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It is better
to not be on
the web than
to be on and
not know why

John Sumser

is more
it seems.
John Gall


The Electronic Recruiting News is a Free Daily Newsletter For Recruiters, HR Managers, Advertising Agencies and Clasified Advertising Operations

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(February 20, 2003) -
-  We were talking to an old friend who had recently relocated to accompany his wife to her new assignment. The deal was full of the promises of 'help with a new assignment'. But, when he went to actually get a job, things fell apart.

He tells really funny stories about trying to get the attention of people who worked in his wife's new company and how they explicitly ignored the requests from the old fashioned HR department. He ended up being directed to apply to a job that had been posted to prove that there was no one available by an 'enemy' of the guy who posted the job. Several months into the new arrangement, he's still out of work.

He tells great tales about relentless phone calling just to get acknowledgement that his resume has been received. He laughs at the suggestion that another dose of spam from one of the job boards is going to be of much help. He has done his homework, knows where the jobs are and is nothing but astonished by the treatment he is receiving.

We wish he were alone.

Sometimes, being in HR feels awful. Every needy person in the world seems to get your phone number in their quest for help finding a job. The conventional wisdom has always been to 'harden your heart' because 'you can't help everyone who needs it'.

In practice, this means that HR departments are allowed (and expected) to be rude.

That is the only possible explanation for the sorry state of affairs surrounding corporate employment sites and their functionality. 

According to our research of the Fortune 1000 (complete in February, 2003)

  • Less than 1% of all corporate employment sites offer a privacy policy
  • Less than 25% of all corporate employment sites acknowledge the receipt of an application
  • No observable corporate employment sites offer status information for an application
  • No observable corporate employment sites offer information about the ultimate destruction of personal info provided by applicants.
  • Four out of five corporate employment sites require that the same information be entered again for different positions (the problem is far more severe when looking across divisions of the same company)

That's just the surface.

An astonishing number of corporate sites claim, in the management literature, that "People are our most important asset." A few clicks away, they present employment pages that are a rude assault to the intelligence of the candidates who use them. 

The employment component of a website is an extraordinarily valuable opportunity to influence the first impressions of people who know little about a particular company. 

We suggest asking the CEO to go and apply for a job on your company's website. See if he likes having his time wasted and his efforts go unacknowledged. We know that our friend finds it rude.

While the posture of the HR department might have been excusable 10 years ago, technology and related disciplines now make it possible to have a process that builds relationships through good manners rather than destroying them.

- John Sumser  

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Materials written by John Sumser © TwoColorHat. All Rights Reserved.
Mill Valley, CA 94941

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