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Job Applications Need to Die. Instead, Audition.

June 15, 2018

 

People dread filling out job applications.  It's not just the impending rejection that gets to people.  It's the writing, verifying/filling-out dates, looking for previous job descriptions, trying to remember every detail of every job you've had in, at least, the last ten years that gets to them.  And like most of us, they already have a carefully-crafted resume that's updated, regularly.

 

In truth, the recruiter doesn't have time to comb through the history of each individual who applies.  That history often does not even matter.  How much do you remember from grade school? High school?  College?  I'm betting not much.  Unless you're a specialist in a field that doesn't change much, what you learned in academic settings are irrelevant.  

 

Every job I've ever had, I learned how to perform it based on absolutely nothing I knew, beforehand.  A lot of software is either proprietary or so modified that it's like I'm not even using the same off-the-shelf application.  So, the majority of programs I've worked with could be a moot point.  And sometimes, the recruiter doesn't know that some application or processes are similar and can easily be learned with a few weeks of on-site training.  Ready-made employees don't exist.  So why fill out a long, drawn-out application that's not going to be read or investigated anyway?

 

A few months ago, a friend was talking about a person going for a job where they'd be cooking in a kitchen.  The next thing I heard amazed me, and gave me pause: "Yeah, they told him that he's going to have an audition."

 

Audition?  Like they do for actors?

 

"Yes, he'll be in the kitchen cooking with them for a day to see if they vibe."

 

Holy crap.

 

This is genius.

 

Why aren't we doing this with all jobs?

 

Writers are often asked to submit samples, or cover a short story.  Dancers are asked to show up with their own music, and a routine, and then to mimic some choreography.  Singers are asked to show up with sheet music or a backing track, and belt out the best they can.  Even programmers are asked to submit their coded responses for a technological problem.

 

Why aren't we taking this a step further?  Why not an all-day audition to see how the person gets along with their future coworkers and job? Submit a resume, interview the person, then setup an audition date. 

 

Skip the application process and the need to weed.  Human resource professionals agree that it's a waste of time and energy to fill out those online forms.  Dedicate that time to reshaping your recruiting strategy.

 

Here are a few benefits I can see from the audition process:

 

How candidates interact with coworkers

The interview process doesn't do justice to real-time reviewing of a person's response to another human being.  First day jitters aside, you may want to see how that person corresponds to issues and reach out for help.

 

How candidates view the job

People learn in different ways.  This can give you a good insight into how the person may go about learning the tasks related to their daily duties.  It's a good time to also tweak your on-boarding process to cover some of the more ambiguous items you may encounter.

 

Holes in staffing

Many people follow a standard template when staffing for a business.  They use boilerplate methods prescribed from other similar companies, and then try to stand out as different or unique.  This doesn't work.  Take the time to view how a new person perceives your organization.  If they're asking around to find out who they would go to for what, and you don't have a designated person or resource for it, use this as an opportunity to craft a solution.  Don't just say, "Oh. Bob over there probably knows how to do it." Actually create a position or resource for it, and let Bob do his work.

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