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