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Young people hate your online applications

June 10, 2019 By: Sarah Lesniewski

Now that our spring hiring events have finished, and preparations for autumn are underway, we are reflecting on the many conversations we’ve had with the young people who attended Opportunity For All Youth hiring events since we launched last year.

We asked them about their job searches, about what the challenges were, and about what obstacles were standing in their way.

One issue that came up time and time again was their frustration with online hiring processes. In every city we visited, the youth were unanimous in their verdict: they hate the online applications. The reasons were multiple: online applications were difficult, they were tedious, they were too technical, they didn’t allow an applicant’s personality to shine through, and they never received any response.

“You can feel silly when you are applying online…you sometimes think why even bother,” said a candidate in Calgary. A young job seeker in Hamilton recommended that companies not just use online systems but also accept paper applications in stores. “In person contact makes you more memorable,” suggested another from Calgary.

“People are not sure about where their resume is going after they submit it and what’s happening to it,” said another job seeker. With online applications “sometimes it’s unclear how long the process takes.”

Undefined timelines and a lack of communication were other bugbears for youth: “I’ve gone to interviews where I think things have gone well, but I would never hear anything back.”

It was clear from our discussions with young job seekers that communication of “what will happen when” is extremely important to them, and if employers insist on making them apply online, the young people urged: “make it super easy.”

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