Let me start with a story about my own experience. Over the last few years, I have applied like many other people looking for a job. Most recently in January 2015, I applied online to quite a few employers. After spending hours reworking my resume to suit the job description posted on Simply Hired, amongst all the other job boards, I clicked on the APPLY HERE link. I was then taken to the corporate website to start the boring process of redoing what I had just spent several hours doing. This time I cut and paste the information into the forms. Then to my surprise, I was asked for my height and weight, not to mention my social security number and all the other prejudicial information they said wouldn’t be used in the decision. So all of this information was REQUIRED before I could hit the submit button. Not a new story.
What happened next was priceless. I was out at a networking event and I actually ran into some people who worked for this company (I will keep the company anonymous at this point, but they know who they are) and I told these people I had just applied for a role with their company. They were pleasant and things only started to go downhill when I asked them whether they were aware their corporate career site was probably close to illegal. I explained to them that I was asked for my height and weight, to which they responded, “Were you applying for a model position?” I replied, “No, actually it was for a Director of HR”. They quickly removed themselves from my vicinity and were not interested in speaking with me further.
How does this tie into the question “when is a job applicant not a job applicant?” So many corporate career sites treat EVERYONE as an applicant the minute the APPLY HERE link is clicked. They have simply recreated their physical paper application and uploaded to their career site. This is more than wrong. An applicant is ONLY an applicant if they meet a minimum threshold and for that matter don’t exceed a maximum threshold. If the position’s salary is in the $180k range and the job seeker’s last job paid them under $100K, they are not likely to be considered, likewise if the job seeker’s last or current job pays them over $250k, they are not likely to be considered. In both cases, neither of these job seekers are actual applicants, they are simply job seekers who have applied. A true applicant must have the ability to be part of the consideration pool. Many companies fall into the trap of reporting all ‘applicants’ because of equal opportunity, this is just a farce.
So the final word is, the online application process is so broken but no-one seems to be changing it. Job seekers are asked for so much irrelevant information and some downright illegal, but companies get away with it because job seekers are desperate to get a job.