Preliminary job applications: A vain exhaustive frisking ( Editorial, WCM, issue#7

The average amount of time for filling an application on line is two to three hours. The information required ranges from the most basic identifying data to the most detailed extensive inventory that includes name and address of all attended schools starting with the elementary school to post-graduate education in addition to mother’s name, social security number and the applicant’s address (es) for the last five or ten years. Those websites also ask the applicant to fill in information about ethnic background and race. The survey mandates the job seeker to submit a consent to allow the prospect employer to do an even more exhaustive research that does not end at getting a CORI ( Criminal Offender Record Investigation,) credit report , assets, banking information but asks the client to authenticate the consent by singing the form using an electronic pencil on a pad at the end of the application designated for such function.
The employers’ Human Resources office directs candidates to fill all applications on line without neglecting to specify that filling all the required mandatory information on applications, consenting to the rigorous background search and the legally binding signatures is in no way a promise for a job and that it is a preliminary application for sole triaging purpose that might lead to having recruiters contact the applicants should the latter meet the hiring criteria. Legally, the hiring process in its preliminary steps requires the applicant to fill basic identifying information , education and work experience and whether the person is allowed to work in the United States. While a person may understand the importance of consenting to the CORI background check as it helps recruiters decide on the candidates moral standards and fit, a background check is required only when the employer decides to go further with the hiring process, the other required pieces of information such as the credit report, the mother’s name and information about the name and address of the elementary school are non-relevant and can easily be used by identity thieves and scamming companies to ruin lives.
The final step in the application asks clients to authenticate the entered information as valid by using an electronic pen and signing the final form thus consenting to authorize the above mentioned background checks. Such consent is legally binding and can incontestably be used for whatever purpose the employer, the web host or hacker decides to use them for. No matter how savvy the applicants or reticent and cautious, they still end up filling the requested information and providing the authenticating signature for the simple reason that they need a job, have kids to provide for and bills to pay. The irony is that employers end up not hiring them and their identity ends up floating up there on the web for whomever is savvy and foxy enough to use it and get away with it. There are some Labor laws that clearly state and define what is allowed and what is prohibited; yet, practices such as these continue to plague our lives and economy because employer scavenge for loop holes and magnify their importance for their own benefit.
Worse, most people continue to cheer up those policies that keep the unemployment rate high and throw us in chronic intermittent recessions and economic crises. Recently, in one of the S.U.M.A.W. meetup events, I addressed these issues with a member of the meetup who defended those policies although she was almost depressed because of being unemployed. The woman’s defense was that : “ these things have been going on for long; it is America; these are things we cannot change.” When I argued that things have to change especially when there are laws that support the change, she responded that there have always been laws but the corporate and companies have always disregarded these and that her own goal was to find a job not to advocate for others. As sound as my friend’s judgment might seem backed with pressure and depression it still was an argument that stemmed from a ghastly engulfing culture of indifference and “je m’enfoutisme.”
Policies such as the ones herein discussed will continue to stand between many applicants and jobs; the same way they will continue to break down families, bring about recessions and depressions. Let’s say the employers and corporate are well-meaning and do ask for those non-relevant extra pieces of information to fill in the application for sheer screening purposes and to protect their clients, and let’s also say the good citizen is naive enough to be duped by such argument and turn all alarms off, a person will still need to work to be able to pay bills and credit cards for without a job no bills will be paid and the credit scores will hit rock bottoms not because of an ill-character or moral fit but simply because a person has been afflicted long with unemployment by employment crippling policies.
Finally, I do not want to sound cynic but I strongly believe that most on-line applications are rarely processed for employment purposes but rather used to collect personal data about candidates for marketing, potential scams and ‘frisking’ goals. One might ask: how do they hire people then? Well, get closer and let me let you in a secret: “ Psst, it is who do you know and how well do you know them and other things the current scope and time does not allow for.
So, isn’t it time we changed’em policies? See you next one.

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Jamila Ouriour
The editor

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