Because people were not hostile to the idea, and some people seemed genuinely curious about why I hate online job applications, here is your second annual post about why I hate online job applications.
1. The applications seemed better this year than last. There was more variation in the template or whatever, and I spent less time typing my CV over and over into the same text-boxes and forms.
2. Nevertheless, I became irate several times during the process. "FUCK YOU, [school at which I desperately want to work]!!!!!," I shouted.
3. It took a really long time for me to complete them. It took just as long to do the online applications as it did to complete the snail-mail applications. But since I was doing a bunch of snail-mail applications anyway, it would have been quicker to just do them all that way.
4. So, part of it is that it's really annoying to have two completely different procedures. And it adds an unnecessary layer of complexity to my mail-merge documents.
5. It is also more work for my references. As I understand it, many schools who conduct online applications contact your references directly to ask them to upload their letters themselves. This seems to me to be unnecessarily annoying to the people who have agreed to write letters on my behalf.
6. As someone mentioned in comments somewhere (I am too lazy to find the reference in order to give due credit to the anonymous commenter who mentioned it. plus, the world series is about to start), it is annoying when there are arbitrary limits on the size of the files. I have a huge number of teaching evaluations. Although the file is large, it is not giant. Nevertheless, I had to spend some time resizing the file. Luckily for the search committee, this makes the document less readable.
7. As someone else mentioned in comments somewhere (again, too lazy), it is also annoying to stitch a bunch of files together so that this one search committee can.... Um.... I don't know what the point of that is. It seems like it would make things tougher on them, since it would be harder to tell where in my one or two PDFs my writing sample is. Or my teaching statement. Or whatever.
8. As I said last year, I believe in online applications. They are the future; snail mail is the past. But we can do better than this. There should be a central website, managed by some organization who plays roughly the role of the APA but which does it with competence, to which we would upload our documents. We would then specify which documents were to go where. This one-at-a-time bullshit is for the birds.