Don’t Just Dive In: My Lonely Battle with “Quick Apply” Buttons
Richard Ward has a few insights for you regarding "Quick Apply" buttons, make sure you give this a read before applying for your next job.
I find it prudent to precede this article with a bit of a disclaimer. This is very much an opinion piece and the opinion of the author is heavily weighted against the practices described.
In a previous piece, I touched on the subject of patience in the job application process. I opined that patience is not something that today’s society-at-large is blessed with. Again, information, money and, yes - jobs, are never more than a couple of clicks away and, as a result, we’re all guilty of being impatient and/or lazy.
I’m not going to harp on and lament on days gone by. That’s not my point here at all. On the whole, technology and the advancements it brings – Big, big fan! Technology, in all its forms has one unifying factor and that’s to make our lives easier. Can’t complain too much then, when it in turn we gradually pay less and less attention whilst it works away for us.
So, on to the topic of a real pet peeve of mine; The “Quick Apply” button on job sites. These come in different styles and go by different names, but they’re there, across all platforms. You’re probably thinking,
‘Well, hang on a second. What’s wrong with them? In one click, my CV’s on the way to the relevant party and it’s made this particular stage of my job application much quicker and easier.’
When you put it like that, you’re right. I’ve nothing against automation. All for taking out as much grunt work as possible, from any process. And it’s not the fact that these automation tools do things for us, that I take issue with. It’s the fact that they rather sneakily, without malicious intent but intentionally at the same, encourage the applicant to not even bother reading past the Job Title. Next time you’re on such a site, take a look at where you spot a button saying, “Apply Now!” or, “Follow this link to apply!” and you’ll see what I mean.
You may still be wondering why I’ve got such a bee in my bonnet about this. Surely if it’s so commonplace, then there can’t be anything wrong with it. Everyone’s doing it. So, allow me to
I talked about information being only a click or two away. But we can all agree that reading one article, from one source, about a particular topic doesn’t make one informed. So, we click away for a bit longer, we stop and ask questions, and in time, we strengthen the integrity of the information that’s out there. That is, of course, if we actually want to be informed.
I talked about money being only a click or two away. I actually just checked, and, with my bank, I could have up to €60,000 in my account in a matter of minutes. All I have to do is fill out a handful of personal details, check a couple of boxes and click send. Probably a good idea, though, for me to take a moment to think about where I get the spare €1,200 per month to pay it back, lest I start losing my personal possessions. Might also not be a bad shout to take another moment to consider if I really need to be borrowing that much cash in the first place.
Applying for a loan – and I mean, responsibly – is a serious matter. So too, is applying for a job. It’s supposed to take time, and it’s supposed to be carefully considered.
First, you have the candidate – let’s say that that’s you. With these buttons or links at the very top of a job advert, you might find yourself applying two-dozen roles. Now, let’s keep the button, but put it at the bottom of the job add (similar, perhaps, to the way you have to click on the terms and conditions and at least scroll down to the bottom before you’re allowed to actually confirm that you’ve read them). Safe to say that now, you’ve probably cut your number of applications in half. Let’s remove the button entirely and I’d happily bet that that figure has at least halved again. If you apply to over twenty jobs, how could you possibly hope to commit enough effort to each process, in order to give yourself a chance? Also, I refer back to a point I made in a previous post about keeping track of your applications. The more you apply to by simply clicking away without a second thought, the harder it is to remember (or even know in the first place) where you’ve applied and this can get you into sticky situations easier than you’d think. The second scenario still leaves you with a lot to juggle, but as mentioned earlier, the automation side is not entirely to be sniffed at. At least you’ve had a look at the specs and actually know what it is you’re applying for. If we’re advocating for the buttons to stay, I’m going through door number two here.
Then, you have the person at the other end. This could be a member of the HR team, a hiring manager, a recruiter. Whatever, there’s somebody that picks up your application on behalf of the
company. Now, the company obviously wants applications. They have a vacancy that they need to fill and, logic would indicate (though by no means dictate) that the more applications they receive, the higher the likelihood of filling that vacancy. Going through these applications takes time, as does arranging interviews and coordinating the recruitment process. Adding time and work, unnecessarily, to this process doesn’t help anyone. Clicking away and applying to job after job is the very definition of adding unnecessary work for the person on the other end. A rather sad reality when it comes to this, is that people don’t really care that much about whether they’re adding to another person’s workload, especially a person that they don’t know and it’s not so hard to see why. With that in mind, let’s consider how this might have a negative impact on you, the candidate. Let’s say you apply for two or three jobs with the same company or agency, over the course of six months. None of these jobs were you even remotely suited to and your name starts to stick in the HR Manager’s mind, often for that very reason. A few more months go by and you apply again for a fourth job but, this time, it’s actually a great fit for you. The same HR Manager sees your name at the top of the CV and is about as likely to read through it as it was likely that you read through the first few job specs. If you’re spotting similarities to the tale of the boy who cried wolf here, then it’s because the plot is practically a carbon copy. Call it a cynical, jaded view of things, but it’s more common than you’d think.
In closing, I’ll briefly return to the point of applying for jobs being a serious matter. It’s important to take your time when making decisions about your professional future. Read the fine print and ask questions – both of yourself, and why you’re actually looking, as well as asking about the role – rather than just jumping head first into the process. It’s just the right thing to do.
Take a breath, before you take the step.