Cantlin's blog

On Awful Online Job Application Systems

361 words from 04 February 2013

Perhaps Accenture don’t want me. It’s not surprising: my first girlfriend felt the same. Unlike Accenture though, her initial advances - you know, the ones before you know whether you really want something or not - were at least competent.

As a product guy, I strongly believe that a company’s digital assets, along with all of their component systems and interfaces, right down to the impact of each mouseclick, represent the culture and proposition of the business that made them. It’s like filmmaking: directors and their staff are responsible for making sure the vast multitude of decisions involved - which shot, what colour, what dress - are each informed by the grand vision of the film. When well made, these decisions in sum create that vision on the screen. Give us a great vision, clearly communicated, and we leave the theatre happy customers.

Good products also come from integrity and bloody-mindedness. The client will not always want a good product: they may feel they know very well what they want, and it is the furthest thing from the concept and price tag you’re proposing. It is a difficult thing to cede both money and control. Even when clients don’t factor, business pressures too many to list often drive implementations towards being quick and dirty.

What saves us in the end is our pride in what we do. It’s the thing that drags that crucial client meeting out another two hours while you play every card you have to stop them making a costly mistake. It’s the thing that makes you find yourself telling your boss that their expectations on how quickly or cheaply this is going to get done are plain wrong, no question. It’s the thing that drives you to delve into the data to express in a way that the business can understand facts you know instinctively, like you will get better conversion out of a page that loads in two seconds than four.

So, Accenture, when I use your recruitment product, and am confronted by a usability nightmare that I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy, I wonder about you. I wonder about a company with no pride.