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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Real Thing

Had I known what was in store for this morning, I would have reserved the name of last Friday’s post, because after today I know the real meaning of “On-Line Angst.” Which is to say that a writing job for which I have questionable qualifications but have seen several times in the last month, popped up on my screen this morning via a circuitous route that started with a stranger’s LinkedIn profile. I’m all for listening when life presents a less than understated hint and when I decided to apply, an on-line application was the only method accepted. Almost two hours and several eternities later, I pressed “Application Complete.”

As one of the principal project managers involved in implementing the on-line applicant tracking system in my old job, I am respectful of employment processes and recognize the need in this click-to-send world for screening out non-qualified candidates. After filling out the on-line application form in addition to attaching a resume and a cover letter, I was perfectly satisfied with the request to attach three on-line writing samples, except that the few samples I was able to retrieve before hastily departing my old office are not in the software applications requested. After cutting, pasting, submitting and failing multiple times, at the end it was less about applying and more about playing a game to see how tenacious (a word I use on my professional biography) I could be.

The answer is “tenacious enough.” Ultimately, after submitting the one writing sample that I had in Microsoft Word, then creating and attaching two Microsoft Word documents containing hyperlinks to my other two samples, I was allowed to press send. While not in the style or format requested, I’m feeling a bit cynical here. That job has been up for well over a month, and as a former recruitment professional I’m thinking I know why. A cumbersome on-line application process is scaring candidates away--it is a fine line between screening unqualified applicants out, and screening everyone else out too. So I’ll go for some optimism here. Considering a possible dearth of candidates, perhaps someone will click on my links.

It’s a stretch though. I have plenty of experience being inundated by candidates, and I know, at least from a recruiter’s point of view, how important it is for job applicants to play by the rules. The networking gurus will tell me that I need to find someone other than an HR person to send my resume to. And I hear them. Until I do though, I don’t expect anything to come from this foray into on-line exasperation. When all was said and finally done however, I awarded myself a victory medal. After all, job or no job, tenacity ruled and an inflexible system failed to beat me.

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