How Taleo, and other job application/listing sites, suck. A place of retreat for the job hunter. Got a tip? Send it to

Monday, March 31, 2008

ahh...I forgot about how much it sucks

So, one of the things that makes good sense to me is to open a second browser window or tab when applying for a job. See, that way I can have the job description/requirements open in one tab to refer to, while I'm actually applying for the job in the other tab.

Taleo, of course, doesn't allow you to do that. Why? I dunno, I never run into any other site that doesn't allow this. *Throws his hands in the air having given up on this system a long time ago.*

Back to another Taleo oddity: non-dynamic hierarchical menus

Some websites use a system with a hierarchical series of pull down menus. Choose a menu selection in a top pull down, and then it dynamically changes the selection choices in the second menu. has a good implementation of this.

So when I choose Ford...

Oh, would you look at that...possible years of Ford vehicles appear. Obviously once I select a year...

A new pull down menu with the actual models for that year appears. It's lovely and intuitive and works well in comparison to Taleo's weird system...

Which for some reason requires that you press a separate button confirming the selection you've made before it propagates the next pull down menu. Honestly, I think Taleo is the only system with this weird setup, why it can't learn from what other sites are doing I don't know.

Finally, I had to be amused by this moment of mediocrity.

It would seem logical that fields in yellow are required. That does seem to be the case, but there are also fields *not in yellow* which are required as well. What's the difference between yellow and non-yellow fields required fields? I can't say. I think it's just a bug. (I think highlighting the yellow is fine, it works fabulously, but jeez guys, make all the required fields yellow.)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The uninvited attachment

When you apply for a position via Taleo, they send you a pretty standard soulless form letter telling you that it was received and not to call anyone about your future.

Lovely...hey, what's that extra icon?

Well apparently it's an attachment, and if you click on the attachment, it's basically just an html file that has the exact same text in it.

I'm not sure why that's necessary, or why it's only Taleo that insists on sending me this crap file I don't need--particularly since there's nothing particularly ornamental or complex in design about this email, which is perfectly fine as plain text.

It does lead to this however:

Now I'll be the first to admit, I have Eudora set to keep attachments even if I delete the email. And right now it'll take me just seconds to blow out the detritus of those 47 other failed attempts at applying to one company or another.

But why does this have to be this way? I don't get crap attachments from any other company that sends me email.

For the most part.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

More password suckyness and another deficient system

I had to establish a new password on Taleo's site for Chase.

The password requirements are:

Now to be fair, Chase has decided on the password strength--other Taleo sites do not have this requirement.

These requirements are maddening, particularly because I try to use the same username/password for all Taleo sites (what's in my profile is basically my resume and contact information. Information which I'm not all that worried about protecting, especially considering the fact that there's more about me in public records than what Taleo stores in its site about me.)

Even more maddening, considering the inconsequence of the information stored, these requirements are more than what Chase requires for password strength for online banking (which actually might deserve password requirements like these.)

And a nitpick--all of my "hard" passwords are more than 12 characters long. If you want high password strength, why restrict the length of the password?

I also can't tell if the language "must contain 4 lowercase letters" implies that a password like "abc12XYQ5&" would be rejected because it only had 3 lowercase letters. That would be lame. And if it's not lame, that instruction box is lame.

I'd try to find out by changing my password, but by now I've already forgotten it.

I applied for a job with NiSource which uses, apparently, a Peoplesoft system for taking in job applications.

This could be a good system, if it didn't do a few things that I thought really sucked.

Starting with this confusing screen:

There's something about the design of this page that makes things a bit obtuse. The copy explaining what to do is terrible ("To add a secondary school click the Add Secondary Education History hyperlink below secondary school education.")

The workflow is odd (I think education is a better choice to add before work experience, not after...note, this system doesn't do importing from the resume so it's a lot of repetitive work) and the letter codes in front of the selections with "Highest Education Level" make me think I should be matching them up with something.

Also frustrating, I don't know why they insist on using the terms "secondary" and "post-secondary" to refer to what's normally just High School and College. The reason I find their terminology confusing is that, often, these types of websites don't bother asking where you went to high school. And while I understand that "secondary education" has historically referred to high school, I find that usage bizarre and archaic given the fact that the entire K-12 experience is, today, considered holistically one thing, and then college something afterwards.

So I assumed, incorrectly, that "post-secondary" referred to graduate school. Once I had that straightened out, I found myself chuckling at the following:

Why does this need to be a drop down list? How does that help anyone? Why can't you just have it as a field? Oh, it might make sense as a drop down list, if that list then filtered the schools in that country for the next drop down (a terrible design for higher education given that there are so many...just give me a damn field to enter this information into!) But no, it's not a filtering mechanism, this is just a drop down field with every country in the world listed.

Like Vanuatu. The inclusion of Vanuatu is not done in vain; there is a university in Vanuatu.

However, as far as I can tell, Western Sahara doesn't have a college or university, and neither does Tuvalu. Wikipedia says that Wallis and Futuna has an unaccredited university as of 2005, which by all means puts them ahead of Tuvalu.

You're allowed to click through all the screens to the end without entering in any information. I thought I was going to get off easily until...

Damn. I kind of appreciate it allowing me to click through mandatory information but then again I think I would have appreciated more knowing what was mandatory and what wasn't at the beginning.

Amusingly, once I did enter in the information it wanted, this error screen still came up, though it allowed the information to be submitted. Strange.