6 ways companies drive job applicants crazy

by Tracy McCarthy

By Tracy Mallette

I’m job searching again and encountering things companies do to complicate and frustrate the application process. Not all employers are guilty, but many partake in these hiring faux pas.

1. They never get back to us. It’s now common not to hear back from a company after applying. OK, we’re used to that. With hundreds of applicants for each position nowadays, it’s understandable that we might not hear back unless we follow up. What’s most aggravating is speaking with someone at the company, who says “we’ll let you know either way” and never hearing back. Please, get back to job applicants whenever possible.

Spelling mistake in job add reads: Income: Consummate with ability.

This is an excerpt from an actual job description. I think most job seekers would rather just  receive a paycheck. Spelling mistakes in job ads are bad for business and frustrate applicants.

2. They have errors in their job posts. It’s endlessly frustrating having to prove yourself to a company that leaves spelling and grammar mistakes in its job description. Companies (rightfully) fault job seekers for similar resume and cover letter errors; give what you expect to receive. I just saw a job ad that read; Income: Consummate with ability. Yikes! I’m assuming, but hopefully they just misspelled “commensurate”. (Read my post on unintentional obscenity to prevent this kind of mistake!) Misspellings and grammatical inaccuracies are bad for business in any document.

3. Online job applications that outdo the government’s. Have you ever applied for a government job? If not, you don’t know what you’re missing. You have to upload a resume and fill out an extensive online application, as well as agree to background checks, drug testing and giving up your first-born child. Whatever, we expect that from the government. The problem is: Everyone’s doing it! For a lot of companies, you have to create an account with username and password, even though you’ll probably never use it again. OK, fine. You upload a resume (now you can even use your LinkedIn account profile – awesome!) OK, whew, that was easy and relatively painless. You click next, expecting a “Thank you for applying” message, just to see a blank form asking for your education. Hmm – OK, that’s not so bad. Maybe that’s just in case you didn’t put it on your resume. Next. Nope! Now you see a daunting screen with blank fields requiring you fill out everything about your work experience. What!? Why did you have to submit a resume, then!? The government compares your resume to your online profile to locate discrepancies. Is that what these companies are doing? I submitted an online application that not only required my pay for each position, but the exact (to the day) start and end dates of my previous positions. Even the government only requires the month and year.

4. They require multiple interviews. I once had two phone interviews and three in-person interviews for one position – that I didn’t get. That’s an extreme example, but hiring managers are now requiring phone interviews and more than one in-person interview for positions. High unemployment rates have created a job-search imbalance, and due to too many applicants, an increase in power or both, companies are putting potential employees through the ringer. We know businesses want to find the right candidate, but an over-extensive hiring process is exhausting for everyone – especially candidates with full-time jobs, who need to finagle time off for every interview.

5. They have hidden expectations. Companies want job applicants to follow up with them at every step of the way to prove you’re really interested. Companies don’t want you to contact them after applying because they get too many applicants. What’s a job seeker to do? Read any two job-hunting articles and they’ll tell you different things. Oh, and be sure to include as much as possible on your resume because managers want to see a diverse background. But don’t put anything on your resume that doesn’t apply to the position you’re going for – managers don’t like that. I’ve run into all of these contradicting scenarios and more. I still don’t know what to do. These preferences are subjective, and there’s no way for applicants to know what each company is looking for. Companies: State your expectations so you don’t get annoyed with whatever job applicants do or don’t do.

6. They want salary requirements without divulging the range they’re offering. Come on, company execs, you know you’re playing dirty with this one! This is another example of the post-recession power struggle. It’s great to ask for salary expectations so nobody’s time is wasted, but play fair.

Hiring managers, I know us job seekers do things that drive you crazy, too, but please keep this list in mind the next time you’re going through the hiring process to make both of our lives easier. What are your job-candidate grievances or ways that your company does it right?

Job seekers, I know there are more than just five ways companies drive us crazy! What are some others? Please, share them and your advice in the comments below.