If there’s something we can universally agree on, it’s that job hunting sucks. The application process is tedious and grueling, the interviewing process is nerve wracking, and the waiting period is totally daunting.
This is no secret, this is not news – so shouldn’t it be something at the forefront of employers’ minds? The question of: How can I make this process better for potential employees?
In fact, our own CEO has long urged other executives to apply to their own company on an annual basis so that they have an understanding and appreciation of the process.
HR is the first point of contact for so many people interacting with a brand, yet it is often overlooked by leadership (to their own peril).
Sites like LinkedIn and Indeed have certainly changed the game in the last decade or so, giving people a platform for job searches and applications. To apply for a job on a site like this, you need to have an account, and in those cases, you probably already do. Yet to apply to some jobs via a company’s site directly, applicants are only allowed to to do so if they have an account through the company site.
Why is that necessary?
My cynical brain immediately goes to: “Oh, cool, so – when you deny me the job – you can still send me company updates and newsletters straight to my inbox! Or even better, sell my info to the highest bidders!”
But that might just be too simple, or even too kind, of an answer.
Yes, you’re likely to get an influx of emails from whatever service you sign up for, but what’s happening on their end?
Remote Digital Jobs (RDJ) – an The American Genius community – polled members, asking “What do you think of having to sign up for a service (even if free) in order to submit an application somewhere?”
Hundreds of votes were cast and a near resounding 78% of respondents said: “It’s predatory info that only benefits [the employer].”
What does this mean?
Well, it may have originated as a way to better capture information, but many say it is abused by some bad actors and an applicants’ information is often sold as a revenue stream. Of course, this isn’t always the case but, unfortunately, it happens.
So, how can candidates protect themselves?
First, don’t share more than what’s necessary in terms of data. Share a professional email, a safe phone number, and maybe your LinkedIn info.
At the sign up stage, don’t share your birthdate, social security number (duh), or home address. (And, if for some reason the application form asks for the model of your first car or your mother’s maiden name, RUN!)
Some research should always be done on the applicants’ end to make sure where they are applying – and through what they’re applying – is reputable. A quick Google search or a browse on Better Business Bureau can be a major help, and making sure they’re actually on the company’s real website.
Now, what did the other 22 percent of respondents have to say about the poll’s question?
Fully 26% said it’s an “obligatory profanity laden experience.” Only 1% said “the extra step makes it more exclusive, so I might get better opportunities.”
Another 1% percent said “signing up for a job application service is a social construct invented in 1994 by Jeff Taylor to collect and post help wanted ads,” which is silly but expresses their sentiment nonetheless.
Furthermore, job seekers sounded off in the poll’s comments regarding companies requiring them to sign up on their separate website before applying:
“It tells me they’re not getting enough income because they’re probably not getting people across the hiring line. That doesn’t scream value added. Or they’re just double dipping.”
Another member said, “Is it the potential employer’s service so you become a customer, or a service the employer used to track you as an applicant?”
“I’ve done this before and got a ton of irrelevant recruitment emails and calls,” one member opined. “So many that I went into the service to delete my account but couldn’t figure it out. I ended up changing my last job to ‘Head Clown’ and also changed my education to ‘clown school’… the calls and e-mails stopped.”
Echoing one of the most common sentiments, a member said, “I’ve had recruiters contact me for totally unrelated positions after they got my data from another app and I really dislike it. It’s creepy.”
Employers should know that most comments sounded quite like this: “It is a great way to get potentially qualified candidates to rage quit and not apply.”
But one did note that it “depends on what the service is and collects. We are all here on Facebook and the company has more information us than any other entity on the entire planet, yet here we are.”
Employers that are considering requiring potential applicants to sign up on their company website for an account, even if it’s free, will immediately turn away otherwise highly qualified candidates. To stay competitive, we recommend leadership immediately audit their hiring processes and eliminate any step that adds friction and turns people away, especially when the job market is tight.