this job ad aggregator and made an earnest effort to opt out of all the pre-selected email marketing programs they pre-enrolled me in, and I agreed to their terms of use (whatever they were).

I was then dropped on the advertiser’s applicant tracking search page.  Huh?  Where’s the job?  I then spent 5-10 minutes searching the ATS looking for the job I had “applied for” and it didn’t exist.

So this organization knows that their job ads will likely be used to take advantage of job seekers, otherwise why would they put such a cryptic instruction on their ad.  So unless they are being dishonest with themselves, they know that a portion of the candidates they are seeking will be abused by the time they get dropped of at the doorstep of their applicant tracking system.

If I were a real candidate and I actually found the job I “applied” for, I likely would have been even more frustrated because this particular employer uses an applicant tracking system that is notorious for frustrating candidates.  The vendor has an Amplicate page full of fed up candidates.

Again, I think this company is well meaning.  I just think they don't have systems in place to minimize candidate frustration.

Do you know how happy your candidates are?  Do you know which sources are truly abusing your candidates?  Which ones are delighting them?  Which ones are annoying them?

So much of the online recruitment process is out of your control.  You can be completely well meaning and smart about your employer branding and sourcing, but it’s getting killed out there in a frequently predatory Internet.

That’s why corporate recruiting organizations should have tools that allow them to continuously gauge candidate satisfaction, pinpoint source satisfaction issues so they can be addressed, and foster a dialog with all your candidates that will prove your brand by demonstrating that you care about candidates and are taking steps to improve.

Views: 353

Comment by Louis Bina on August 11, 2011 at 10:12am
Ian, I always like articles that focus on the candidate experience. I wrote an article for my customers on ways they can integrate their ATS career portal with their website to make it as easy as possible for applicants to apply to the job they want, 4 Things Candidates Want From Your Website, I'd love to get your feedback. I also put on  a webinar every so often to share tips on enhancing the candidate experience. Brand integrity is big to us at CATS, which is definitely lacking with the poor company that sparked your article. How a company greets their applicants creates an impression about the type of employer they are.
Comment by Ron Kubitz on August 11, 2011 at 10:46am
Ian excellent post and I agree wholeheartedly! Another pet peeve of mine in a similar vein deals with recruiters at job fairs. I always take the time at job fairs to review resumes and talk with each candidate. I am truly annoyed by those recruiters that do not engage candidates at job fairs and similar events but instead tell them to visit their websites to view open jobs and to use the ATS to apply online. The human touch is all to often missing!
Comment by Victoria on August 12, 2011 at 4:19am
I had a similar story to me two weeks ago. The largest company in the world (everybody knows) representative office is in Ukraine, was given the advertisement of the position in on of the job site in Ukraine. And in advertisement was asked to send an information/CV through their international corporate website. Since I am a job seeker, I pressed the button in the ad "Apply" and started my searching. At first I was searching for a country where open vacancy, then the exact position which was not in the list of vacancies. And then I tried to put my information on the proposed register form. In general, I spent long time to finish. But fact is fact, this can happens and in my practice I meet this for the first time such an approach for the candidates who are looking for a job. Especially I was unexpectedly surprised when such "convenience" offered a large and well known company in the world.

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