So, you need a job. What do you do? First, you spend days, weeks, or months looking for a job. You try to find a job that matches your skills, because what a waste it is to you personally and to the national economy if you are overqualified for a job (which also then prevents someone perfectly qualified for that job from getting it). Once you’ve found a suitable job and have tailored your resume to suit, then you find out that they have an electronic application form online and you have to take all the info from your resume and spend an hour manually typing it in. Of course, this all assumes that you have the luxury of looking for a job that fits with your skills, instead of being like most people and simply having to get a job – any job – because you have bills to pay and will be homeless and then dead if you don’t get one.
Alright, so you’re not homeless or dead (or at least not dead, since you’re still reading this). You wait weeks, because hundreds of other people have applied for the same job and the company has an application deadline and then has to sort through all the applications. If you’re like most applicants for most jobs, you don’t get any kind of response. If you’re lucky, you get a response telling you that you haven’t been granted an interview. If you’re a little lucky and a little unlucky, they invite you for an interview. While you wait, though, if you’re sensible, you apply for more jobs. If you get one of the earlier jobs you applied for, then of course the later job applications were a waste of time, but it’d be silly not to waste that time.
Now you’ve got an interview. You’ll sit in a little room while someone asks you idiotic questions like “Why did you choose this company?” and you’ll both pretend like as if your answer isn’t “Because I need a job so I can get money in order to buy food for my family so I don’t have to eat my children.” Even if you’re not completely suited to the job, at this point you’ll lie because this job is all that stands between you and poverty. You know that, and the interviewer knows that, because they once were interviewed for their own job. But they interview you, and they interview everyone else, and they come up with results. Of course, the results don’t actually tell the company anything useful, because interviews aren’t a good measure of future job performance.
Weeks more will pass. You again have to decide whether just to wait or to apply for more jobs. If you apply for more jobs, perhaps it will be wasted time for you and the companies you apply to, because maybe you’ll get the job you were interviewed for. But if you don’t apply for more jobs, maybe you won’t get the interview job and then you’ve wasted time you could have spent applying for jobs.
Out of all the people who apply for a job, only one will be selected for the position. That means every other person interviewed (and for some jobs there are thousands) wasted their time applying for the job. It also means that the interviewer wasted their time looking through applications and interviewing all the other people. Further, the company wasted its money paying the interviewer. If a hundred people apply for a job and spend, say, 30 minutes on the application, that’s 49.5 hours wasted (99 x 30 minutes). If 10 of them get interviews that take an hour, that’s 18 hours wasted (9 hours for the interviewees + 9 hours for the interviewer). There is additional time wasted when you consider an HR department looking through applications, but we’re already at almost 80 hours wasted, or two work-weeks wasted for just one standard job to be filled. Multiply this by the tens of millions of job applications made every year, and it’s easy to see that the waste in hours and money is stupendous.
Instead of this wasteful and frankly insulting system, there should be something like a national database of jobs and job seekers. Each job seeker would have an assessment to find out their skills and qualifications, which would then be entered in the database. Additional information could go along with it, things like how far a person is willing to travel for a job, what their minimum wage desired is, if there are specific companies they would prefer to work for, etc.
Whenever a company wants to hire someone, they could just enter the details of the job into the database. If it finds a match, a call/email is automatically sent to that person to let them know. If they like the sound of it (and they should, since it matches what they said they want), perhaps they can spend a day at the company to see if the environment and tasks are suitable for them. If a match isn’t found, the company can decide if they want to widen the search parameters or leave the position unfilled for the moment. Either way, nobody’s time gets wasted. As a country we save hundreds of millions of hours and billions of dollars. And we also save our dignity, since we don’t have to go through the ludicrous job application/interview process ever again.