Dear companies that want me to go through your 12-steps-long job application form

Dear company who decided that a 12-page-long form filling process is the best way to collect job applications,

please let me explain why you got it totally wrong.

I’m a job seeker as (too) many other people in the world.

Being a job seeker in an overly populated job market is surely challenging, but also frustrating and often disheartening. You’ll eventually feel like a product to be sold.

I know, it’s all about personal branding. You don’t just have to be different, you must show that your hallmarks are valuable enough to be appreciated by almost any company.

I also know that these are hard times for recruiters — they have to review hundreds of applications for every single position, and finding the perfect match is becoming harder and harder every day.

But let me go straight to the point: your ridiculously long application form is just not working.

Since you seem to really love bullet points, I’ll explain my reasons through a killer bullet list:

  • You always ask for more: I already had a portfolio website which reflected my personality and ambitions, but companies need something more to decide that you’re the right candidate. So I spent almost one week to create my résumé. As many articles in the internet suggest, it should be creative, good looking and well organized. I needed to tell my story at a glance, but also remark any relevant information about my experience, education and skills. It was a real challenge, but it eventually turned out lovely, and I started inquiring for some positions. Then you asked for a cover letter. You perfectly know that 99% of them are a mere copy-paste from the “how to write a cover letter” Google search, yet you keep asking for it. Moreover, it’s a mandatory field. Very well, let’s spend another three hours to write it, trying to appear polite but not too formal, original but not crazy, exhaustive but not boring. You also prefer candidates who have a LinkedIn profile, well then, let’s create it and fill it and learn how to use it and go networking and ask your ex co-workers for recommendations and refresh it twenty times a day. At this point, I guess I have everything you need to evaluate my profile: website, resume, cover letter, LinkedIn profile with many connections and activity. But no. Now you don’t want my damn precompiled CV. Now you ask me to register to your website, create a profile I’ll never use, and WRITE IT ALL OVER AGAIN by filling your tiny stupid fields for 12 pages (not even responsive, most of the times). You may know how frustrating it is to have a good resume in my HD and can’t submit it. But you keep on with your wicked method. You always ask for more.
  • It’s not our job to fill your database: unless I’m applying for a data entry position and this calvary is a sort of ability test, I don’t think you should leave the “dirty work” to us. A database is for sure a good solution to store candidates’ data, but making us compile it is like asking your customers and prospects to fill out their entire profiles on your CRM. Once finished, they may be so frustrated that they don’t want to be your clients anymore. Got the point?
  • User experience: this is a quite funny aspect. Many web agencies that sell user experience services don’t apply UX principles to their application forms, forcing many candidates to give up before completing the process. Personal branding is important, but what about your branding?
  • Less is more: when I’m forced to write a personal presentation, it always turns out like a messy cluster of meaningless adjectives and adverbs. My portfolio and blog tell more about me than a thousand words.
  • Time waste: I like/need/want to spend a considerable part of my day to learn new things, improve my current skillset, and follow my current clients’ projects. If you demand me to fill your infinite forms, I won’t be able to do anything else.

The neverending “apply for a job” path

Looking for job ads that match my profile -> 5 minutes

Reading the whole job offer -> 2 minutes

Register to website, choose a password, confirm my profile, log in -> 5–7 minutes

Fill the “personal information” page (name, location, mail, phone and so on) -> 5 minutes

Fill the “education” page -> 8–10 minutes

Fill the “work experience” page -> 10 minutes

Fill the “tell us about yourself in 1,298,435 simple words” page -> 15 minutes

Fill the “why you want to work for us” page -> 10 minutes

Fill the “awkward questions” page (are you on drugs? Are you a terrorist? Yeah, of course I am, I’m filling this boring form to destroy your company) -> 5 minutes

Review the submission -> 3 minutes

Total time spent: 72 minutes.

72 minutes for a single job application.

As statistics suggest, I should send at least 10 applications per day to receive a single positive feedback. So, 72 x 10 = 720 minutes a day = 12 hours.

If any company adopted your step by step application form, I should spend 12 hours a day just to search for a job.

That’s why I decided not to apply to your company’s open position.

I know it’s not a big loss for you, as you have many other candidates, but maybe the best ones will give up. Maybe you’ll only receive incomplete submissions. Maybe you’ll end up asking your candidates the exact same questions during the face-to-face interview, and they’ll passively repeat the answers like a tongue-twister, and you’ll think “ok, he/she’s not what we are searching for”.

Patience is important. But also is simplicity.

Kind regards,

A lazy and tired candidate.

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