Avoid these questions on your online job app that are too personal and risky or risk losing the best candidates out there to another company.
I’m finicky, I’ll admit it. My coffee has to have just the precise creamer to sweetener ratio or I won’t drink it. My content has to have an engaging title and photo, or I won’t post it. And if I came upon one of these three requests on a job application, I would jump ship faster than Amazon could say “hasta la vista, baby” to Long Island City – regardless of how much of a great fit I thought it may have been. And so do your top candidates.
Before I go any further, I’ll state that I do understand why these requests are made. Some are corporate policy, some for legal reasons, but mostly these requests are made to aid the HR department in placing qualified candidates at this or another position. So I’m not balking at companies that make these requests, but simply at the timing of when they do so.
Now there are questions that I may not want to answer but do so reluctantly on online applications. Like the year I graduated college, that companies ask, you know, for *ahem* verification purposes. It’s just a legal (read: sneaky) way to find out approximate age. Another one I dread is “Tell us what makes you unique in 150 characters. Be sure to make it stand out!” Makes me feel like I’m angling for a rose on The Bachelorette. But OK, I’ll play along.
Which brings me to the first jump-ship offender: refilling the online app with all the information that appears so nicely on the resume. Not a huge problem if you’re say, 25. A much different story when you’ve hit the executive level. It’s a request that doesn’t show much respect for the prospect’s time as chances are, yours is not the only position they’re applying to today. If it’s important for your company to have all of this information in its database, then use one of the many resume parsing software utilities out there. Kudos to those companies that do, as it sends the message that it is more interested in me and my ability to do the job than building a personnel database. Or better yet, post the position on LinkedIn. It sends a profile, prompts the user to attach a formatted resume, and even remembers resume versions you’ve sent previously. (You’re welcome for the shout out, LinkedIn.)
The second offender is a request for social security numbers which frankly, is down right irresponsible. Even my bank is wary about asking to transmit this information over a non-secured network. Need it for a background check? I’ll be happy to provide that personal info, salary history, name of the girl I took to the senior prom, and whatever else your company needs if my application status has gone from the new to the maybe pile.
I’ll be happy to …read more
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