Many attributes have changed over time when it comes to human resources (HR) and job applications. These changes have impacted those who are looking for employment (applicants), as well as the human resources departments (the companies).
Describing the job application process to those born in the 21st century might result in blank looks. The word, “newspaper,” tends to have that effect when anyone references it in the job application process.
It used to be that job seekers would use newspapers to find advertisements for jobs and then visit those places of employment.
Finding a job and completing the job application process was easier in the past than it is now. It was not unusual for an applicant to fill out an application, have an interview on that same day, and start working the next day.
There was a need to employ qualified applicants and get them working as soon as possible, especially with service companies.
No Longer Living in the Past
The world has changed since the days of newspapers and the on-the-spot job application process. Even when describing this process to young people, their blank looks turn into the question of why the job applicant isn’t saving time and looking on the internet first.
That way, he or she can apply for more jobs and save gas money and the unnecessary trip to visit the potential place of employment. The idea that there was ever a world without the internet eludes many people today.
Applicant Viewpoint: Advantages & Disadvantages
The invention (or availability) of the internet has provided disadvantages and advantages. People can browse through several job openings, including those on career sites (which have job openings, career tips, and more). Surely, this ability has made the process of finding possibilities that much easier.
Online job hunting has the advantage of not leaving newspaper residue (black ink) on your fingers. Add to that the simple organizational benefits of browser bookmarks and digital notes, and you are on your way to success.
Some Hidden Benefits
Hidden benefits to using the internet exist. For example, there is the ability to work from home. And there is the ability to completely research the opportunities (pros and cons) surrounding a possible relocation before making that sort of decision. Those types of resources were simply not as available in years past.
Along with those advantages for applicants also come disadvantages. People from the “older generation” have some insights into the negative differences the internet has brought about.
Those who have not experienced the “newspaper days” might not see these disadvantages, and it is probably better that way! After all, isn’t there a quote that says “ignorance is bliss?”
So what do the members of the older generation experience, as far as their perspective? There was a certain benefit to having, say, only 10 people in a waiting room applying for one particular job.
Oftentimes there might be more than one job. So maybe you had a one in three odds of getting a job (i.e. nine applicants in the waiting room for three job openings).
Nowadays, there could be thousands of online applications for the same job opening. And it might be that employers overlook qualified people or simply do not find them (more on that later).
In those “old days” with less sophistication, there were often more job openings. Applicants had opportunities to scoop up other jobs, even if those jobs were not their first choices.
Employer Viewpoint: Advantages & Disadvantages
One advantage that employers have is the ability to organize the talent in what could be called a talent management system.
By adding the applicants (preferably automatically) to a database, there are opportunities to filter them by any number of qualifications. These include education, experience, skill categories, years of experience, location, etc.
The disadvantage would be having too many applicants to work through for one job opening. However, employers can often overcome that problem by picking the right talent management system.
By having the applicants enter their information in an online form, the hiring managers can set up the database to receive the information in the proper database fields (such as form fields).
That way, they can filter the information for easy retrieval later in the process. By filtering the information properly, it is a quicker process to find the qualified applicant that they desire.
If the human resources department has never experienced the days of the applicant walking into the office, applying, and then starting the next day, there is likely nothing lost. In that case, the processing of applications using a database system would be normal.
Online database systems afford opportunities for easy retrieval and access. The question is whether or not the human resources department (and the company) has found the best talent management system available for their needs (at the lowest cost).
Finding the Right Applicant
Now, it is possible there might be a better-suited applicant than the one using the system. But it is also possible that your neighbor is the next person to be sent to the moon.
The key point here is about odds. Without some way of identifying what is working and what is not working, it is a bit difficult to claim what is working and what is working well.
This concern tends to be of particular interest to the applicants. They want to know which system helps them to have the best odds of getting that job.
A Scenario to Describe Two Perspectives
Picture this. Let’s say a buyer is trying to find the perfect pair of shoes. The buyer visits the local shoe store. While there, she can look through hundreds of pairs of shoes. While doing so, she looks for just the right style, color, and texture for whatever purpose the shoe is needed.
The other unchosen shoes might feel as if she has overlooked them. But the buyer will feel she had the opportunity to select exactly what she was looking for when shopping for that pair of shoes.
The shoes are the applicants. The satisfied buyer is the company.
And, besides, if that applicant does not work out, the company can go through the process again. The employers can spend more time on other necessary human resources job functions. Some of those tasks include staff training, management assessment, and team building exercises.
Want to know another benefit of the applicant tracking automation software? There is oftentimes the ability to track the status of the application.
By doing so, the HR staff can find out, at a moment’s notice, where an applicant is in the hiring process. How does this feature help?
It breeds efficiency and effectiveness for the HR department by providing an easier scheduling process and organizational strategies. It might also help the HR team look good to their bosses (upper and executive management).
Human Resources in Summary
There is no doubt that our human resources processes have changed with time. This is especially true with the inception of the internet.
Now, the question is, what are we going to do about these changes? As applicants, can we embrace the opportunities that an internet-based application process provides?
Can we identify ways to improve our presentation of ourselves and our skills through the use of career sites? As HR employees, can we utilize talent management systems? What about implementing them in a way that best serves our companies?
You’re the judge. Where do you fit in this process? And how do you see yourself improving it, whether personally or for your company?
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