In an earlier post we discussed how every HR department is a boutique branding firm. For job seekers, HR experiences are personal and emotional, and there is no more powerful form of advertising than word of mouth. Oftentimes, however, HR departments find themselves doing damage control for their employers who make stupid mistakes – like believing that a lengthy, inefficient, and convoluted application process is an effective way to “test” the level of interest a job candidate has in obtaining a particular position.

Hello and Goodbye

Playing hard to get is a bad idea for any employer, especially ones that seek to compete in today’s hyper-competitive marketplace. Desirable job candidates have a multitude of job options, and the last thing they’re looking for to kick off a rewarding career is a company that expects them to waste their time filling out applications that are pointlessly redundant or, even worse, intentionally exhausting. The acumen and emotional intelligence of businesses are measured in a variety of ways – from the quality of their customer service to the efficacy of their sales models – and the application experience is high among them. Today, UX is everything, including in HR. Employers need to get with the times.

Companies that force job candidates to fill out meandering online applications that require hours of disassembling and reassembling their resumes to shove into compartmentalized job experiences and timeframes – most of which don’t accurately represent the nuanced professional lives of truly accomplished professionals – instantly steer these prized candidates toward their competitors. Why set up barriers to the people who could take your business, and profits, to the next level? Onerous online applications compel top job candidates to eliminate themselves from contention, which diminishes the pool of candidates instead of strengthening it.


Oh, the Irony

The truth is most qualified and talented job candidates want to feel appreciated, not like marginalized interlopers attempting to con their way into the VIP room of a back alley club. HR departments must educate employers regarding how the application process is the face of the company. These serpentine and tiresome digital applications are not perceived as a clever means of weeding out the less motivated or undesirable candidates, but as being a lazy and incompetent “strategy” to find and eliminate passive job seekers. It’s insulting. Even worse, it’s ironic.

Vetting prospective employees is the responsibility of the employer – and their HR teams. Job seekers know what inauthenticity looks like, and nothing strikes them as being more disingenuous and manipulative than an outdated process supported by lazy thinking that claims to be a modern solution to a solvable problem. Yes, technology makes it possible for job seekers to effortlessly apply to heaps of jobs in no time. But this is not your ideal job candidate’s fault. So stop penalizing them, and your company. HR departments should seize this opportunity to rethink how job descriptions are written and disseminated so that the process, and the department, is on brand with the employer’s values.


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