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The New World of Electronic Recruiting

Dear J.T. & Dale: I have been out of the "working world" for several years, kind of in semi-retirement after working 25 years at the same hospital. Now I'm interested in a seasonal job. So many things have changed with the application process! I had to apply online, send my resume online, and take a personality test online. I then had a phone interview, after which I was welcomed as an employee and told that forms would be e-mailed to me. These forms needed personal identification, W-2, and so on, to be faxed back. While this is a reputable company, I expressed my hesitation about faxing this info. They assured me they had security measures. Is this typical of how companies process their employees nowadays? - Kathy J.T.: Welcome to the world of electronic recruiting! As a former HR professional, I understand why companies wanted to automate recruiting and how they started with the best of intentions. Unfortunately, something got lost in the transition: common sense. In an effort to make the process more efficient, we've ended up with a mess. Don't get me wrong - I'm all for technology, but at some point you have to realize that human interaction is necessary. DALE: Hold on. Think about the human interaction of hiring. The fact is that most hiring managers are not very good at judging potential employees, partly because applicants put on interview personas. I warn managers that the person you interview is never the person you hire. So, while we lost some human interaction, we also lost biases and quirks on both sides of the interview desk. If nothing else, Kathy, thanks to online processing, you didn't have to make multiple trips to the company for interviews. J.T.: However, the wisest managers understand "chemistry" and work to keep the human element in hiring. As for your other concern, Kathy, about sending in personal information, I don't see that as a special danger. DALE: The old-fashioned alternative might have been to go into the company and fill out the forms in person. What happens to those forms? You hand them to some clerk, who puts them in a file on some desk. If you fax the information, it gets put in a file on some desk. Maybe there's a small danger of the fax signal being compromised, but let go of that fear. In fact, let go of reminiscing. If you live in the past, that's just where your best career days will remain. Feel free to send questions to J.T. and Dale via e-mail at advice@jtanddale.com or write to them in care of King Features Syndicate, 300 W. 57th Street, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10019. © 2012 by King Features Syndicate, Inc. Electronic recruiting image from Bigstock