THE ONLINE JOB APPLICATION PROCESS:

IS IT WORKING FOR CANDIDATES?

continued from Page 1 Employee's Life

James Hu, Founder and CEO of Jobscan further explains, “When a company configures their ATS to receive your resume, then asks for all that same information via text input fields, they’re avoiding some  

of the problems associated with resume parsing. The resume you uploaded will be used if a recruiter wants to give it a once-over or print it out. The information you manually input into the system will be used for searches and other ranking algorithms. In some cases, this redundancy may simply be the result of a poorly configured recruitment process or a necessity of corporate process and bureaucracy. Nevertheless, assuming that it’s intentional and taking text fields seriously could provide a big boost to your application.”

 

Bearing the Discomfort to Get a Job

Despite the tedious task of entering information on to the online application, the Pennington study showed that over 60% of respondents using these online job sites ended up being offered interviews, and that over 77% of these employees continue to use the sites, despite the longer time it typically takes to apply. The study also showed that all of the candidates in the 18-20 age range received invitations for interviews, which may indicate that companies favor using the online job sites to fill entry level positions. At the same time, of those employees in the 23-40 age range, over 77% also were granted interviews, which would indicate that companies are also using the job sites to find candidates for first level supervisory and management positions. So, there is definitely a willingness by candidates to overlook the frustrations of completing the time-consuming online applications in order to be considered for employment.

 

Was There a Better Way?

For those of you who are older, you may remember that once upon a time, companies advertised positions in the Sunday newspaper, on job boards, and in professional journals asking the candidate to send a resume and cover letter directly to an HR contact at the organization by regular mail or email. According to Bob Kieserman, Executive Director of The Pennington HR Institute, this method worked well for many folks, who are now seasoned executives.

 

“I remember sitting at my computer and printing out my cover letters specific to each job advertisement and tailoring my resume to the job description, and then going to the post office and mailing them off with the hope that I would hear back from the companies to which I was applying,” Kieserman recalls. “If I did not hear back within a few days, I called the HR department and typically could speak to a member of the staff who updated me on the company’s decision. In many cases, when I was not being considered as a viable candidate, the person on the other end of the phone call, politely told me that I was not being considered, allowing me to move on and continue to pursue other opportunities. This eliminated the uncertainly that exists today when candidates apply online, often not receiving any further response from the employer, leaving them in the dark about their candidacy.”

 

The Pennington Study posed the question as to whether respondents would prefer that companies still use this older method of recruiting candidates. While the older respondents, those over 56 years old, who are now senior managers or retired, said they preferred the old method, over 42% of the total respondents said they preferred using online job sites. Obviously, since most of the respondents were between 23 and 55, for many of the respondents, the online application process is all they have ever experienced, and the thought of sitting at the laptop and emailing their cover letters and resumes directly to a long list of employers is not appealing and may even be considered archaic.

 

The Bottom Line

And so, the bottom line of this study is that while most candidates don’t appreciate the tedious task of sometimes spending hours inputting information on one application after the next in the hope of being considered for one or more of the positions, they still prefer this method over contacting the employer directly by sending out a custom tailored set of credentials. In defense of the online job sites like Indeed, they seem to be trying to give the applicant more information on their application status by setting up a system where when the employer places the ad, the employer is given opportunities to review resumes and applications quickly and also to have the ability to correspond to the applicants to keep them aware of whether they are being considered for an interview or not. Whether those new tools work is really dependent on how employers advertising jobs on the online sites choose to use the tools. Perhaps something else that would help is for candidates to feel comfortable expressing their frustrations about online applications once they have secured the job and are working for the company. This feedback would help the situation and be valuable to employers as they plan their recruiting strategies to find future employees.

TEN TIPS FOR FINDING REAL HAPPINESS AT WORK

Happiness altogether is a highly subjective experience. In a study conducted by Fowler and Christakis (2008) it was found that individuals are likely to feel happier when they have other happy people around them.

 

Finding happiness at work is not always related to actions and cognitions related to the work itself. It is associated with many other correlates like work environment, personality traits, interpersonal connections, stress management skills, and the list goes on.

 

Here are ten simple ways that can help us in rediscovering workplace happiness and sustain it for a long time.

 

1. Declutter your Workplace

The phrase “a cluttered desk means a cluttered mind” is perhaps correct. Getting creative with the workspace can enhance feelings of exhilaration and refresh the mind. It reinforces concentration and is a great way to feel good at work every day.

 

2. Mindfulness

“People wait all week for Friday, all year for summer, and all life for happiness”

 

Mindfulness is not a buzzword, neither is it an overrated concept. The effects of mindful meditation are real and proven.

 

Studies conducted in the Harvard Medical School and the Bender Institute of Neuroimaging in Germany have shown that people who practice mindfulness and meditate before or after working hours feel more connected to and more emotionally stable at work.

 

3. Work it out

A 15-minute daily workout routine makes the body energetic and releases the toxins that cause the weariness.

 

Any form of exercise – walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, or anything else, is bound to bring more productivity at work, more energy to give it the best shot, and more fulfillment throughout the day.

 

 4. Engage in Feedback Mechanisms

Decisive and immediate feedback are predictors of workplace happiness and job satisfaction. Studies have shown that employers or supervisors who regularly offer feedback and acknowledge efforts are more successful in having a happy team.

 

5. Reflect on One Task at a Time

Clifford Nass, a professor of psychology at the University of Stanford mentioned that multitasking ‘wastes more time’ and can be the reason of unhappiness among professionals at different levels.

 

When juggling with various tasks at the same time, it is almost impossible to devote an equal amount of attention to each detail, thereby resulting in distractions.

 

To avoid this, we can prioritize our to-do list and focus on dealing with the more important tasks first. Applications like AnyDo, Wunderlist, and Evernote has made this easier to accomplish.

 

6. Help a Colleague

Studies have shown that altruists in the workplace are more likely to feel satisfied and are happier at work. (Moynihan, 2013).

 

The level of happiness that we derive from helping others cannot be equated with anything else in the world. It gives a sense of empowerment, enhances wisdom, and makes us feel more connected to the organization.

 

Simple acts of kindness, expressions of gratitude, and offering support to colleagues in times of need can make us feel a lot better about ourselves and make us happier at work.

 

7. Choose your Responses Wisely

Evidence has proved that individuals can voluntarily choose responses that can make them happy at work. Regularly practicing mindfulness, gratitude, and effective communication can ease the stress and help employees in progressing towards their goal (Boswell et al., 2005).

 

8. Value yourself

“Nothing can bring you peace, but yourself.”

 

Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Kate White, former editor-in-chief of the Cosmopolitan, mentioned that work stress often makes us forget our real worth. A gentle reminder to self, a little throwback to the past achievements can work wonders in bringing back the happiness at the workplace.

 

Happiness is sustained when we can step back and take a moment for appreciating ourselves.

 

9. Start Your Day on a Good Note

Take some moments each morning to collect your thoughts and plan your day ahead. Go for a walk, sip a hot coffee and create your goals for the day. A day that is started well is more likely to bring in more productivity and yield more fruits.

 

 10. Adjust your Schedules

Effective communication is the key to a happy work life. Happy professionals are always one step ahead in maintaining and following a flexible schedule.

 

Prolonged working hours without breaks can take a toll on the brain and bring us down, thereby making way for unproductivity and distress.

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© 2019 by The Pennington HR Institute

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