Are long job applications worth the effort?

Every job seeker knows the drill: you find a job that really interests you, but when you follow the link to apply, the application goes on forever…


Why they do this to you?

Recruiters will often use the long application process to help weed out candidates. The thought process behind this is to see how well you can follow instructions. If you mess up on any of the steps, they consider this a weakness. However, that is not the only reason why they do this.

In the case of placement agencies, they are actually making you enter all the details into their database, rather than making the recruiters do it. This is the set-up for the computerized screening. The computers look for specific key words and then passes on the candidates that match the search to the recruiters.

You can can fill out the agency’s online application many times, even if they don’t have a job that interests you right at that specific moment. Remember, agencies are always gathering qualified applicants. In that case, their applications may be longer, this includes the excruciating ‘skills sections’ that must be filled in line-by-line. This allows them to the ability to search through the database later, looking for a match with specific skills sets.

Other industries require detailed personal information. For example, nanny recruiters often ask for Social Security/National Insurance numbers, dates-of-birth, license information, and even past employers’ names and contact information. This creates the data they need to run background checks quickly. When the right job does becomes available, there is less delay in pulling the necessary paperwork.


Is it worth it?

Your goals are the biggest consideration when deciding if you want to devote up to an hour completing an online application. Do you want a job:

  • through an employment agency
  • in a background-driven industry

Then the long application is going to be a given.

Motives are another consideration. If you are just filling out an application because you have a slight interest in the company or job, then it probably isn’t worth your time. In those cases, people have a tendency to make a half-hearted effort with the application. That won’t catch the attention of a recruiter or survive the screening tools.

Worse, a half-hearted attempt or sloppy application kills the potential of being found in the recruiter’s own database. Remember, in private service, agents frequently go through their database FIRST, before posting the job online or paying for an advertisement. If your application is not thorough, you won’t be found in the mass of other applicants.


So the application is done – now what?

If you care about building a relationship with the agency, take the time to call or email once the application is finished. Then add that employer to your weekly watch list. Visit their website to scan for newly opened jobs and email your contact to express your interest. Even if you don’t see the ideal job, be sure to call or email your recruiter once a month. Remember, this industry is built on professional relationships, so do your best to create a favorable one with the agencies.

About Donna Shannon

Donna Shannon, President of The Personal Touch Career Services, is one of the few career coaches who understands the unique nature of the private service industry. Drawing from both her corporate recruitment and luxury market placement experience, she has been helping job seekers with professional writing services, job search consultations and classes since 2004. Her book “How to Get a Job Without Going Crazy” (2nd Edition, 2012) is available on Donna is based in Denver, Colorado, and works with job seekers across the country and abroad.

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