Should applying for a job should be difficult?

difficulty applying for a job

Should applying for a job be hard or easy?

Okay, so if you’re anything like me at all, your first thought is that it should be easy. We should keep the process as simple as possible for people to try to get into our organization. Keep that pipeline open and flowing!

So we’ll set the bar as low as we possibly can…

Are you starting to see my point? Maybe setting the bar low to let everyone in isn’t such a good idea. But going the opposite way isn’t that smart, either. Setting the bar very high would preclude people like me from ever finding a job. :-)

One thing that I’m pretty certain about is that we should make it hard enough to repel those who are applying to anything and everything under the sun (whether the job or the culture is a fit for them or not).

On the opposite side of the coin, we should give those people who are seriously interested a way to get a leg up on the competition. I wrote on Grouper Eye a while back. They screen out applicants for partnering employers with pre-employment contests that provide job seekers with a tool to add to his/her portfolio.

If it’s too hard to get in, you’re pushing away good potential candidates. If it’s too easy to get in, you are going to miss some of those good candidates while you’re sifting through a giant pile of resumes.

Lessons from hiring a virtual assistant

I follow another guy online. His name is Clay Collins. He does a lot of work with micropreneurs and helps people start their own little “freedom” businesses. He has a neat little test for virtual assistants he hires. He knows that there are a lot of them out there that aren’t very good, so he puts some relatively tough standards on the application process to weed out people who aren’t very interested in working hard.

He’s left with 1) a group of people who want to work with him bad enough to complete the whole process, 2) a work sample for each person, and 3) a vastly easier selection process overall. It works for him, and I think it’s a fantastic way to cut out the lazy people who just want a “j-o-b.”

Hire tough, manage easy

Monday Morning Leadership Mentoring LessonsHire tough, manage easy. It’s the motto espoused in the great little book Monday Morning Leadership: 8 Mentoring Sessions You Can’t Afford to Miss. While it’s easier on the front end to have an easy hiring process, you’ll have exponentially more management problems down the road. By setting tough hiring standards, you can ease the pressure on managers, because the caliber of employee will be higher.

How hard should it be?

I think it’s unique to the organization. Yes, it sounds like a cop-out, but setting a level of difficulty across the board isn’t feasible. I’d love to hear your comments. How hard should it be?

FYI: I know that job seekers prefer the job application process to be easy. But the easier it is the more they will want to “spray and pray” with their resumes. That’s a horrible job search tactic and maybe discouraging it is actually a benefit of stricter hiring practices? Food for thought.

5 thoughts on “Should applying for a job should be difficult?

  1. adowling

    This is something we’ve been talking about at my organization. We’re rolling out a new HRIS that comes with a shiny recruiting platform that I’m in love with. It will allow candidates to fill out a very short profile, upload a resume and apply; in less than five minutes. Using the email address as a sign on also cuts down on mutliple profiles and those people that apply 5 times for the same job. I’m trying to build it to be easy for them and easy for me.

    I know of a local company that is huge, 12000 ee’s accross the southeast and west. They still use paper application with “Do not attach resume, must complete” in bold letters like its still 1995.
    .-= adowling´s last blog ..APB – My Muse =-.

  2. Mel Kleiman

    I have written a book actually called “Hire Tough Manage Easy” and I think you are mixing up a couple of ideas. There are two seperate items that you need to consider if you want to hire the best. The first is recruiting and the key to recruiting is to make is easy for the applicants to get into your process. I don’t want to make it so difficult and time consuming that I loose the great people who have a job maybe are not really looking but see something that might interest them. Now once you have them in the system the key is now to make the job hard to get. To put it simply the most important decision you make as a manager is who you allow in the door to take care of your customers.

    Along with this the number one reason STAR employees leave is because those A players don’t need or want to play wiht C players.

  3. Shannon

    Ben –
    I have mixed emotions on this one, and just did a post last week on the dangers of the “other side”. I believe that firms should hire hard, but not necessarily apply hard – or said differently, they should attract the broadest audience but then give them enough (in terms of both information and hoops in the process perhaps) to help both figure out if the firm is right for them. Not a small order I know, but I think it worth the time and will ultimately help the company’s employer brand in the process. The best call ever gotten by a talent acquisition pro is from the person who did NOT get the job but calls to say the process improved their perspective and respect for the company!
    .-= Shannon´s last blog ..Pull vs Push in the Candidate model =-.

  4. Krista Francis

    I think there should be graduated steps in the hiring process and it would make sense that the difficulty level generally increases throughout the process as both parties indicate more interest in pursuing the relationship.

    (Kind of like dating, right?)

    That said, I think the steps in the process have to make sense, have purpose and be directly related to determining the best fit. No point in making people jump through needless, irrelevant hoops; it’s insulting and off-putting.
    .-= Krista Francis´s last blog ..HR Bloggers Silence on Health Care Reform =-.

  5. Chernee Vitello

    Hi Ben –

    Nice post! Good points. If people really want the opportunity they will make the effort to apply. I think once they make the effort we in turn need to respond and thank then for the resume etc… So many times when you post a position you get so many resumes that are not a fit! I think Indeed should make they apply process a little more of a challenge as well.

    Have a good weekend!

    Best –

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