Online applications

According to some surveys, nearly two-thirds of companies now accept online applications alongside paper forms.

Email is fast and informal, qualities not normally associated with the filling out of application forms. But recruiters report that job-hunters can easily slip into the sort of bad email habits that do not impress. These include rambling (because space is often not limited in the way it is on a conventional form), and frequent occurrences of poor spelling and grammar. Many online application forms do not have grammar or spell checkers. If this seems a calculated act of unhelpfulness by the employer then remember, that is precisely what it is.

Employers want to know one of two things. Can you spell, and if you can’t, are you professional enough to find ways of checking it? Printing off a copy before sending it is essential not only for proofreading purposes, but also because it allows applicants to look back at what they have said if they are called for interview.

The unforeseen benefit of web-based recruitment lies in the fact that candidates have access to far more information about their potential employers. Brochures may be highly branded, but there is little information to be gleaned from the way they are presented. Websites, because they are interactive, can tell you far more about how a company views itself and its potential employees.

Good websites are not created by accident. A striking feature of the more successful websites is the extent to which managers from corporate communications or marketing, IT and recruitment have worked together as a real team. A poor website therefore reveals far more about the organisational fault lines in a company than the well-produced brochure ever could.

By going fully online, companies can now put competency questionnaires, ability tests, personality profiles and cultural fit indicators at the front end of the process rather than placing them, where for reasons of cost they have always been, in the middle. This generates fewer, but better quality applications through a mixture of self-selection and gentle rejection: you can immediately see what sort of company you’re joining, and if you don’t fit the job specification you’ll find out straight away. In addition, the best sites provide quality feedback to help you find a job that suits you better.

Whether you want to join a company or they want you to join them is no longer a decision that takes months of careful mutual consideration. In the next year or two, for many graduates, it could be something that happens within the hour in front of your PC.

Share with:

HR, jobs