April 19, 2012

Difficult HRIS

I've been in the job market for over a year now, which has been a "fun" experience.  I'm guesstimating it takes a good 40-50 applications before I get an interview and at the interview I'm frequently told I'm either overqualified for an entry level position or that they want certifications that are overkill for an entry level position.

I can't win for losing.

I am attempting to jump career fields and I do hold the appropriate level of certification for a) my level of education & experience  and b) the work I'm applying for.  I've blogged about this already.  I did make a decent wage at my old job, so I get that on paper I might seem like I'm aiming low.  Just because I made a lot more money in my last position, it doesn't mean I don't want your job that pays less.  Many people seem to think that money is the end-all of the work equation.  Some work just isn't worth the paycheck, which is another reason why I'm on the market.

In my job search I've noticed that most companies have gone through great pains to insulate themselves from the very people they'd like to hire.  Some utilize a temp agency to do the recruiting for them while most have bought into some type of Human Resources Information System (HRIS) to do some of the heavy lifting when it comes to recruiting.

These systems vary widely in ease of use from an applicant standpoint and are quickly becoming a barrier for employment.  Some of the things I've seen in these last eighteen months just makes me wonder if companies actually want to hire people.  It is obvious to me that the average HR department hasn't done extensive testing of their submission module of HRIS.  What I mean by "extensive testing" is, at a minimum, some HR folks have gone through and tried to apply as if they were an external candidate.  Internal candidates usually have a different process.

Here is a non-exhaustive list of some of the oddities I've seen, with some HRIS having multiple issues:

  • Lets you upload a small number of files (like resumes, certifications, references, etc) but doesn't let you remove or update the files at any time.  This isn't much of an issue if you only apply once at a given company, but if you need to apply later it is a major issue.  Most systems do not want users creating multiple accounts, which is really the only way to overcome this issue.
  • Doesn't have any way to save an application in progress. This one is quite common.  If you have a very long application to fill out and the system "dumps" your information you end up having to start over from scratch.  This has happened to me many times.
  • Doesn't allow you to import any resume information.  Quite a few systems allow you to upload your information, but then you have to manually type in what is essentially your entire resume.
  • Doesn't communicate to you that the application has been received by HR.  It is bad enough that more and more companies will not communicate to you that you aren't being interviewed, but when they don't even acknowledge you've applied it makes you wonder why you wasted your time.  HR is all about communication and if a company fails at that then they potentially lose not only qualified applicants for future positions but also possible customers.
  • Has unspecified requirements for file attachments.  One place had a requirement that all attachments have a file name less than 12 characters, including extension, so essentially you had to have an 8 character file name.  You cannot put your initials and the word "resume" together for a file name.  This wasn't listed online and I only learned the flaw when submitting a help desk ticket to the HRIS manufacterer.  How many applicants would have gone that far?
It might be important to note that I have an AAS in Information Systems Management and I tend to look at these problems from a different viewpoint than some.  Almost all of these problems are easily avoided issues if the HR folks were involved in the design, testing, and implementation of a new HRIS.  Sometimes the HRIS module is just part of the company database and you simply get what your given.  At other times it is an independent system purchased separately. Either way it should be a tool designed to help bring in qualified applicants, not a screen to dissuade people from applying.    


mariekay said...

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