Taleo Is Terrible

I’m going to go slightly off topic today for this post, but there is still some relevance here as your job is obviously an important part of personal finance. Your income is basically what you build you entire budget around! Now I may not be actively searching for jobs, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t like to take a look at the market and see what exactly is out there. If there is something that really piques my interest I do try and apply because I think it’s important to stay fresh on your interviewing skills and you never know what exactly might come from it. But there is one thing that usually makes me pause before applying or sometimes may persuade me not to apply at all: Taleo. As soon as I see that an employer is using Taleo software I know that I’m most likely in for a frustrating and repetitive experience.

You know how on most job applications they will ask you to upload a resume either as a word document or a PDF, and then the software will pull key fields and plug them into a form? Either that or they will just upload your resume and have you manually type in some key fields? Not with Taleo – it will “read” your resume and then on the next page you will have to manually fill out every single field either because it populated them incorrectly or didn’t populate them at all. What’s the point of uploading my resume if I have to type in every single little detail? There’s little to no point in making my resume presentable and trying to stand out from the crowd if you’re just going to use a million forms to collect all of that data anyways. Sometimes they even ask you paste a plain text version of your resume into a box instead of a formatted resume. Who even keeps a plain text version of their resume and why am I doing this again?

And on some of these applications the fields require an EXACT starting and end date for every single job experience that you have, even a job you may have left over 10 years ago. Good luck trying to put in your current job as well, because the end date is a required field! You already have job experience and graduated from college? Please enter your high school graduation date and the exact address of the school, because that is clearly relevant to a job you are applying to at this point in time.

You also have to carefully remember to save your application every step of the way, because if you try to go back to another section or accidentally use the back button on your browser then entire session will time out. Then you’ll have to start filling out all those little boxes for a second time. The only way around this is to create a “Taleo ready” word document that allows you to easily copy and paste all the necessary fields into the application. And if you made an error? You won’t know until you actually go to submit that page and it will wipe any related fields blank.

There seems to be very little human interaction going on when a company uses Taleo as well. I know that sometimes companies receive 1000s of applications for a single job and need some way to filter through them, but I don’t ever receiving a single call back or hit when applying for a Taleo job, even with a carefully made cover letter. I also experienced the same thing when helping my girlfriend apply for jobs, and when I was trying to find a job out of college. Sometimes I even got rejection e-mails a few hours later! Is it because I failed to fill out one of the hundred fields that your application had in it? Or is it really because I wasn’t a good fit for the position that I decided to apply for? Taleo is a terrible piece of software as far as I’m concerned.

Have you ever used Taleo or had a different frustrating online job application experience?

photo credit: The grindstone via photopin (license)

Join the Conversation


  1. Yeah, I hate dates for employment, I’m lucky to remember the month I started and left let alone an exact day. I just guess sometimes. So far I’ve worked for several small companies since college and I’m in a high sought after field so hopefully I don’t run into these issues when I look again. Fingers crossed.

    I did hear about friends trying to get into public sector jobs. Apparently they use database filtering systems as well and my friend was given the advice by other people working in the public sector that you have to just say you can do everything even if you have little to no experience with some of the listed items just to get an interview where you can be honest and will often get the job.

    All this kind of crap just makes me work harder to get to financial independence early so I won’t give a shit anymore even if I keep working lol. The fuel for your debt to dreams goals.

    1. I basically always put guesses when they ask that sort of thing, but doing that over and over again in applications adds up when job searching. Especially when each one wants the date in a different format!

      I always try to include keywords in my resume and cover letter from the job description, especially if I do have expertise in that area. Maybe I need to start including more of the keywords just to get past the automated filter at this point…

      The best job application I did was for a smaller company and it was a bit of a reach, which I explained in my cover letter. They replied back saying that I had a good base of experience, but they ultimately selected people with more experience in that specific area. Obviously this isn’t possible for large companies that receive 1000s of applications, but the human feedback is greatly appreciated.

  2. I searched “Taleo is terrible” after spending hours on a cover letter, a tailored resume, only to go through hell trying to get an account, submit the application. Forget it. When I see an employer who uses Taleo, this will mean they don’t care about my experience, getting the best candidates (because I am perfect for the job) and if they don’t care at this level…! Not applying through them again.

    1. I’ve honestly said this a few times before, and for jobs I was on the fence about – it’s definitely stopped me from applying to them. But the problem is so many of these big companies use Taleo that you’re forced to use it some cases.

      I’ve noticed that a lot more companies have gone to simpler applications though, I feel like Taleo doesn’t help the employer or the person applying to the job.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.