The company application is alive and well in the 21st century. Looks the same, but you will find it in different places.
The 1985 job seeker would walk into a place of business and speak with a receptionist normally located inside the front door. The job seeker would be given a one- or two-page paper document to complete on site. The receptionist would notice if the job seeker made many erasures, had the wife fill it out for him, or didn’t bring the necessary information.
When we shift to the 21st century, some things are the same, some things are different. Twitter, LinkedIn and scanable resumes have not entirely replaced applications. Instead of a receptionist, the applications will be found in a kiosk or online.
Kiosks are found mostly in retail establishments such as grocery stores or restaurants. Here are some things to consider about kiosk applications:
• They are a plus to people like me with poor handwriting.
• They provide step-by-step instructions. Better than interrupting a person who has better things to do.
• The machine will alert you to mistakes which are easy to correct. With paper you had to start over again.
• Allow enough time to complete the application. Kiosks I have seen give an average completion time.
• On the other hand, a job seeker in the 1980s could take as long as they needed to complete a paper application. However, linger too long on a question in the kiosk and you may find yourself “timed out.” You will have lost everything and have to start over.
• Bring a resume, work history, references or fact sheet with you. Do not be caught flat-footed.
• As with the paper application, review the application to make sure this is what you want to say. Nothing is final until you click “Apply now.”
• Answer all questions completely and accurately. Double-check spelling and accuracy of numbers.
• Be prepared for an interview. Kiosks are designed to alert a manager if someone has the desired qualities.
A nonprofessional job seeker would look at an online application and see little difference between it and a paper application. But those applying for professional openings might find a longer experience. One told me of spending over an hour on an application and was frustrated that he was unable to copy and paste from his resume. This was not unique — professional online applications require a tedious amount of work.
When a job seeker completes a paper or kiosk application that information is between them and the employer. However the online application does not have this level of privacy. Others will have access to your information. Thus you must be sure the information you enter online is consistent, i.e., saying the same thing every time you apply.
Additional hints for completing online applications:
• Have other online versions of resume/applications available when completing a new application because you may be able to cut and paste (but don’t count on it).
• Save and print a copy of each application you send. Some technical glitch may require resending an application.
• As with the paper application, reread the application before hitting “send.”
• Make sure the information you give on your fifth application matches the information given on applications 1,2,3 and 4.
• Assume the risks of placing information on a data base.