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Are Online Applications Keeping You From Getting Hired?

The video above from the PBS NewsHour delves deep into the perils and pitfalls of the modern job search. And it’s not just that we’re still struggling to come out of a terrible job market.

The video asks a question I’ve written about extensively in the past: even if you spend 8 hours a day online job searching, are you really doing yourself any good?

The answer, unfortunately, is that you’re doing some good, but that quantity does not make up for quality. The video raises the question: now that most job applications are online, has taking the “human element” out of hiring made it harder to land a job?

I’d actually ask a similar question: Have online applications made it harder for employers to find good people to hire?

4 Inconvenient Ways Online Job Search Is Stacked Against Job Seekers

The sad truth is, sending your resume out 300 times might not amount to a hill of beans. Here are four things job seekers need to understand about the online job search:

  1. If you apply online, you’re competing against more people. Was it super simple to click and send your resume? Great. It was also super simple for 1,000 other people to do the exact same thing. And you’re just another series of 1’s and 0’s amongst a sea of similar 1’s and 0’s.
  2. Online applications are DESIGNED to weed you out. If employers are faced with a deluge of applications, they naturally want to design systems to winnow down the numbers they receive. In the video, they even mention that they can’t hire “just anyone off the street.” If you’re going through an online application process, you might be entering information that will automatically send you to the discard pile without even knowing it.
  3. It’s effortless to reject you. It’s even more difficult to learn how or why. At least in the old days it took some physical effort to crumble up a resume and throw it in the trash. Now an algorithm can reject you even before your application is seen by human eyes. And let’s say you’re not one of the first 30-50 applications considered… you might end up sitting in an electronic purgatory that no one will ever know about. Good luck trying to find out the status of your application. Chances are, no one will even be able to tell you for sure if you’ve successfully applied.
  4. Faces beat faceless every time. We’ve stress so many times over the years that networking and personal referrals are the fastest and best way to get hired, so I won’t belabor the point. But think about it, it’s human nature that a personal connection might carry more weight than an electronic application. As I’ve said before, you haven’t really applied to a job until you’ve communicated with a real, actual human being.

What’s the solution to this modern, dystopian job search reality? Well, we spend a lot of time finding ways for job seekers to hack their way around job search barriers. It’s time to acknowledge that one of the biggest barriers to the job seeker is online. And maybe it’s time to find hacks around the impersonality of online and connect job seekers with real, live people again.

This article was written by: Brian McCullough

  1. 1 Comment

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