I recently learned that a company, whose name ends with ‘R’Us but shall otherwise remain nameless, puts help wanted ads up on a few job sites. Not just when they want to hire someone, but all the time.

According to a few people who’ve applied, the positions aren’t actually open – the applications are read, and maybe offered an interview if it’s a picture-perfect match, but most are deleted without a response.

If you make talented, smart people play games or put any sort of barrier to entry to your organization – any organization – we’re not going to want to apply. In fact, we might even stop buying from your company. How you treat your applicants is an indication of how you treat your employees. Hazing is frowned upon most everywhere else, so why would you make it a part of your application process?

Back in 2007, when I actually considered hourly jobs an easy time-buying measure while your real career search played out, I went into interview with Bed Bath and Beyond. I asked how to submit an application. They told me to hold on, and a few seconds later sprung an on-the-spot interview on me. In front of the registers while customers checked out. Target did the same thing (but that time, I was prepared).

I know that retail workers need to be able to think on their feet, but it felt a little like dirty pool to me.

Retail outlets aren’t the only culprits. A few years ago, I applied to Comcast for a marketing position. The only problem was, their application system didn’t work on Firefox. It didn’t work in Safari. In fact it didn’t work on the Mac at all – I had to find a PC with Internet Explorer before I could finish my application.

After I’d spent four hours filling out my information, I was confronted with a few question screens that had no instructions and asked me to rate my skills from a long list (of about 200 or so). I could add 15-20 to my application, with a few similar or duplicate entries in the list which had no descriptions to differentiate. Four and a half hours later, I submitted my application.

I was a tad bit pissed off, so I sent a tweet to @ComcastCares. “Your application process is insanely difficult and doesn’t work on a Mac.”

They tweeted back – “We know.”

I’m not that passionate about stocking shelves, and only moderately passionate about kitchen gadgets and Yankee Candles. And, to be perfectly honest, Comcast’s stance on net neutrality would have probably turned me into a double-agent for Qwest or something.

Screening is one thing, but when it goes beyond screening to hazing, it’s just pathetic. So, Human Resources, pretty please – stop hazing your job applicants.

(Header photo: Untitled by dwliu)