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

Friday, June 13, 2008

Finding the job is hard, telling you how I did it is harder

I know why employers ask for it. But why do they make it so painful?

Tell us how you heard about this job

Sometimes it's not really a describable path. Sometimes I don't actually remember (often I use a search aggregator like which takes me to all sorts of different job sites. I don't care what the site is which found the job, and since I usually won't apply to it using that site it doesn't matter what the site is.)

Here is Chase's/Taleo's way of asking the question...

On the surface that doesn't look very painful. Once I select job board...

Gaah! It's a gigantic list (which has also not been recently alphabetized.)

Look, this is not something I need to get right to get a job, so I'll answer it anyway I want--choosing a random entry in the list so that I can move on. If you really want an accurate answer, please don't give me a gigantic list to wade through. I just don't care enough. And clearly, you are unable to list all the different ways I could have arrived at the site because you've been manually adding more choices.

IBM's HR site, in contrast, gives me a text box for the same question. I'll bother taking a few seconds to answer a text box. I might even give you specific workflow detail which might be useful to someone. Yes, that might require a human parsing the data, but it's a lot more accurate than when I told Chase I used to get a job because I was frustrated looking for on its list.

But Chase/Taleo aren't the worst offenders in this regard. Delta airlines has them beat.

I'll give you what happens textually if you choose any of those selections:

"Community Organizations" has one choice: "Colleges"

"Direct Mail" has one choice: "Direct Mail/Postcards"

"Employee Referral Program" gives you a field for the employee's name

"Flyer" has one choice: "Flyers"

"Job Fair" has one choice: "Job Fair/Career Fair"

"Other" has one choice: "Jobline"

"Personal Referral" has one choice: "Payroll Stuffer"

"Signs/Banners" has two choices "Banner" or "Point of Purchase Display"

Now this really isn't a problem for me personally, because I can choose anything and it's no sweat off my back. However, the entire thing just plain sucks and might explain a lot of the problems with the airline industry.

a.) Almost everything there has one selection. So why have sub-categories. Instead, just give me the sub-category for such a small list.

b.) Almost every conduit for getting to the Delta's career site isn't listed...including the way I got there which was "I like airplanes and Delta came to mind because they have airplanes so I went to their site."

c.) The conduits listed don't make any damn sense. I guess in a vague way Colleges are Community Organizations, but that's not my first association. Personal Referral leading to Payroll Stuffer sounds like an internal thing so it should be listed as an internal thing (and worse "Personal Referral" sounds like someone who works for the company recommended me which is actually covered by "Employee Referral Program." Signs/Banners is just lame, particularly given the fact that one of the selections is "Point of Purchase Display" which, in terms of airlines, is bizarre, given that the Point of Purchase for the things that Delta sells are a myriad of travel websites.

UPDATE: Just as I was looking for another screenshot, I see that when I choose a different job I might get a different list...

Oh, well that looks a bit more promising. I wonder what choices are found under Broadcast Media?

Oh bother. And yes, the list just ends there. I actually suspect the full list is every TV and radio station in the US, or damn close to it.

Delta's site sucks in other ways as well. Sometimes I like to be able to add particular jobs to tabs in my browser and look at them later.

Well obviously that's not going to work because they insist on doing things their way.

Speaking of airlines...I had to laugh when I was applying for a position with United...

Have to be careful with the power to make questions mandatory to answer. Sometimes, it just doesn't make sense.


sylvester said...
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Anonymous said...

I just encountered this "how did you find us" madness on a Taleo site today. They don't seem to have done anything to address it. They have a multitude of very specific choices (and choices within choices), but no "other."

Of course it's their parser that still sucks the most. It wasn't even able to figure out my name!

Normally when I see "powered by Taleo" I just exit and find some other job to apply to. I'm dealing with it today only because it's a special case (my friend works at the place I'm applying to) but even then I'm tempted to skip it. "Powered by Taleo" makes the company's HR department look bad.

Faraz Ali said...
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Faraz Ali said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.