Have you tried applying for a job lately? If the employer is of any size, you will probably be directed into an applicant tracking system (ATS), where you will fill out many pages of questions. It can be a time-consuming process – and this is prior to actually applying for the specific job.
It is complex, and it is a pain.
What happened to the wonderful old days when you submitted your resume and cover letter, and called it good?
“But Jeff, making the job application simple just generates more applications – many of them unqualified. If you make it time-consuming, then you weed out the riff raff.”
Yeah, but…you also weed out qualified candidates who do not have hours each day to fill out forms that will probably result in little or no response from the employer. If you’re a qualified, skilled, competent candidate, you already have a job. Maybe you stumbled over the job ad and thought it was interesting…until you hit the ATS. Hey, life’s too short. The candidate moves on.
“But Jeff, we need that info from the candidate to figure out if he or she is qualified.”
Yeah, right. I don’t buy it. You need that info because your ATS allows you to collect it. So you do.
Look around you. Simple always conquers complex. There were digital music players before the iPod. But the iPod made everything simple – and became the big digital music success story.
Now, I’m not saying that simple isn’t complex. In fact, simple is often hiding great complexity. Think about the coding and engineering behind the iPod – that’s complex. But the operation of the thing is simple. The genius of simplicity is often in how it hides complexity.
So where can job boards reduce complexity and increase simplicity? (And how will they convince employers to go along?):
- Search: I ask you – why must a job seeker know Boolean to get good results? And why must they type? Why can’t they just submit their resume and have it turned into a search query?
- Mobile: No, the job seeker does not want everything on the mobile site. Just the good stuff.
- Apply: Maybe the job board has no control over the ATS, but it does have control over the application process for employers without ATSs. Keep it simple.
- Register: If the job board wants candidates to register, then keep it simple – name and email. The rest of the info can come later.
And as far employers and ATSs go – please, folks: think hard before you add those 45 questions to the application process. Do you really need them? Your (qualified) candidates will thank you!
Bottom line: as a user, give me simplicity. And if you must give me complexity, please cloak it in simplicity.
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