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My CV vs. your online application form

“We appreciate your nicely put CV. Now kindly fill out our online application”

Let me start off by saying that I have been out of the job market for quite a while. After about five years in my comfortable “HR professional” chair, here I am looking at job seeking from the other side.

I have worked hard on updating and upgrading my CV by using Canva, getting advice on CV writing from my professor at the Rome Business School, from a Career Centre, and from an external agency. It looks neat. It has all of the key information of which I want my potential employers to be aware. I am ready to apply for jobs. Yet, one after another, I come across companies that require me to fill out their own online application form, regardless of the fact that I have just handed over my CV.

Are these application forms really any different from my CV? Will I really be doing anything other than copying and pasting what is already in my CV? Are those forms really necessary? No. I can’t tell you how many times I have been put off by this.

Having been engaged in direct recruitment for almost four years, I understand that there are cases in which candidates do not provide all the necessary information, but most do. I would say that most CVs/Résumés include:

  • Educational background
  • Professional experience (if any and, if the document does not contain this information, trust me, the candidate doesn’t have any)

I also understand that it is important to store candidate data in ways that are suited for the organization, and that some older software may not be able to read pdf or Word formats and extract the information necessary to filter out some candidates. But I don’t think that this justifies missing out on candidates just because you are not giving us the option. If there are any country/industry specific legal or fiscal requirements, make it short and put it on one page. Moreover, online job applications are meant to save time. The process should be made easier, more comfortable. Instead, it becomes time consuming, inconvenient, and bureaucratic. Especially when, today, most candidates have LinkedIn accounts and career websites already ask to be linked to them. Why not make that the end of the application?

Or could it be a test of patience and perseverance? If so, you should be aware of the fact that time-valuing millennials and Generation Zero would prefer to just push an Easy Apply button. Give us options. Don’t miss out on your next Super Star because of how your online application form is configured.

P.S. Did you know that, in Slovakia, companies ask candidates to provide feedback on the recruitment process after they have clicked on the ‘Apply’ button on a career website? This provides that extra “We value your opinion” notch that our generation loves.

Zilola Achilova

Master in International Human Resources Management