Job Hunting Tips

Is It Better to Apply Online or in Person?

Lisa JohnsonPosted by Lisa
min read

I am one of those oldies who use Facebook to stay in touch with my relatives, whilst moaning about how often they send me those ridiculous chain messages.  What is it with people in their 60’s who think its cool to send ‘pass it forward’ messages?  Arggghhh!

Anyway, this isn’t a moan about my relatives (or their or my age for that matter), this is about a comment I saw in a Facebook group post about looking for work. The original poster was looking for a job and people were commenting that he should head out to a local industrial area and hand his resume into the businesses there. Then someone said that this was futile because businesses don’t want you to hand in your resume, they want you to apply online.

Then there was a comment that raised my eyebrows.  It went something like this:

“I refuse to apply online because they always want your full address and email address and I don’t think they need this stuff and I worry about who will have access to it..”

Why do employers/recruiters need your full address?

There are two reasons:

  1. Most payroll systems require your full address before payment can be made.  It’s used as part of your unique identifiers.  And now that companies are required to report to the Australian Tax Office (ATO) every time they run a payroll, the ATO also uses your address to correctly identify you in the data that employers provide with their payroll records.  So, it’s simply a requirement to ensure you get paid.
     
  2. Believe it or not, people apply for hundreds of jobs online over the course of their career and most recruiter and employer applicant tracking systems work like this:  person applies for job > application record is created in the computer system > candidate record is created in computer system. 

    Now, if you don’t have a way to merge duplicate candidate records, what will happen is that we might end up with 100 candidate records for one person in our system.  So a lot of systems have rules that merge the candidate records based on unique identifiers – like email address, mobile number and address.  If you refuse to provide an address and/or email address, you are messing up our systems AND you end up with incomplete records which stop us identifying you as being suitable for a role. 

Who has access to my information?

Privacy is a BIG issue and we are very careful to ensure that your personal information, including your resume, is never shared with anyone unless we have your express permission. All our recruitment consulting staff work under strict guidelines and our systems have two-factor authentication to ensure that even if, let’s say, someone left a laptop lying around in an airport, nobody who found that computer would ever have access to our systems and records.

But remember, you always have the right to request an agency delete your resume and any information they hold about you.  Although, there are some details that we are required to keep by law for 7 years (like payroll data) for the ATO.

So is it best to apply online or in person?

It depends.  The bigger the organisation, the more likely they are to want you to apply online.  This is because they will have an established recruitment process and a direct application can be a disruption that is difficult to accommodate.  However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t CALL them to talk about your application; I always encourage job seekers to do that!

Smaller organisations are less likely to have a Human Resources department or an online applicant tracking system to manage their online applications.  Therefore, a direct approach is a brilliant way to get in direct contact with the people who make the hiring decisions.  And you can get really lucky – my teenage daughter did this a couple of years ago with a retail computer company, she dropped in her resume and the timing was just right, as they had someone resign earlier that day and she was employed a week later.

Good luck in your job search, but please – don’t be afraid about applying for a job online!