It was hard for me to gauge the impact of COVID-19 on the job market in Toronto while I was still technically a student. Colleges announced closures mid-March 2020 when my second semester was about to end, and I then attended a four-month virtual internship from May to August. During the internship, I posted a minimum-wage, two-month position for my employer on Indeed and we received over 200 applications in two days (!). This made me wonder how many applications a well-paid, full-time position probably receives. My job search fear kicked in.
I finished the internship and then started sending out as many applications for full-time employment as possible, while also thinking of ways employers could make one of the most dreaded processes easier for new grads, as well as themselves. Every time I drafted an application, I daydreamed about the possible systemic changes. Here are a few things job boards like LinkedIn or Indeed should consider when employers post jobs on their websites:
1. Salary transparency
Name one job seeker who wouldn’t want to know the salary of a position beforehand. Out of the tons of postings, one can easily filter out unwanted jobs based on salary. We might’ve always expected employers to hide those numbers, but job boards can change the game by simply adding a required field in the job posting, asking for a range. This will make it easier for experienced candidates to narrow their search down and for newbies to have realistic goals while applying.
2. Job/application requirements
Job boards should also make the most important details about the position – such as seniority level and cover letter expectations – mandatory. And to make it easier for job hunters to decide if they want to apply, these important details should be listed as bullets in the posting.
Let’s take a look at LinkedIn’s lack of seniority level requirements. On every job posting, you might’ve noticed the seniority level, chosen by the employer. A lot of these jobs will say “Entry Level,” but the qualifications will still ask for years of experience. LinkedIn could prevent employers from doing this by adding an imperative drop-down list For example, if a company chooses “Entry Level” for a position, the job posting tool should only allow you to choose 0-X years of experience from the list instead of 2-4.
Also, why not make it mandatory for employers to disclose whether they’re expecting cover letter? I’m sure I’m not the only one who has questioned whether to include one with an application because I wasn’t sure if it was required. Other details that can be mandatory are start date, hours of work, location, length of probationary period, benefits and whether or not a portfolio is required.
3. Expired postings
It’s a waste of time to work on your resume or cover letter for a posting that has expired but still shows up in your search, so job boards should delete postings once the application deadline has passed. Many job postings on LinkedIn appear even a month after they were first posted. At times, the number of applicants shown is too small or large to be realistic.
4. Number of applicants
If you came across a job posting five days after it was posted and the deadline was just two days away, it would be helpful to know how many applicants have applied for the job already. Most job boards like Indeed or Glassdoor do not disclose the total number of applicants. LinkedIn does, but once the count exceeds 200 applicants, the website only states that 200+ applicants have been received. Also, if the “Apply Now” link takes you to the company’s careers site, how can job boards tell if you’ve applied? Knowing the total number of applicants can help us focus on the important jobs first and come up with ways to stand out among others.
5. Feedback from employers
It would be a dream come true if job boards found a way to make employers share feedback on why our application was rejected, especially for shortlisted candidates. Having that as another condition for posting a job is easier said than done, but not impossible.
Job boards are powerful, and convincing few job boards is much easier than convincing hundreds of thousands of employers. All of us are part of the system – we can’t always blame the ones who hire. We have to alter the systems around us, not adjust ourselves around the systems we’ve made.
Rishit Shah is the communications coordinator at Ontario Nonprofit Network.