As a follow up to previous posts about recruitment and interview techniques/help, here’s something I’ve been thinking about recently … the application process.

Previous posts include:

When was the last time you looked at your own recruitment portal or the process applicants to your jobs have to go through?

As someone who’s been the interviewer and chair of the interview panel many, many times over the last few years, there’s a disconnect between the application and interview processes.

Typically I will be involved in the paperwork to get permission to recruit and place the advert. My next involvement will be in the shortlisting and messaging about interviews (unless there are role-specific questions a candidate may have), then obviously onto the interview stages. But there’s a huge part of the application that I have nothing to do with… the application process.

When was the last time you went through your own application process? Probably, like me, when you applied for your current role.

How was it?

Here’s another way of looking at it … do you think feedback from those applying to a role with you will give you honest feedback about the process? How long did it take, how did it make them feel, was it easy, did it make them feel like they wanted the job at the end of it, etc.? I’d feel very uncomfortable in saying just how bad some recruitment portals were when I’ve been applying in the past, in case it somehow is used against me.

Many of us have no input in the portal or system that is used, it’s often part of a much larger, organisational system and process, but that doesn’t mean we have to accept it as a done deal, does it? The balance between a level field for all applicants is an important one, but why not accept CVs and covering letters as well as the online application? Let’s face it, most people will just copy/paste from their CV to the relevant part of the online portal, no?

When I was made redundant in 2018, I was applying to jobs daily, tailoring each and every application to the role was a necessary and very tiring process, but an important one. Completing online applications, some over multiple pages and a large number of individual fields that need completing (‘in no more than 200 words…’) takes a long time. Some might say that this (long) process self-selects the people you want for the job, as they’re the ones who want it enough to go through the whole process, But I’d also say you could be putting off the best candidate who has their own reason for not completing the 25-step online process.

One of the worst parts about applying for roles is not knowing until you get selected for the interview, what the interview process will look like; do I prepare a presentation, is there a technical task, how long will it take, is it next week or next month, where is it (online or in-person), etc?

Surely there must be a better way of doing this? Can we simplify the process whilst keeping some of the rigour and balance in ensuring equity of the application process for everyone?

If you’ve got a work culture you’re proud of, and try to demonstrate through the interview, then surely the first stage of the process, the application, should also reflect that approach and attitude too? Is the application process showing the right kind of message about how you work and what you value?

Oh, yes. Please, please, please, will you show the salary – there are very good reasons to do this, not least to demonstrate your “willingness to stop perpetuating pay gaps and ensure everyone can access a fair wage.” If it really is competitive, then you have no reason to not show it.

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