It’s August. Students, teachers and administrators are heading back to school. Many will be freshmen on college campuses, and high school juniors and seniors are looking at colleges and starting the application process. An article in the New York Times talked about the Common Application for college admissions. I remember hearing about the Common Application when I was in high school, and how it simplified the process of applying to multiple schools. You basically supply all your basic information: name, address, birth date, along with your academic history, demographic information, extracurricular activities and work history. Standard information every college applications requests. The difference comes in the essays, which is what usually interests admissions officers more so than your contact information.
You know what else requests standard information like name, address, birth date, education and work history, etc? Yes, that’s right. A job application.
Regardless of whether you are applying for a position with a Fortune 500 company or the local retailer down the street, you are handed or fill out online, an identical application, with the exception of the corporate logo at the top. Unlike college, however, there is no Common Application for the job seeker. As I mentioned at the bottom of this earlier post on job applications, being able to submit the same general information once, instead of multiple times, will make the job application process easier. No need to create account after account with what essentially amounts to a handful of companies (Taleo, BrassRing, Jobvite to name a few), and continually fill in the same information.
The ability to enter standard information once will add a level of efficiency job hunting has yet to experience. Now there’s a frightening thought, no?
I’m convinced there is a better way to job hunt, from both sides of the aisle. A key ingredient is jobs, of course, but since no job board is devoid of open positions, there are jobs to be had. So it becomes a question of how to more efficiently match prospects with openings. And with millions fed up with the job hunt, simplifying the process might entice them to return while eliminating a step or two for hiring managers. If you only wanted local candidates, wouldn’t it be easier to have those applications automatically filtered out? And as a job seeker, wouldn’t you rather spend your time crafting tailored cover letters, or responses to additional questions, than filling in your name, address, phone number, email address, education and work history for the Nth time?
Perhaps a way to spur job growth in this country is to focus on improving the job application process. And perhaps a common job application is one place to start.