You’ve gotta be kidding me!!!

200px Taleo Symbol

I’ve written before about a job application processing system called Taleo.

I’ve not commented too much on the system itself because at the time I thought it was something specific to Cybercoders. Even after I realized that many other companies were using this abortion, I didn’t comment because well, who has time?

Simply put… Taleo is awful!

I don’t know what syphilitic, drunken, rabid, howler monkey, put that system together but they should be put out of everyone’s misery.

Instead of having you create ONE login on their system and then allowing you to designate which potential employers have access to your stored data. Then having the site ask for  whatever ancillary information the employer might request, it appears you’re required to create a new Taleo login for each employer with whom you’re applying.

The practical upshot is that you can spend your entire day playing around with Taleo fighting through poorly designed, seemingly endless questionnaires.


Back in the olden days, I’d create a resume and cover letter, then look in the newspaper, write a list of names and addresses of companies I was going to send my resume to and spend the morning tweaking 10 or 15 resume / cover letter packages.

I’d print it all out, fold the resume and cover letter, stuff it into an envelope and mail it. I’d also have a nice organized list of who I’d applied to and where. Typically I’d work it out so that if I had interviews, they were scheduled in the afternoon. My system was nice, organized, simple, and for the most part, it got results.

For many years I maintained a database of companies in my field with the names of hiring managers and / or HR representatives. When I found myself at contract end, or laid off, I’d go home, fire up the computer update the resume, then print out 100 – 200 resumes to be put in the mail the next morning. That was before I even tried looking at the newspaper.

HP Thinkjet

Oh and by the way, the first system I did this on was an HP71B and HP ThinkJet printer. Yeah, my first resume that wasn’t produced on a typewriter was produced on what was essentially a glorified calculator running BASIC on a 4 bit processor. I did have the Mag Card Reader so I could have multiple versions of my resume and cover letter stored offline.

The printer was one of the first inkjet printers. In my configuration It ran on the old HP-IL interface.

Ok so I’m a GEEK! But at the time the 71B was what I could afford, and honestly, that machine gave me great service for many years. It’s still around here somewhere having survived many trials and tribulations.

Now days, I’ll get 8 to ten applications out on a really good day.  

It’s not uncommon to spend 45 minutes to an hour uploading my resume and cover letters only to have to correct each and every item that Taleo so helpfully parsed from my resume.  

Then there are the mandatory fields which must be filled out, even if you have no data for that field and often N/A isn’t allowed. Filling out the additional web data can easily add another 30 minutes because the requested information is so poorly presented and the rules underlying the forms are amateur at best.

Indian Call Center guy from Transformers

A classic example is this:

The form asks “Are you a Veteran?

You click the button that says “No”

Instead of deactivating ALL subsequent questions about veteran status, are you a medal holder, were you wounded, which war(s) were you active in, The form makes you say “No” or “None” or “I’m Not X,Y,Z”

It’s these things that make a Software QA person NUTS! Bad design, bad implementation, bad presentation, and error reporting that loops ya back to the page with no explanation about what the hell is wrong.

This is, in my opinion a direct result of outsourcing. However that’s another blog positing and I think I’ve covered it already.

Insanity Einstein

Yesterday though was an all time high (or low) depending on your point of view.

After filling out a 15 web page application, (one of the questions listed 17,645 possible answers but wouldn’t allow you to search) I finally got to the last page of the application gauntlet. And there I ran across something I’ve never encountered before.

Insanity Freud

A 22 page PDF explaining Binding Arbitration which I had to confirm I’d read. Followed by a three page Binding Arbitration agreement wherein I signed away all my rights in this, or any other reality, timescape, dimension, universe, afterlife, or reincarnation. (I exaggerate a little. The agreement is rendered null when you die.)

Mind you, I still haven’t gotten past the application phase of this particular ordeal.

I’ve signed Non-Disclosure agreements prior to an interview. I get that, since during the interview some company secrets may be revealed.

This arbitration thing is a whole new level. But they’re not done yet. After all that, they want you to take a survey for some tax information they need. 

All of which leaves me wondering if I want to apply for their job in the first place.

It also makes me wonder what the hell they’re so afraid of? I’ve filled out similar paperwork after being hired.

I don’t like it as a condition of employment, but with the ability to register my dispute over various items on the form in writing, I’m usually ok with binding arbitration agreements.  I’m not OK with a mandatory agreement as part of the application process.  How many people desperately seeking a job, have signed their rights away without reading the documents? 

Interview Line

The problem is, between the Taleo website failing with Safari and the time I’ve got invested in their damn application process I feel like I should complete the process.

I’d like to know if this guarantees that I’ll get an interview with a hiring manager? After all the last 28 pages of their application process is all about them, I should at least be rewarded for my time and effort with an interview.

I’ve filled out applications for bonding or security clearance that weren’t as involved at this company’s job application.

In those cases I had the job. In this case there are no guarantees that they’ll call me, or even tell me to go to hell.


My experience yesterday was the perfect storm.

Dealing with Taleo makes the application process far more difficult than it needs to be.  HR departments placing unreasonable demands on applicants with legal forms, surveys, and questions which must be answered, but which no-one will ever look at, plus the usual EEOC information about race, color, ethnicity, and gender, combine to create a very off-putting application experience.

On the plus side of things, I’m noticing far more diversity in the application software.

For the better part of a year every job application took me to Taleo. That’s not happening so much now, instead the sites are cleaner, more direct and actually get down to business which is to allow you to apply for the job the company is offering.

Honestly, the moment I’m employed… I’m going to trash the 300 or so Taleo logins my poor browser has been keeping track of. 

That will be a day of celebration!  It’s a pity, I can’t as easily wipe all traces of my resume and personal information from those hundreds of accounts and employers.