In an article for Inc.com, Suzanne Lucas refers to online resume systems as “recruiting black holes,” and not without reason. The process can be bland and impersonal, and often the sheer scale of recruiting campaigns can make it nearly impossible for your resume and cover letter to make the impact you were intending. No matter how creative and well-constructed it is. It’s stressful on both sides of the table, as those hiring are also experience job application fatigue.
So what is a business to do?
Online shoe store Zappos has decided to do away with the traditional hiring process. There will be no job descriptions posted, no applications called for. Instead, Zappos has created a proprietary social networking site called “Zappos Insiders”, which interested applicants have to join and participate in to be considered for one of the approximately 450 positions the company is hiring for. They call job postings “conversation killers,” and instead believe that chatting with internal experts will create a more engaging an authentic hiring experience.
It sounds pretty fun, but Lucas is not convinced in its merits. She points out a few key problems with this process:
- It’s hella time consuming. Writing a tailored cover letter and fine-tuning a resume for an online application is not the most fun thing in the world, but asking a potential employee to make what amounts to a new social media account, spend the time building it, and out even more time into chatting to insiders while trying to impress them is too much to expect from anyone.
- It doesn’t give a more authentic picture of a potential employee. Throwing a bunch of strangers into an online platform and forcing them to talk to each other is the electronic equivalent of speed dating, only with non of the fun or face-to-face connections. It’s a pretty lousy way to get to know someone.
- It prevents people from applying to jobs according to their needs and skills. Job descriptions might seem cold, but they are also incredibly helpful when it comes to matching one’s needs and strengths to a potential position. When none of the applicants know exactly what they are applying for, they also don’t know if they’re suited for it or if it will work for them which makes it even more of a waste of time.
We all agree that online job application processes need an overhaul, but this doesn’t quite feel right. What do you wish was different about the online application process?