It’s late, you’re sitting at your laptop having completed yet another online application, when you discover iPullRank has the exact opportunity you were looking for. After reading the job description you know that you want to apply for the role; before you apply, you peruse our website to ensure that the candidate just doesn’t care company aligns with your philosophies and it does. You decide to proceed, begin to fill out the online application. As you see the questions, you roll your eyes as this is yet another set of questions you need to answer. Whether you’re tired, ready to be done applying for jobs for the day or think it is a waste, you feel you are at a serious crossroads: Should you complete the questions? Write see resume to every question, write will discuss in interview or just leave them blank? What do you do? Whatever your decision, remember what Will Rogers said, “You will never get a second chance to make a first impression”.
Seeking employment is hard enough in itself and oftentimes feels like a full-time job; however, one lapse in judgement could mean a potential interview vs. continuing your search. I understand the arguments that you may contemplate i.e. why or why you wouldn’t choose to answer the questions. Everyone should answer that question for themselves; however, I have heard the following reasons for not doing so:
- I’ve spent too much time on this application in the first place
- “HR or the recruiters don’t even read the answers”
- “No one will ever see my application; it’s going into a black hole”
- “Their system is only looking for keywords on my resume and not the questions”
Reality is that yes, all the above statements could be and in some cases are true. The challenge is that you are presented with is resisting the urge to take the easy way out. You need to take your time put some thought in to what you write and how you present yourself.
Why Online First Impressions Matter
As an employer, most positions will garner hundreds of resumes. And depending on how many open positions a company has, that number could be more than 1,000 resumes. In an effort to maximize a recruiter’s time, the more information you can provide through answers the better. Most recruiters are operating with a limited amount of time in which they need to screen resumes, schedule interviews, hire etc.; therefore, it is better to show your personality when responding as it will aid in getting selected. A recruiter wants to see that you put some thought into your answers and that you care about how you represent yourself. Plus, when we see applications that are not completed it often leads us to think one of the following:
- The candidate doesn’t respect the hiring process enough to complete application.
- The candidate is not detail oriented.
- The candidate thinks they are too good to answer our questions.
- The candidate just doesn’t care.
Would you want these thoughts to be the first impression your potential employer has about you? Regardless of how your respond to this question, ensure that you are not put in the situation by simply answering the questions. Make your first impression the best you possibly can. Whether you are selected is up to the recruiter, but don’t make it easy for them by simply not caring about how you present yourself.
Time to Rise or Fall, You Choose
Choices are made daily, some good and some bad. Hopefully the good outweighs the bad. I bring this up to emphasize that a choice you make can influence the outcome of a situation, in this case whether you are chosen to continue in our hiring process. I have selected a few questions from some of our various position applications to demonstrate whether you rise or fall in our hiring process.
Candidates Who Rise
Candidates who rise will catch our attention by:
- Completing the entire application.
- Demonstrating that you thought about your answers by responding thoroughly
- Showing your personality whether it be through your cover letter or how you answer your questions
Candidate Example 1
Based on the response, the candidate clearly demonstrates they are engaged with question by how they answered it. In addition, it is informative and answers the questions clearly.
Candidate Example 2
In this example, the candidate clearly shows that they have a clear direction in the type of company they are looking for as well as the environment they would be comfortable within. I also liked that this candidate let us know they take pride in their work, which is in line with our core company values.
Candidates Who Fall
Candidates who fall will have one or more of following issues:
- Have excessive spelling, punctuation or grammatical errors
- Incomplete information i.e. not answering the questions on the application for
Candidate Example 1
Seeing a response like this elicits a few sentiments. First, is that the candidate simply didn’t care enough to take the time to read or correctly respond to the question. Time is a valuable commodity and clearly they don’t respect our time by providing an answer like this.
Candidate Example 2
This response simply wreaks of arrogance to no end. I interpret this response as the candidate feeling that they are just so good that they perform at a high level all the time. Don’t get me wrong, having confidence is a good thing, especially when its coupled with humbleness. This response does not say that. In addition, I have a hard time believing that this candidate cannot identify one project that’s stands out among the rest. And if they truly felt this way, provide a couple of examples of the projects and what made them special to you. Again, this indicates they may feel that they are above filling out our application questions.
Ultimately, we want to have a team of the best and brightest talent around. Individuals who are striving to elevate themselves and teammates by doing whatever it takes to achieve success. So, if you are wondering whether answering the questions on an application matters; well, yes it matters! We want our first impression of you to be a positive experience, one that makes us want to reach out and speak with you further. Before you decide to bypass questions on your next application; please remember that your first impression online counts!
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