Daunting Tasks: The Online Job Application

Looking for a job? How many applications can you submit in one day?

It took me nearly two hours to complete an online application that did not have enough fields for past employment, didn’t support enough characters for educational info, and had some “I accept terms” that could make you feel like you were applying to be a foster parent not an employee.

“Please be advised that we may also obtain an investigative report including information as to your character, general reputation, personal characteristics, and mode of living,” said one of the final pages of the online form.

Mode of living? What if I live in a trailer court, on someone’s couch, or with my parents? Of course “I agreed” because I just spent 2 hours filling out the application and I wasn’t about to give up.

I knew that some companies look at your credit history (aka the consumer report), but I was under the impression those were positions in banks and financial institutions. The job I just applied for was a marketing program manager for a company that provides email marketing solutions to a variety of clients. Do they really need my credit score?

I will admit my score is low, probably in the 400s, but after the recession and losing my job, my house, and almost my marriage, I think having a low credit score is a small scar to bear.  Bankruptcy is not the end of the world. The State of Oregon didn’t hold it against me when I was appointed to a consumer protection board and became a Certified Ombudsman. Honestly, I represent the average American and I advocate for the rights of people who need the extra support. Although I am extremely happy to provide a voice for those who need it, the work doesn’t pay the bills. Being a volunteer is extremely rewarding, but it doesn’t help me build my retirement fund or pay for new shoes and shampoo.

As I power ahead to find the employer who will recognize my skills and invest in me, I have to take a moment to realize that the online application is a flawed system used to filter large applicant pools. I have done the hiring before. I know what a tough job it is to read through a stack of 100+ resumes without using HR software. It is not a fun job — nor is submitting them. I hope someday the system will change, but in the meantime we all must adapt and remain relentless in the face of adversity.

The next time you go to hit the submit button on an application, beware you may get this text: Disclosure to Employment Applicant Regarding Procurement of A Consumer Report. “I agree” may be the only button that separates you and your future employer.

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