Business Etiquette, Part II

business etiquette picLast week, I started discussing the problems I’ve had with businesses and the way they have come to treat people. Before anybody starts saying to me “Stop complaining”, let me point out that I’m not the only one who has run into these problems. I have, however, started tolerating fools and foolish notions less and less as I get older, so more things tend to bother me. And the ever increasing bureaucracy involved with some companies grates on my nerves more and more.

This holds true when I’m applying for jobs and have to deal with…

3. Online Applications

Many moons ago, you walked into a business, requested an application from the secretary, and either filled it out right there or took it home to complete to return later. (You filled out the application, not the secretary.) I did this many times with no complaint (except some of those standardized application forms didn’t leave enough room for your name let alone your college education, city, and state to be put in one box or on one line, so you look incompetent by having to write in the margin.)

Nowadays, everybody from major corporations to Bob’s Doughtnuts has a website. Finding the CAREERS or JOBS section may be no problem, but then so many companies want you to create an account. Now, some of these want a resume uploaded right away and the system will take the information from your resume to help with the account creation. I don’t mind this (I’d rather just get on with the application), however, when I get to the actual application, the system, usually near the end will ask me upload a resume. Wait a minute, I just did to create the account.

Another problem with online applications, and one that will cause me to want to throw something through a window, is when filling out the information required, you need to read very carefully on what is needed and how to format the information. I’m talking dates and numerical values such as salary. The system will not move on until you have completed every requirement and it is exactly the way the techies designed it. And heaven help you if you hit a wrong key and need to go back, you may find the slate wiped clean.

Then if you’re called in for an interview, guess what you get to fill out while waiting for the supervisor…a paper application. Arg!

A third problem is a question. How many of you believe companies actually keep your applications ‘on file for a year’ or six months? If they do, then why do you need to fill out another one for the next position? Can’t you just inform them of any changes from the original application? See, they want you to believe that they have little Human Resources gophers who peruse the applications looking for qualified candidates who will then call to see if you’re interested in the position recently opened. Come on, feed me something I’ll believe.

A fourth problem is: why can’t companies have a general application for which you can complete, and then change the position desired. On one company’s website, I had to complete a separate application for each location where I was interested…for the same position.

A subset of this online application problem comes with these career fairs held twice or three times per year at malls or other venues. If it is a one-company-job-fair, that’s fine, you know with whom you are applying and they probably will have an actual application for you to complete right there and may even conduct interviews. In the last ten years or so, however, the job fairs I’ve attended which feature many types of companies, are not worth the effort of dressing up for. Why? Because the representatives at the event (probably culled from the dreaded Customer Service Representative or Human Resources pools) will not take your application. They’ll have a list of available positions, hand you a business card, and tell you to go home and fill out an application online. What! So I’ve wasted my time driving to the event when I could have stayed home, found the job fair online, and perused the websites of companies listed to attend. Some fairs will have resume critiques or seminars that tell you the obvious (dress nicely [and see last my blog entitled No Flip-Flops Allowed from two weeks ago for this topic], show up on time for the interview, etc.) and if you’re a newbie, maybe these seminars are fine. For the rest of us, we just want a job.

Part III next week. See you there!

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