I've Had it With Online Job Applications!!!!

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by DaisyFace, Nov 11, 2009.

  1. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    I am so sick of having to fill out these computerized application forms!!

    Especially because my employment history and work experience does not neatly fit into a box.

    Today, I did my best to try to answer all the questions that didn't really apply to me such as:

    May we contact your present employer?

    I'm not working for anyone right now, so I guess the answer is "Yes".

    If we contacted your present supervisor, how many times will he/she say you missed work this past year?

    Ummm....there was no N/A so I left it blank.

    How does stress affect your job performance?

    a) It makes me work faster
    b) It makes me work slower
    c) I never get stressed at work

    Ummmm....none of the above???

    So after filling out this questionaire the best I could--I received an automated rejection notice in my email.

    So, I am being rejected by a computer!!!!
    No human being ever even looks at my application or has the chance to ask me about my background or experience.

    This stinks


  2. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    Choose the answer that fits best and lie if you have to, in a way that you can expand upon in an interview. Tell them "yes, you can contact my current employer." Then it will get past the computer and a real pair of eyes will look at it and figure out that YOU are your current employer. Do the "I never get stressed at work", then answer the question appropriately in the interview.
  3. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I understand- they get to me, too, but for different reasons. There are advatages, though to submitting applications online- the cost of hard copies and the time saved from avoiding snail mail. You're probably already doing this, but unless it's a government position, I try to find/figure out the company, then email them a resume and cover letter directly. Also, sometimes I can "bypass" the online questions, attach a resume, and send that in. It sounds like you had no choicee with this one because they had the computer screening the application- in that case, I'd follow Witz's advice.

    I try to keep this in mind- the main objective with the cover letter is to get them to read the resume (you're professional, attentive to what they are looking for, and believe you're qualified), the point of the resume is to get an interview (you are qualified for the position), the point of the interview is to get an offer (build a rapport, be willing to negotiate). When they have these online things it is difficult but Witz's approach gets you a better chance of getting to an interview.
  4. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    You're exactly right...you do sometimes have to lie to get past the computer.

    And I guess that's exactly why I'm getting so sick and tired of it. I'm a great person to have as an employee--but you won't even consider me unless I lie to get through your application process? Something's wrong with that...

    The worst online forms make you fill out a survey about how great the online application is. The question will be something like

    Please rate your experience with this online application:

    and the answers will be

    a) it was fast and easy
    b) it's a lot of fun
    c) it was very convenient

    Basically, you have no choice but to tell the company how great their application is.
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2009
  5. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    I have found that the online applications usually occur with the low-paying or entry-level jobs. It's been much easier to apply for government and high-level positions as they usually have an option to submit a resume and cover letter.

    It's trying to prove to places like Sears and Staples and Blockbuster and the grocery store that I really am quite capable of running a cash register or whatever their job-posting is.

    But no, I CLEARLY don't qualify--the computer said so....


    What is wrong with this picture...??!!??

    a) it's quick and easy
    b) it's a lot of fun
    c) it's convenient

    Yeah, um OK
  6. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    It IS frustrating. I STILL go in and talk to people about job openings. Or I have husband do it, cause I cannot work now. 3 years ago I wanted to do some holiday work to pay for gifts. I got almost rejected by one company's computer and then went in (since I shop there regularly anyway) and spoke to the manager about it (With a few items to purchase in one hand). She spoke to me briefly and then told me how to get around the system to get info to her through the company's system.

    So that may be a strategy you can use.

    You can also fall back onto the informational interview. Find someone with a career you are interested in. Ask them for a few minutes of their time. Ask about how they were hired, what the first job with the company was, yadda yadda and so on.

    Then you can apply and the person (hopefully) has a good impression of you and can pick your name out of the applications submitted.

    I got several good jobs this way.

  7. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I would LOVE to get a part time job, but I can't figure out online job applications. I hate them. I haven't found any jobs where you can just go in and talk to somebody. The online job aps are often much longer than necessary too. I'm looking for an easy part time job. I'm not trying to be a Physician.

    Even Walmart is online. It takes about an hour to complete an application.
  8. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Oh Daisy, I can SO relate. Truthfully I was rejected by every computer I applied to. It wasn't until I started networking and getting face to face time that I got the offer in AZ. Computers stink. I think they look for certain key phrases, and certain criteria in your background, and if they don't find that, they spit you out.

    I so fill your pain. One time I spent over an hour on an application, only to have them vomit out a rejection. Grrr!:mad:

    Like Witz said, lie until you can get face to face time. Also there is a website called LinkedIn that is an amazing networking site for people who want to know others in their line of work. In this day and age, it truly is all about networking with real people in real time.
  9. Abbey

    Abbey Spork Queen

    Daisy...I feel your pain. For some odd reason I kept track of the number I have done - 107.

    The only advice I can give is patience and dumb down your experience. The other is, once you've waddled through the online thing, physically visit the place and introduce yourself and let them know you just did the required online application. ALWAYS leave them your name. That's how I finally got my current job. He went that day and looked up my name in the huge database of applicants. They don't want to look through a long resume.

    It is very frustrating for me to apply to a computer when I'm a people person.

    I wish you luck.

  10. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member


    Once upon a time I used to work for a recruiting company, so I've seen all this from the other side of the fence...

    The thing about online job applications is, they are designed specifically to weed out as many people as possible right up front. Their whole purpose is to cut down on the number of applications that a human being actually has to look at.

    They are based on key words and triggers. Certain answers will get your application rejected immediately, because your application doesn't fit the particular cookie cutter they're using.

    I think Witz, Susie and Abbey have it right on the money. Fill in the application in the way that best gets you through the filters, speak to human beings face-to-face whenever you possibly can, do information interviews...whatever you have to do to make yourself memorable to them so that you can bypass the computer filters.

  11. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    Thanks for offering "the view from the other side"....

    and I guess it makes sense to a point. After all, you don't want to waste your time looking at stacks of applications from people who don't qualify.

    I filled out another online application this morning, and this time, the automated reply indicated that my application was being forward to the recruiting department. So whatever I said must have been the "magic words" for that particular computer.

  12. Abbey

    Abbey Spork Queen

    Also, I found that including your entire work history is an immediate denial. It appears that you've had too many jobs. Well, when you're nearly 50 and moved all over the country you have had a lot of jobs. But it is a sign that you may not be a stable employee. I went from a 3 page resume to a one page.

    Gosh...it was hard not including some of those valuable experiences like being a manager at a Piggly Wiggly when I was 17. I was and still am darn proud of that. Or, that I developed and implemented a very sucsessful drop out prevention program that is still in place today. State Blue Ribbon award. Naw...they don't care about that.

    They want to know you're going to be worth their time and money to train, have flexible hours and will stick around.

  13. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    You make a good point--but that's a tough call....

    I know someone who lost a job because his employer ran an Employment History check on him and then claimed he lied on his application because he did not include all the temporary and short-term assignments he had worked while he was looking for a full-time position.

    Darned if you do....darned if you don't.

  14. Abbey

    Abbey Spork Queen

    True, Daisy. It is a risk.

    My experience has been that they never or rarely do a background check or call references. I've been in contact with my references for years and not one has ever been contacted. If you can pass a drug test and criminal background check...the company's insurance company is happy. Sad to say.

  15. trinityroyal

    trinityroyal Well-Known Member

    It really depends on the type of work you're applying for, and how much of a stickler the employer wants to be. Daisy, it sounds like that employer was looking for an excuse to eliminate your friend from the running, because that reasoning is a bit off.

    If you are faced with a bunch of temp work and want to put it on your resume, I would recommend doing a "catch-all" item in your work history. Something along the lines of "Various short term and temporary assignments", with a summary of type of work, common responsibilities, skills, etc.

    Another option if you have a ton of short-term gigs on your resume is to do a Curriculum Vitae. I've been working on contract since 2001, and my contracts range from 3 weeks to 18 months in duration. A traditional resume would be endless and would make me look very unstable, so I use a CV instead. It's about 5 pages long, summarizes my core skill areas and the types of work I do, and then provides a brief description of each of the contract jobs I've held over the years. Work experience prior to when I started freelancing is mentioned but only briefly, and only if it's relevant to the work I do now. Jobs I did before entering my current field are left off entirely, because they just take up valuable space that I can use for other information.

    Keep in mind...the "magic" range is 5 to 15 years' experience, depending on how senior a position you're applying for. Put in enough work history to show that you've been in the workforce for 5 to 15 years. Less than that and they think you're not experienced enough, more than that and they think you're too old.

    That's all I can remember from the resume evaluation criteria we used to use at the Headhunter. If I think of anything else, I'll add it.

  16. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    Years back I worked for a now-defunct but once famous modem maker. I started out with them supervising entry level technical support people and worked my way up to systems and training support.

    Came the time when the company wanted to set up an on-line application system, I was made to be the team leader.

    I couldn't get that darned application to let ME past the screening stage! I couldn't count the number of people I'd interviewd for like positions (and declined or terminated) but I got screened out.

    What clobbered me? An eight year "gap" in employement during the time husband and I were stationed in Germany.

    I wasn't unemployed in Germany! I worked in IT for a civilian contractor that serviced local military bases--sort of what they call "desk-side" support.

    BUT, because there was nothing work-history wise attached to my SSN, I got the whammy.
  17. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    If that's the case (lying gets you past all the junk and not including your good managerial work history allows you to actually get past the filters for a job at BoJangles) then I'm taking my smarts and applying for 100k a year jobs. :tongue:

    At the least I should get consideration. Right?

    Daisy I feel your urge to :smashcomputer:
    But don't :capitulate: Just keep going:church:
    and eventually the perfect job for you will come along and then we'll all be going

    Wow you're really good with a hammer - maybe you should apply for a job as a roofer or carpenter.....(see how quickly she's hittin' that computer?)

  18. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Good thread!

    A little Occupational Therapist (OT)- the best head-hunter around for my line of work dropped me the second I told him I had a teenage son who was incarcerated. I had to tell him because we were talking about a specific job and I was explaining why I would need flexible hours at some times. I could have come up with someething else , like "personal family business" but I didn't think he would hold that against me as much as leaving it vague.
  19. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    So...a local retail location posted a whole list of job openings (Whoo-Hoo!!!) and instructed interested applicants to please apply online (UGH!!).

    I went to their website, as instructed, and attempted to complete their online application. Something must have been wrong with their server because it kept freezing and giving me error messages. After several attempts, I decided to print out a customized resume and cover letter.

    I went to the store in person and introduced myself to the manager. I explained that I had attempted to complete their online process and there seemed to be some problem with the server, and I didn't want to miss the opportunity to work for them, so I was dropping off my resume in person. The manager gave me a blank look and explained that I needed to go to their website. He suggested that I try the computer at the library, since any problem with the server was obviously on my end, and there was no process for hiring people using paper applications or resumes.

    So....it appears that I am UN-hire-able.

    The gaps in my work history will never get me past these automated systems and I don't have the background for a Fortune 500 type job.

    So I guess that's it.


  20. Abbey

    Abbey Spork Queen

    No, Daisy. That is not it. Ask to speak to the store manager, not some kid working at the counter. They have NO clue what corporate is expecting.

    Explain what is happening, drop your resume off and say you're continuing to try the web process. Ok...lie. I've tried it on three different computers and get the same error message. I'd really like to have a chance to work for you.

    It's tough out there, but I think being persistant does work out in the end. I had a few places cringe when they saw me walking in the front door every week. They're like...oh, geez...here she comes again.:anxious:

    Keep your spirits up. Something will come along.