Ask HR: Do I have to complete the application if I already sent a resume?

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    The changes in the job market over the past few years have certainly impacted job seekers in a way that many of us have not seen before. For the first time in history, there are four generations of workers in the job market with each generation facing a unique challenge. Whether you are a recent college grad looking for your first opportunity or a victim of downsizing looking for your next career, the job search can be a very frustrating experience.
    A question I often get from jobseekers is, “Why do I have to spend hours completing an online application if I already sent over my resume?”
    The simplest answer to this question is this, “Because they asked you to.”
    Honestly, it is really that simple. Every step of the application process is a screening tool for the recruiting team. The online and/or paper application should be completed in its entirety using the same care that is used on the resume. Proper punctuation, spelling, and grammar are essential elements in all communication with a potential employer (including setting up your profile on their online system). Additionally, follow all directions provided exactly and pay attention to the details of the instructions. Many online applications are programmed to screen out applicants based on your answers to key questions or whether or not the application is complete before a recruiter even gets to review the application. Even when the initial screening is done by the recruiter, incomplete applications (in most cases) will be screened out of the process immediately and all those qualifications you have for the job will never be seen by the hiring manager.
    A question I often get from recruiters is, “Why can’t applicants just follow directions?”
    My advice to recruiters is also very simple. Give the applicant all the information they need to be successful in the ad and on the application. If you don’t want phone calls, explain how applicants can determine the status of posted jobs. If you have already screened the resume and know that the applicant doesn’t meet the minimum criteria, generate a quick email thanking them for applying and letting them know you are pursing candidates that better meet the qualifications. Communicate how your hiring process works and what applicants can expect going forward. As a recruiter, you are most likely the first impression a candidate will have of the company. That comes with a great deal of marketing responsibility. If you understand that, then for you, the answer to the question is also very simple.

    For more resources, See the Human Resources library.