Recently Nottingham made the news for having 1700 applicants for 8 jobs at a new Costa branch. The argument was that this demonstrated how desperate people are and how many people there are chasing each job. NO IT DOESN’T.

It’s because it is easy to apply for job online, even if you don’t want it and have no chance of getting it.

Years ago, (i.e. pre-digital) if you wanted to apply for a job you had to think hard about it first. It was hard work getting the form, filling it in, writing a CV to match the job description and spending hours completing the process. And of course scouring the papers for jobs was not too easy either.

It was a lot of hassle and you tended not to do it if you were either unsure about whether you really wanted the job or whether you were likely to get it. If in doubt why bother wasting half a day?

Today you register with a site, upload your CV and press send every time the site, which presumably gets paid the more people apply, sends a job ad which may be of vague interest to your inbox.

No effort, no thought so 1700 people apply for 8 jobs.

Why? Because Job Centre Plus tells them they have too. In the last few weeks we have had a steady stream of people coming to our community IT classes telling us they have been told by Job Centre Plus that they have to prove they are applying for jobs online or risk losing benefits.

Given that these people usually don’t even have email addresses and have never been online they are still given a standard A4 sheet of web addresses they must visit. They are usually a little panicky to be honest but I usually tell them not to despair we will set up an email account then they can register with a couple of sites and apply for hundreds of jobs in minutes if they like. Presumably that will keep JCPlus happy as they only ask for 5-8 applications a week.

It keeps everyone happy, and takes very little effort.