Monday, 23 February 2009

Online Application forms are killing me

When a beautiful flower opens up before your eyes you gasp and drink in its wonderment. Unfortunately the same is not true of online job application forms. What you think should take thirty minutes takes five times as long. Fill in your name, email address and upload your CV. Great, no problem. A covering letter, boy, well sure I guess that’s fair. There is nothing like a covering letter to boost the job chances and let them get to know you a little. Expand on some of the more exciting areas of your CV. Fill in some gaps and of course a little flattery will get you ... hang on, you want me to say how I meet the person skills requirement, but, the covering letter?

And so the form expands and drops down and branches out and links to other bits that take you back to the beginning. Where was I? Press here. No, no don’t submit I wasn’t ready, I haven’t... oh it didn’t because I haven’t. Maybe I’ll do it tomorrow. But you must always soldier on and get it finished. Stopping half way through filling in an application form is a recipe for disaster. If I stop with a view to carrying on the next day I’ll more than likely convince myself during the night that either there’s no point applying for this position because I’ll never get it or that I don’t really want it and will have already moved on come morning.

Online application forms have a sense of linear progression whereby one section is filled in after the next, like a slinky going down some stairs, dropping one level each time until it reaches the end and stops. It can go no further. A downloadable application form is another matter all together. I can never tell if you are supposed to fill in the space using some sort of Microsoft form filling tool or just cut and paste – even if the resultant words are for some reason highlighted in blue. Maybe it exists already but if it doesn’t someone needs to invent an application whereby you enter some of the key words from the person specification, some words from the job specification and then some key words from your CV and it creates the perfect application form response. Two minutes per form. Bonza!

As an addendum to stupid application forms I had no idea how to show I had the required ‘skill and competence’ listed below, I’d be interested to know how you might have answered it so do leave a comment:

Skill and ability to inspire high levels of confidence in own professional judgement and to negotiate effectively.

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