A Job Hunter’s Bill of Rights: 10 Gripes from Online Applicants

We enlisted a team of volunteers to “mystery shop” the job pages of some of America’s largest corporations. What have they learned? That applying for a job online isn’t always as easy as it looks, and the results are often less than satisfying. Based on their experience, we offer an online job hunter’s bill of rights:

1. I want to be acknowledged. Confirm my application and give me feedback on the outcome. If I never hear anything about my candidacy I feel like I’ve been sent to The Black Hole of a Corporate Resume Database.

2. I want the whole process to be easy. The best corporate job sites get me close to the job quickly. I can copy and paste my resume, complete a list of simple questions and schedule an interview on the spot. I haven’t found many of these… yet.

3. I want to be targeted. If I’m a college student, I like to be entertained. If you want to entice me to apply to your jobs ,why not make your job pages a video game so we both can get what we want?

4. I want my information protected. I need to know what you are going to do with my personal information in plain, simple English — not legalese. And please practice what your privacy statement preaches.

5. I want to know the details. Companies that provide details about their benefit plans get my attention. They can easily explain the basics on their website with a PDF, instead of a brief, meaningless overview that does me no good.

6. I want to learn about you. “Day in the life” profiles help me see myself in an organization.

7. I want to know I’m wanted. Whether I’m a 60-year-old human-resources compensation expert, a 30-year-old single mom with seven years’ experience and a fresh master’s degree, or a 22-year-old marketing graduate. Where is the evidence that I would be welcome? Realistic stories from employees telling me why they chose the organization and why they stay helps. And if these stories and examples are from folks who look like me, talk like me and are in similar situations, it makes me want to apply.

8. I want to apply quickly. Three clicks to a job application brings a smile to any job seeker’s face. It shows the company values my time. And if I can copy and paste my resume into an online application, I am very happy.

9. I want to apply online. Sorry mailmen (and women), but no more stamps to lick, no more envelopes to close. And if a company does not take an online application, do I really want to work for them? Do they get it? Probably not.

10. I want to easily find your job listings. If the company’s job button is not on the homepage, I must go on a fishing expedition to find it. Is that an indication of the hoops I’ll have to jump through later? Why don’t corporations treat job seekers like customers?

By Gerry Crispin and Mark Mehler

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