I’m sure we’ve all seen one or even filled one out. 126 pages of manual labour just to apply for a job. Why can’t I just send you my CV? Why do I need to tell you every single Standard Grade/O Level/Higher and the grade I achieved? I can guarantee you that my Geography O Level does NOT enhance my professional capabilities….

And this applies to positions at all levels. Senior positions in large companies across the private sector are still relying on experienced professionals to compete a form with all the details that are already on their CV. Are they missing out on strong candidates because of this process? Do people really want to sit down and spend half an hour (or more) on an application form?

There are some advantages to application forms; in larger organisations who recruit for multiple entry level positions, it can be a tidy way of collating applicants in order to compare and funnel them into the next process of the application. This is all well and good when the position attracts a lot of candidates, but what if you’re in a sector that struggles to get applicants? Also, do you REALLY need to know where I went to school, what subjects I studied, the years I was there and the grades I achieved?

As recruiters/hiring managers, we obviously want to see candidates making an effort and show enthusiasm and interest in our companies, i.e. taking the time to fill out an application form, writing a covering letter specific to the company, attending recruitment events, etc. But in a world where the younger workforce rely on their mobile devices so much, and want every process to be as slick and straightforward as possible, should we meet them half way and make it easier for them to apply for jobs?

It’s a tough labour market just now and companies need to be doing everything they can to streamline their recruitment – that may mean “embrace the human, kill off the form”.

Brian Creegan
24th Nov 2021