Thursday, April 10, 2008

Poor Career sites explain problems for job seekers or why librarians spend so much time helping job seekers

This article caught my eye. It certainly explains a great deal about why job seekers have so much difficulty applying for jobs at public libraries. This is something I have discussed in the past and last Summer Library Journal did a cover story on how public libraries are working for the Federal Government providing job and tax information. Apparently, we are also working for major employers that have passed on their job applications to online websites. Those sites, are failing:

Career Sites Fail Job Seekers - New York Times: "According to the research firm, more than 60% of 25- to 34-year-old job seekers rely on the Internet to find employment information, making career sites the second most common source of new hires for large companies. Forrester expects that popularity to increase as Generation X and Y employees begin to comprise a larger percentage of the total workforce. Yet the study showed that job seekers can expect poor performance from career sites across the board.
'Ten of the 12 sites reviewed scored below zero,' the report reads. A passing score on all 25 criteria Forrester examines would be a +25 or higher, with a score range of between -50 and +50. 'Yahoo! Hotjobs fared the best at +10, which is 15 points shy of a passing score; Merrill Lynch fared the worst at =18. The average score across all of the sites evaluated was -8.8,' Forrester reports.
Forrester evaluated American International Group (AIG), Citigroup, Merrill Lynch and The Goldman Sachs Group in the financial services industry. For retailers, the research firm examined JCPenney, Kroger, Macy's and Rite Aid. And for job search Web sites, the research covered, Dice, Monster and Yahoo! Hotjobs.
Common problems across all industries including missing content and functions, flawed navigation flows, illegible text and poor use of space, as well as poor error handling and missing privacy and security policies. According to Forrester, companies need to design career sites with the user in mind and begin revamping by first fixing problems that inhibit site usability."

If you can imagine applying for a job using a computer when the job doesn't even REQUIRE a computer, it easy to see how frustrating the process can be. Some would even suggest businesses do this not just to save money, but to weed out those who cannot use a computer. I can say this, library staff take a large portion of their time helping the public navigate career websites and finding jobs. If those sites were easier, it would be less of a burden on public resources.

1 comment:

Jessica said...

I spend a good chunk of time helping people apply for jobs online. From what I understand, it is no longer possible to apply via print application to Wal-Mart or Home Depot, at least where I live. The frustration starts - for everyone involved - when the person applying for the job proves to have limited functional literacy skills/mental illness/cognitive impairment issues. Then, pair those issues with NO computer experience. Then, add a dash of "404 - the page you are looking for cannot be found or has moved," and you have the ingredients for a fun-filled afternoon. At one point, I was actively discouraging people from apply for said jobs from our computers, because NOT ONE person had been able to successfully fill out the applications before being TIMED OUT. I find that nothing makes a patron homicidal like being timed out of a job application after spending an hour on it.

I absolutely think that these applications are designed to weed out potential employees. And that MIGHT make sense for a job that required computer skills, but since the average Wal-Mart employee (and I'm not saying this to be mean, but is based on what I personally encountered while working at Wal-Mart myself while in grad school) has some combination of "issues," this "weeding" seems not only unnecessary, but cruel.