Survey: 'Best Companies To Work For' Treat Job Hunters Shabbily

best companies treat job seekers poorly

With millions of people unemployed, it's no surprise that job seekers find the process of job hunting an excruciating ordeal. Filling out online applications sometimes feels like an exercise in futility, as thousands apply for too few jobs.

But a survey suggests that the online hiring process that employers use is only compounding the problem, and there is an epidemic of rudeness among even the "best" employers.

Staffing industry consulting firm CareerXRoads conducted an experiment, creating a resume for a fictional job seeker named Charles Brown, and submitted to open positions at every company on Fortune's 2012 list of the Best Companies To Work For, including Google, Zappos, Whole Foods, and Goldman Sachs.
The results of the survey -- which has been conducted annually for the last 10 years -- showed that even companies revered for their customer service treat job candidates poorly.

"Leading companies believe they excel in recruiting candidates quickly, efficiently and respectfully via their websites," CareerXroads' co-founders Gerry Crispin and Mark Mehler wrote. The "reality is far different."

While the process has improved in some ways since CareerXroads began conducting the survey, the company still found too many cases in which resumes entered a "black hole" and employers showed stunningly poor manners.

Among the findings:
  • Websites are hard to navigate. "Only about one-third of the time did Brown find passage between the home and careers pages 'instinctive' and 'a pleasure,' " the report said.
  • It takes too long to fill out online applications. In 28 percent of the cases, it wasn't possible to upload the resume; "Brown" had to type it in or answer questions, cutting and pasting. The report found that in 8 percent of the cases, it took an hour to complete an online application.
  • Some employers didn't acknowledge applications or offered only "cursory or canned responses."
  • The vast majority failed to let 'Brown' know he was rejected. Only 28 percent of companies bothered to notify "Brown" that he didn't get the job or was unqualified. That "indicates that most companies still lack a basic understanding of how they should be managing candidates," the report said. "His resume entered a black hole."

There were a few companies that got nods of approval. Zappos and financial services firm USAA, both routinely revered for their customer service, allowed Brown to at least check on the status of his application. But REI, the outdoor clothing and gear retailer, was the only one that bothered to actually pick up the phone to say that it had received Brown's resume. "We want the candidate experience to be representative of how we treat our customers, and we put a huge emphasis on customers," REI recruiting supervisor Lisa Arbacauskas told

Does this survey ring true to you? How do you think employers should handle the application process?

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This article s-o-o-o rings true. It does take forever to complete most applications on line unless it's a government type job where you have already registered on the web site and have your info filled in already when applying for a position. Also, the thing I hate the most is THE HUMAN ELEMENT IS SO REMOVED! Whatever happened to an employer taking a quick look at the resume and calling you to come in for an interview? Looks to me like a lot of time could be saved that way. Besides, until all jobs are automated there is going to be a live perison doing that job! Wouldn't hurt to actually talk to that person and see them face to face before they are dismissed...we've gotten too technological is some ways and it's hurting all of us whether we know it or not or whether we agree with it or not. I've got newsfor you--there are a lot of areas where people just cannot be replaced!

August 21 2013 at 10:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Here is a clue: When I was looking for work I kept track of the employers who didn't bother responding to my application or resume. Now I don't patronize any of them for their services (even a few of which I frequented before that)...I encourage everyone else to do the same. That was a few years back, and some of them seem to be hurting for business today, but I merely sniff as I pass them all by, and watch as they advertise over and over for their long lost customers. When they go out of business I will not mourn them.

September 05 2012 at 2:40 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Black Hole is a kind adjective to use, even if you can get to the interview stage, most companies still don't let you know if you are in the running as they just let time run on so that no news means no J-O-B...also the flip side is that 99.9% of companies practice AGE DISCRIMINATION...oh yes they do, and what does Obama offer some weak a** law to help protect those who may be victims of age discrimination...whatever, I figure when we lose our house, we'll pack a tent and camp on the White House lawn and eat from Michelle Obama's White House garden.

September 05 2012 at 1:11 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The "Great Place to Work" survey is a sham. Read up on how the list is compiled and who makes money off it, and you can see that it is far from an objective rating process.

September 04 2012 at 11:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
ray allen

I'm currently looking for something better than my temp job, and my frustration is with recruiting software like Taleo that takes f-o-r-e-v-e-r to complete.

I contacted Taleo technical support about a year ago and suggested that they offer a program written in Java that would let job seekers create a file with the answers to common questions that can be uploaded when completing an application so that job seekers would only have to answer employer-specific questions.

The email that I received from technical support stated "that is an excellent idea!", but I have yet to see the suggestion used in the real world.

It must be because someone without an IT degree suggested it, especially with Oracle buying Taleo.

September 04 2012 at 11:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

miss the job market never did quite fit in

September 04 2012 at 8:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Oh, boo hoo.

September 04 2012 at 8:18 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply

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