47% of job seekers have dropped off a job application because it was “too lengthy or complicated.” So why are companies still using behemoth applications loaded with automated assessments and repetitive fill-in forms? I went through the application process for the following companies, and at one point or another in each application, I felt the urge to drop out altogether. The main reason: length and time to completion.
Fortune 500 Company #1
The first application begins with the new user registration. You know those applications you’ve been seeing for the last 10 years, where they make you create a new account every time? I need more than two hands to count how many accounts I’ve created. The application is similar to other big company processes, upload your resume, re-enter all the information from your resume, and after spending your time doing that, it’s on to the pre-screen questions. The pre-screen questions ask exactly what’s on my resume, and what I re-entered. Third time’s the charm. Total completion time: 40 minutes.
Fortune 500 Company #2
My friend warned me about this company’s application. I said, “Hogwash, I am The Job Chaser!” Navigating through the “Job Search and Apply” tab was a nightmare, and I had spent a substantial amount of time just trying to find the job I wanted to apply for. Finally after tracking the position down through a series of drop down menus, I could begin filling out the application. In a very familiar move, the application prompted me to create a new account, upload a resume, re-enter all the information from my resume, and answer questions about desired salary, hours, and questions about travel and relocation. These questions are rather hard to answer, especially when you haven’t had an interview yet, and have no details of the position, other than the job ad description. And once again, just when you think you’re done, it’s time for a web based screening. Total completion time: 50 minutes.
Fortune 500 Company #3
Company #3 was very similar to the #1 and #2, but wins the award for longest online assessment. After completing the lengthy online application, you are sent a “brief” online assessment that “should take roughly 45 minutes.” I answered different wordings of the same statement repeatedly, including, “I would rather lead than be led,” three times throughout the test. 200 questions later, I had finished the assessment, only to never hear back from the company. Total completion time: 1 hour, 25 minutes.
Fortune 500 Company #4
Company #4 wins the triple crown of the frustrating job application, requiring 3 items to be completed, an application, personality assessment, and aptitude test. The first roadblock appeared when I tried to access the application on Safari, then Firefox, then Chrome, realizing that it would only run on Internet Explorer. After tracking down a PC with IE, I was finally able to put my remarkable job chasing skills in action! The application and personality test were standard, tedious and repetitive. But little did I know what they had in store for me with the aptitude test. It was a beefed up version of the SAT, asking difficult math questions, sequential patterns, and spatial relationships. An hour later, I had run out of time, left numerous questions blank, and was left with fried brain. I tired again. And all this for a sales person job. Total completetion time: Gave up after 2 hours.
Long, complex job applications are not only frustrating to the job seeker, but can also negatively impact the employer. The company can lose out on a qualified candidate, whether they are dropping out because of the tedious application, or the entire process simply takes too long.
None of the companies are changing their processes with current recruiting trends. 47% of job seekers said they would apply if they could simply link a social profile, yet none give this option. And none of the applications were available through mobile phones or tablets. It might be time to shorten the initial application process. It might be time for an easy job application. Long applications make me want to drop off, does that make me a bad candidate? Are you sure you don’t want to talk to me?
Editor’s Note: Joe’s talented. Fact. These companies missed out. Pre-Employment Testing