Career Center

Dr. Dickey on Online Hiring Systems

Dr. Dickey is Florida College’s resident professor of behavioral sciences. He has doctorates in industrial/organizational psychology, and teaches economic, psychology and sociology courses. Because of his outstanding expertise in these areas, we have asked him for advice on applying online and dealing with some of the online hiring systems.

Here are his suggestions:

1. Understand the odds. Lots of people are applying so you have to respond to lots of job offerings. And search diligently for the jobs that you are qualified for. Too many people just fill out application forms randomly, that’s why the automated systems are used, to filter out all of these obviously unqualified applicants. You want to do your hard work up front searching for the right jobs to apply for.

2. Try to apply as early as possible to any job search offer. This again means doing your work ahead of time and finding the right jobs to apply to as soon as they are offered.

3. Don’t lie but fit as many of the keywords in the job description into your resume as are applicable. Use the exact wording as much as possible. Make a new resume for each job to highlight your suitability for that job.

4. Fill in the application form completely. The computer is just looking for reasons to kick yours out and missing information is a primary tool for doing so.

5. If you attach your resume make certain it will look presentable on a computer screen.

6. Even if you attach your resume make certain the basic facts are also included in the boxes on the application. There is no certainty that anyone will ever read the resume before you are rejected.

7. Try to get yourself noticed outside the application process. Try to connect to someone on LinkedIn or send a follow-up letter. Many jobs are offered on the basis of knowing someone in the company.

8. The real problem with the automated systems is that they are limited and rigid and don’t allow for explanations. You should think carefully about your answers and be truthful but also try to choose the answer that best reflects what the question was designed to find out. And if possible later in the process make a note of the explanations and provide any additional relevant information.