Limiting the applicant pool.

If you are looking to fill open positions, it’s usually a good idea to make it easy for people to apply. Home Depot in Canada requires all applicants to apply online. Unfortunately when my son did so, he found out just how difficult it was; he got this screen, which I was able to duplicate:

Now that isn’t exactly the kind of welcome you want to give to prospective applicants. And to be fair, it appeared that Home Depot was actually using brassring.com for its online job site. But I felt that they might want to know about the problem so I reported it to their helpdesk.

They responded fairly quickly, providing this matrix of supported operating systems and browsers:

Operating System IE 6.0 IE 7.0# FireFox 1.5 Firefox 2.0 Safari 2.0
Windows NT Yes Yes Yes Yes N/A
Windows 2000 Yes Yes Yes Yes N/A
Windows XP Yes Yes Yes Yes N/A
Windows Vista N/A Yes No Yes N/A
Mac OSX 10.4.4 No No Yes Yes Yes

Now browser support is always an issue, but you’ll probably note that several of these options (especially on the Mac) are probably no longer in use. And the helpdesk was very understanding and apologetic, explaining that the site was in the process of being updated.

It is important though for companies such as Home Depot that for many people this may be their first encounter with the company, and it would be a poor one. It would likely leave a lasting impression about how the company treats people, even though that clearly isn’t their intention.

This kind of situation is one in which hiring companies should forego glitz and glamour on the site in favor of a much more simplified site that is guaranteed to work in every browser, for every user.

If the hook the applicant initially they’ll have plenty of time to dazzle them later. But losing them at the first screen is analogous to a customer abandoning an online shopping cart.

Given a little effort, that doesn’t have to be the case.

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One thought on “Limiting the applicant pool.

  1. I recall RIM’s application site was just as bad, though I hope it’s changed by now.
    I got into a bizzare form submission loop that I thought HAD to be
    a deliberate technical challenge (“he passed the browser test — he’s a smart one!”).
    In the end RIM’s HR told me to come there and use their computer, since applications had to be online.

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