How to I fix an online job application mistake?
August 17, 2009 4:45 PM   Subscribe

How to I fix an online job application mistake?

I applied for a job at a specific company via an online application process at that company's website. After I had entered all the necessary information and was nearing the end of the process, it asked if I wanted to do something which I thought I had already done in an earlier step. There was no "edit" or "return" button offered, only "continue" or "skip". I made what must be a common online-job-applying rookie mistake and used the browser's back button to go back and confirm what I had previously done. Then when I tried to return to the point where I had stopped, the system told me that my application had already been submitted. However, I don't think the submission process was truly finished; I had gotten to a point where I believe it was asking for some I-9 related info and I did not complete that page. The may have been additional steps beyond that which of course I did not see or complete.

At this point I'm unsure what will be done with the application in the state their system considers it to be in. What should I do?
a) Let it be and wait to see if they contact me for any missing information pertaining to my application?
b) Set up a new user ID and submit the application again, only this time being careful to finish the entire process correctly?
c) Contact the hiring manager (who is on LinkedIn and mentions the job opportunity on this profile), explain to him what happened, and ask him what to do?

Opinions on the pros and cons of these options, or any other ideas would be very much appreciated.

Note, this is for an IT position and highlighting my momentary inability to navigate one of their systems may or may not be helpful the cause. Also, I haven't been able to find an advertised end date for the job posting but it has already been online on at least one popular job board for almost a week.
posted by anonymous to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I would do B... and then contact the hiring manager to let them know that you have submitted a second application because there may have been a problem with the first. However, I would not contact them though LinkIn. Rather, I would contact them directly at the company (via e-mail if possible). Just be direct and to the point, and let them know how to contact you if there are any problems.
posted by kimdog at 4:52 PM on August 17, 2009

Depends on how bad you want the job. I would contact the manager on LinkedIn and ask for assistance but knowing that he may be a busy person. I think his response to you would give you an idea of whether you may actually want to work for him or not.

You can always submit another application, they'll see both and probably figure out that the first one is incomplete. And by "they" I mean the HR people, not the manager. Good luck!
posted by eatcake at 4:56 PM on August 17, 2009

I would do C waiting 24 hours for a response and if no response, proceed to B.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 4:59 PM on August 17, 2009

Go to the company's website and find the contact information for human resources. Let them know that you had trouble with the application (they may need to document the issue), and ask them to verify that your application is complete. Easy peasy.
posted by donajo at 5:02 PM on August 17, 2009 [3 favorites]

I've made similar mistakes with online applications. They all seem to be uniformly poorly built.

Anyway...Go back and create a new account for yourself and start over. That's, realistically, probably your only option. In my experience, companies that use online applications hide their HR department contact information, making direct contact impossible. Additionally, the online applications are usually outsourced to another service/website and are not directly connected with the company you are applying to or their website. It's doubtful anyone there would be able to do anything directly.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:24 PM on August 17, 2009

I would do B and contact the hiring manager as described by kimdog. You don't need to go into the exact details of the problem, as I know you don't want to look bad, so you could say something to the effect of:

"When I was completing the online application, I got locked out of the system, and when I tried to resume, I was told that my application had already been submitted. I would be happy to supply a bug report with the full details to your technical team or vendor if that would be useful to you."

You're not lying here: you did get "locked out" of the system, and perhaps you get points for offering to do the right thing and provide a bug report. At a minimum, the hiring manager is probably going to into the system and pull out your 2nd (completed) application, so at least you know someone will actually look at your resume. If anything, this could even be a positive for your application.
posted by zachlipton at 5:31 PM on August 17, 2009

You didn't ask, but I would apply for the position directly to the hiring manager and ignore HR's online system, which is designed to make candidate elimination as easy as possible for HR. Ideally you should get introduced to the hiring manager through a mutual contact, but if that's not possible you're still better off sending your application to them directly.
posted by Dragonness at 7:32 PM on August 17, 2009

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