I explain what your part in this may be . . .and what their part is, too

Why Do Applications Ask You Questions When The Resume Has All the Answers?

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So why do online applications ask you to fill in particular fields?  Why did they ask you questions when your resume has all the answers?

Starts off with the fact that employers, particularly large ones, but actually any employer as government reporting requirements in order to ensure that they don't conduct themselves in a discriminatory manner.  It's not as though there is anything personalized about this, but the statistics show that they interview (I'm just picking numbers at random) 100 people from a diverse population (a non-white male population) and 100 people are rejected. The government has the opportunity to say, "Huh. That's interesting.  Let's explore more deeply."

In the US at least, government requires that firms maintain certain types of data.  Let's go beyond that.

When you upload a resume and the system attempts to parse it, your resume may not be in a format or in a type font that that is easily readable by the system.

Catch that one again.

This is your part of the equation.  It may not be easily readable or in a type font that is parsable by their system.  As a result, you have to fill in certain fields.  Whether it is name or address fields that the system is just not able to read, your email address, the system has a concern.

Some applicant tracking systems asked the county in which you live. I have no idea why they need this information when so many systems are set up so that they can search by a radius of a particular ZIP Code.  Some are ridiculous and will ask for the county.  I think a moron design the form I forgot that people are human and not your sheep.  That one has nothing to do with government reporting.

The real reasons are (#1) your resume was not readable.

2. They may be asking for ridiculous things like the example of the county which isn't going to be anywhere in your resume.  Without that city, state or ZIP Code field

3.  I think this is a valid one.  So many people are not including addresses, so there is no city, state or ZIP Code information on a resume.  They are giving just a name, email address and phone number when they submit the resume.  If a person is doing a search in her applicant tracking system for someone with a particular background, they are never going to find you.  Without that city, state and ZIP Code field, without a phone number or mobile number (Remember that area codes of the phone number don't necessarily correlate to where you live), how did they find you?

It's very possible that your lack of an address is causing the system to request this information so that they can find you again.


Jeff Altman, The Big Game Hunter is a coach who worked as a recruiter for what seems like one hundred years. His work involves career coaching, as well as executive job search coaching, job coaching, and interview coaching. He is the host of “No BS Job Search Advice Radio,” the #1 podcast in iTunes for job search with more than 2100 episodes.

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