Applying For A Job In Person Is A Thing Once More

An age-old hiring practice is enjoying a revival, employers big and small are once again encouraging potential applicants to "apply within."

By Kristi Eckert | Published

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The job market at present is frustrating, to put it lightly. Employers are having more difficulty than ever luring in qualified candidates, even after bolstering benefits to make a role look more attractive. Those looking for jobs are hitting their own brick walls. Due to the nature of online applications, many of their submissions fall figuratively upon deaf ears without ever being seen by a human recruiter. There is an innate fallacy evident in the various software applications that were built to quickly siphon through and analyze resumes. The human element is just entirely absent. As a result of these circumstances, there has been an interesting change taking place. Tiny businesses to big retailers across the nation are posting signs that say, “apply within.” 

The onset of the pandemic served to put a lot of things into perspective for countless people. Suddenly individuals were adjusting their priorities so they could spend more time with family and less time chained to a desk and slaving away at a soul-sucking job. The common thread in this apparent shift is the realization of how important relationships are. It seems as though the job market is having its own interpersonal relationship revival in the wake of this cultural shift, too. The Wall Street Journal reported that companies from Reno, Nevada in the west all the way to Hyannis, Massachusetts in the east are now encouraging applicants to show their face inside, hailing back to the once-standard apply within that has long been extinct from the modern hiring culture. 

Dave Alverson, who owns the Classic Arcade Pinball Museum in Chattanooga, Tennessee, said that he was having a really hard time finding an applicant that possessed both a passion for the contents of the museum as well as the strong interpersonal skills needed to work in a facility such as his. Alverson told The Wall Street Journal that his solution came down to the “apply within” strategy. Alverson says that he hung a sign old-school style so that he could entice people to come inside to inquire about the open role. This way he could engage in conversation right away with a potential applicant to get an immediate sense if they possessed the traits ideal for working at this museum. 

The apply within strategy is one that benefits potential employees just as much as employers. For instance, if you are someone who knows they have the skill set needed for a particular role but are unable to accurately reflect it in your resume, then speaking to someone in person can go a long way to show a potential employer that you are indeed qualified for that particular role. Nicolle Allred, for example, wanted to get hired for a remote project manager position. On paper, however, it looked as though her skills were limited to that of working for the Air Force as a reservist and being a stay-at-home mom to her kids. Thus, in order to prove herself to companies who would have otherwise overlooked her, she resorted to the apply within tactic. “You really just need to be given that chance to reflect your passion and your ability to learn. I think that’s all it takes: just put me in front of somebody instead of online,” emphasized Allred.

Overall, the job market is in a state of flux. And the resurrection of the age-old apply within practice is indicative of that. And honestly, that’s not a bad thing. It’s a shame that it took a pandemic to remind people of the importance of human connection.