We get it: For reasons legal and bureaucratic, organizations can't or won't hire people who don't submit applications through a Web site. We understand the value of a level playing field, plausible deniability on unfair practices, and all the rest.
But hiring is one of the most important things organizations do. Why do so many concoct -- or tolerate -- online application systems so prone to pissing off potential hires?
Three things you can do to minimize chances your online application protocol doesn't chase away your most discriminating candidates:
* Make sure your job application form offers easy, prominent and plentiful ways to Save and Finish Later. Many of the best applicants are busy and may not have time to finish your application opus in a single sitting. Why force them into a rush job? Give them a chance to show their best work.
* Don't let applications get lost with a single click. Building in advisories like "Are you sure you want to leave this page without saving? All unsaved work will be lost" can keep driven job-hunters from taking your organization's name in vain and concluding it's run by idiots.
* Give feedback. Let your applicant preview -- and then modify -- his or her application as the hiring team will see it. And instead of lazily regretting you're "unable to send notifications to all applicants when jobs have been filled," promise to update all candidates when the decision's been made. If would-be Nigerian princes can send mass emails effortlessly, your team can figure out how to tell people who've spent hours preparing applications to work with you -- people who could someday prove the most promising candidates for your next round of hiring, if you go the extra inch to treat them decently -- "So long, and thanks for all the fish."
Share this post with an organization that doesn't get it, or with someone on your team who should read it. And comment below on organizations whose application forms fail to meet these basic standards of usability and humanity.