The joys of online job applications
As many of you will know I recently decided to part ways with ZS in order to find a role where I could use of my digital and social media expertise. I have spent years building up the expertise and I am extremely passionate about how digital, and in particular social media, can have an impact in healthcare. Whilst I did some very interesting projects at ZS, and certainly helped many teams with my expertise, there was just not enough projects that really allowed to use and grow my expertise. And so we parted ways and I have started applying for jobs and looking for relevant contract and consulting opportunities.
When I first joined the job market the process of applying for job more often than not involved sending your CV to the recruiter via email. Gradually more and more companies started using online portals, to the extent that now some recruiters will respond to an email with a CV with a link to the portal and ask the applicant to apply online. In theory this is a much better, and more equitable solution. Everyone has equal opportunity to apply and the company slowly builds a database of CVs. The problem is that most of these portals require you to create an account in order to submit your CV.
I don’t know about you but I am up to my eyeballs in log-ins and usernames and passwords. Some portals want you to use your email, others want you to create a username, and they all want a password. I used to try to have a special job portal username and log-in but invariably I ended up forgetting it so when I went back to the said job portal years later it would inform me that I already had an account and would send me my new password – but to an old email address. Then there is the issue of password. We are always told not to use the same password across accounts but I’m sorry I just always forget them so I have resorted to just a few that I use. This is especially true for something I will not use regularly as there is no way I would remember a random password for a random portal.
Today I have been particularly frustrated by one company’s job portal (I won’t name names but it is a medium sized pharma). I logged in, using my now standard username and my standard password. I started to complete the application form but as my laptop is currently being a bit temperamental (it must be the Spring air) I decided to save my progress. This of course then kicked me out and I had to log-in again (why I have no idea – seems like a silly thing to me). But low and behold – as I tried to log in, using the username and password that I used minutes before to create the account, the dratted thing told me that I had got it wrong. Now having only just created the account and having used my standard username and password I knew I had not got it wrong. I nonetheless tried various alternative password options but to no avail. I finally clicked the “forgot password” link and about 5 minutes later (yes minutes not seconds) I received a temporary password and tried again. This time I was told I had been locked out. Fantastic.
In the meantime I received a “Welcome” email to tell me that my account had been set up. From this I presumed therefore that the system they use does not create the account automatically but takes several minutes to do this – which in this day and age I had not expected, but this probably explained why it did not recognise me – the system was painfully slow.
I clicked again on the “forgotten password” link and this time it only took a few seconds for the new password to be sent to me. I am now extremely happy to report that I have regained access to my application. If I should get this role one of the first things I think I will do is have a chat to HR about their system – job applications is a two way thing and if a company makes it too hard or too painful then highly skilled people may simply give up. We often talk about all the shiny new digital tools, like the latest wearable tech, but we should always also remember the importance of getting the basics right. Your digital assets, including your job portals, are often the key place that people form an opinion of your company – do not make them angry or disengaged by not getting the basics right.