The job application kiosk from hell

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BlogBreak guest contributor Gary Wheeler discusses his experiences with job application kiosks:

Prior to the 2008 holidays, I made a few trips to retailers seeking a seasonal position. Consumer spending wasn’t stellar and many big box retailers who normally hire seasonal workers, held off.

Although they weren’t hiring, they allowed you to complete their employment application. I decided to make store visits, in hopes that I would be able to connect with a real live person, look them in the eye and say, I would like to work for you!

Several companies only had an online application process. This is a very convenient way to apply for a position; however, you have to be a lucky stiff to stand out of the crowd on a computer for an $8.00 to $10.00 hour job.

A couple places still had the paper application but most had a KIOSK. The two-top retailers in the U.S. had very sophisticated systems, and it took about an hour to answer all of their questions, depending on the position I was applying for.

There was one KIOSK in a very large company that I will refer to as the KIOSK from HELL. It took 90-minutes to complete the application. The system was sluggish as if it were running on dial-up internet service. I would get kicked out every 10-minutes and would have to either start over or at certain phase of the program. Even the manager on duty complained and said, “it was the worst system he had ever experienced”. It was a nightmare. I decided that I would complete all future applications from the comfort of my own home.

The lesson I learned is to complete the application online vs. the in store KIOSK, if given a choice. If completing an application on a KIOSK, get there when the store opens or you may have to wait a while. Make sure you utilize the restart code process if they allow you to enter one. The KIOSK isn’t going to call you. A person will. You still have to follow up with someone and bug the heck out of him or her if you want to get hired (in a nice way).

The squeaky wheel gets the grease.

Have you had a positive or negative KIOSK experience? How do you feel about the trend towards moving much of the job application process online? Does the lack of human interaction hurt or help you in the job search?

5 comments Add your comment


March 30th, 2009
10:00 am

I would do it at home too. I see those kiosks take all kinds of abuse when I visit these stores, from frustrated job seekers banging on them, to managers diddling around with them trying to make them work and not knowing what they are doing, to little kids using them as toys. Just save yourself the aggravation. Job hunting is hard enough.


March 30th, 2009
9:15 pm

I applied for a position at Walmart on a kiosk…kiosk from hell for sure!! Took a/b 90+minutes!!

Home Again

March 31st, 2009
8:40 am

It is a sad fact that the “normal” process for finding and acquiring a job has sunk to a new low using non-human resources to replace human resources. Even for more traditional employment the process begins with the online search. Once you find the job then you must fill out the online application. You have no idea if a human even ever got to see your resume. The Human Resource Department needs to change its name to the Non-Human Resource Department. As a person that is always told “you interview well above your resume!” this is very distressing. I have always depended on the interview to get the job. Truly a low point in American employment practice!


March 31st, 2009
10:11 am

Employment kiosks were instituted to prevent store managers from discriminating and level the playing field for applicants, but its all about the software. There are some great software packages and some awful ones – “kiosks” are a specialty and require specialists to make them user friendly. No, you can’t just throw your web site on a PC and expect it to work for the public. Sounds like this Kiosk from Hell was a low-budget afterthought ordered by the same purchasing guy who buys pencils and toilet paper.

Taron Harrison

April 6th, 2009
4:48 pm

Greetings Tyler Perry I’m 26 years old and , Basicly I need a job. I was laid off from a couple of jobs in Atlanta and continue seeking others , and I need something so I can finish college . You can reach me at 850-591-6373 or 404-256-5391. Thank You for being you . Taron