Why is there no common app for jobs?

It seems like most of the questions on job applications are the same no matter where you apply. If this can be done for college applications, why can’t it be done for jobs?

Isn’t that sort of what a resume is?

It is done, at least in some fields. All of the school districts in Northern Ohio seem to outsource their applications to the same company, which lets you re-use the same information for multiple districts.

It would work well for “What is your greatest weakness?” – “I work too hard, and don’t take enough vacation”, but “What is your lifelong dream?” – “To work for %COMPANY_NAME%” was a little too blatant.

It took a long time for it to happen to the colleges. There was no common application when I applies in the 1970’s. Anyone know when the common application was developed, and how long it took to spread? (According to Wikipedia, even now it is used by only 517 schools.)

Oh, if only there were a standardized resume! And if only it would be used by the find-a-job websites!

A couple of electronic application forms I’ve encountered are happy to pull the information from LinkedIn (which works a lot better than the ones that attempt to pull it from my resume).

I’ve applied for a lot of jobs in academia, and I’ve noticed that community colleges all seem to use the same application web form. For what it’s worth, I have found these to be HUGELY tedious and frustrating. Even though they’re all the same, the information isn’t stored centrally, so if you apply for a job at another college you have to fill everything in again. There is no option to just upload a resume and be done with it; every box on every page must be filled, or the application is flagged as “incomplete” and therefore unacceptable. To give you an idea of what a long slog these forms are, one of the first boxes you have to fill in is the name of the high school you attended. Since I have 30 years experience and a couple of advanced degrees, you’d think my being a high school graduate would be assumed, but no.

I’ve had employment applications that asked my elementary school. :confused:

I’ve always wondered if perhaps they don’t really care what you enter there, but are actually testing to see whether you fill it in or not. Some bosses will prefer the guy who fills it in (“This is someone who follows directions!”), and some will prefer the guy who leaves it blank (“I’m never gonna hire the spineless wimp who tells me useless information!”).

Well, there’s Oracle’s Taleo. I believe it will pull from LinkedIn and a site of their own. If improperly used, Taleo is hell on earth for job seekers. Employers tend to leave all the questions active so you need to input things like your GPA for elementary school and a hundred other questions. All the location fields are drop down menus that include EVERY discovered land in the world including uninhabited islands. If they limit it to questions that are covered by your LinkedIn account, it can work okay, but that’s rarely the case. The fields tend to be required so you can’t even submit without completing them.

That can backfire. There used to be a common app for federal jobs, for instance. That was pretty cool, except it asked every possible question that every agency might want. Applicants for senior executive positions had to put their typing speed down, for instance. It was pages and pages long.

With computers, though, I think it’s worth trying. You could fill in whatever is relevant and let employers pick what they want. But unless they’re all hiring from a big job bank or something, employers have little incentive to do it. It’s easier for them to make applicants just do the work. Which is what they’re hiring you to do anyway.