The Online Job Application Black Hole – Part 1

A black hole is a region of spacetime from which gravity prevents anything, including light, from escaping.

If you have applied to a job posted online you likely know what I mean. (see above)

Filling out the all the required fields is painful and then praying and sweating that you will not get disconnected during the process and have to start all over again. It’s tense. This ritual requires uploading a resume and adding a cover letter which is almost never read. Often the application software reloads your resume into a text resume ( I imagine for computer key word searching purposes ) and it almost never outputs correctly.

Delete, space bar, enter keys get a full workout formatting the text version manually.

And near the end of the process Sarbanes Oxley or compliance people get their blood with questions about your race and gender.

Supposedly they go to the compliance people and not to the internal recruiter but who knows?

The company wants this data so they can demonstrate they are not prejudiced.

If that is so then how come every job posting lists years of experience desired?

We know this company discrimination code. 2-5 years required experience means a 24 to 29 year old. 7 -10 years of experience means a 29-32 year old is sought.  – not a 49 year old.

I have found the whole process (depending on the software) takes from 20 to 50 minutes. Sometimes longer if you attach the cover letter which has been customized for the specific job.

I use my personal email for my cotnact email. Seems pretty straightforward, right? Nope. The software often barks  that this email is not an acceptable format. Great. So I have to use my work email.

Finally the time comes to hit submit. I am tense. I hit submit – the software churns and churns and …. a new page flashes on my PC. "Your application has been submitted" Often a confirmation is also sent to my inbox alerting me that if a match is made I will be contacted. I don't hold my breath. Online applications make the barrier to entry very low so there is a lot of digital clutter.

So you are already competing with a LOT of people. And many of these people know how to game the system.

Read my next post – how people trick this ridiculous system and what you can do about it.

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    Scott Green

    I have always been interested in careers and the workplace. In High School I had a delivery job and when I would arrive at an office building to scroll through the building directory looking for the recipient I thought to myself, “what do all these people do?” “what is EMK Ltd. N.A. LLC anyway?” You might ask, what expertise do you have, Scott? What makes you an expert? Well, by no grand design I have had a few careers and made a lot of mistakes. But I got educated through some career boo-boos. Yes, there are those who have had one career and is a master of the universe in their own area of expertise with a bulging bank account to match but are they necessarily a good career advisor?? Likely no. They haven’t had to learn from prior mistakes. I currently operate a recruitment / search firm called Green Group Search. I also consult and do project work for major businesses in the Chicago Area executing candidate sourcing and recruitment processing and marketing.

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