MacInTouch Reader Reports

Mac Marginalization: Employment

Feb. 1, 2010
Feb. 2, 2010
May. 21, 2010
May. 22, 2010
May. 24, 2010
May. 25, 2010
May. 26, 2010
Sep. 9, 2010
Feb. 1, 2010

item.108753

Bill DeFelice

From glancing at this job posting, it appears Wal-Mart is guilty of Mac marginalization, as observed in this posting by the National Association of Retail Marketing Services. Under their Technical Requirements they state that an applicant is require to have

"... Access to a PC NOT Apple/Macintosh that runs Internet Explorer and has an operating system of Windows 2000, XP, or Vista"

I suppose this is either due to lazy programmers or another organization who bought into the entire M$ mode of operation.

Feb. 2, 2010

item.108799

John Grout

The marginalizing ad is by Lawrence Merchandising Services and offers third-party demonstrator jobs *at* WalMart.

item.108801

Gregory Tetrault

Bill DeFelice said:

From glancing at this job posting, it appears Wal-Mart is guilty of Mac marginalization, as observed in this posting by the National Association of Retail Marketing Services. Under their Technical Requirements they state that an applicant is require to have

"... Access to a PC NOT Apple/Macintosh that runs Internet Explorer and has an operating system of Windows 2000, XP, or Vista"

I suppose this is either due to lazy programmers or another organization who bought into the entire M$ mode of operation."

No, the problem was that the information in the job posting is incorrect. The WalMart job application site works just fine with a Mac, though it is one of the stupidest sites I've seen: five separate legal disclaimer pages, ridiculous amounts of security that include five security questions, default font sizes too small to read comfortably, etc.

item.108819

Kenyon Kopp

Bill DeFelice noted:

From glancing at this job posting, it appears Wal-Mart is guilty of Mac marginalization.

In Wal-Mart's defense, you would not be working FOR Wal-Mart, just at a Wal-Mart location. Lawrence Merchandising is the company you'd actually be working for.

It's one of those somewhat odd things where a vendor/manufacturer is likely actually paying Wal-Mart to essentially lease the space on the end-cap. The vendor/manufacturer then hires a third party, like Lawrence Merchandising, to handle the setup and maintenance of the display. Companies essentially fight for prime shelf space.

If you watch the pop/soda aisle in a grocery store, you'll notice the people stocking the Coke or Pepsi products generally actually work for Coke or Pepsi.

As for the job requiring a PC and specifically not a Mac, well, it's a one hour job that pays $10 per hour. That doesn't include time/expense of getting to the store either. Sometimes the job may be related to a specific promotion that's being put on.

item.108806

Ed Wilmsen

That's not WalMart, it's a company that provides a sevice to them and many others, ie Target, jewel, etc.

item.108845

Rick Cricow

Bill DeFelice posted:

From glancing at this job posting, it appears Wal-Mart is guilty of Mac marginalization, as observed in this posting by the National Association of Retail Marketing Services

The company running this ad is *not* Walmart; rather it is a vendor company servicing a display in Walmart stores.

For certain product, Walmart allows other companies to come in, stock the shelves, and make certain the display is well maintained.

The company in question, Lawrence Merchandising Services, is guilty of Mac marginalization. Walmart does not have any policies that I know of. We are a Mac-based company that happily sells product to Walmart, all from our Macintoshes.

May. 21, 2010

item.114819

Steve H

My son went to the Toys r Us website to apply for a job at a local store. According to the website, the application process only works under Windows (98, 2000 or XP), and via Internet Explorer 5.0, 6.0 or Navigator 7.0. It appears as if they're stuck in 2004. My son had to use Boot Camp to complete the application.

May. 22, 2010

item.114894

Jason Froikin

Re: Browser restrictions at a website:

Try turning on the Develop menu in Safari and then change the User Agent to one supported by the site.

Often sites will restrict the web browser to one version of IE, and use Javascript to check the User Agent string, but there will be no technical reason for it besides the guidelines they wrote themselves.

item.114896

MacInTouch Reader

My son had the same experience with Toys R Us as well. How can a major retailer be so out of touch with the world around them?

item.114897

MacInTouch Reader

Regarding the job application problem Steve H's son faced using a Mac, I tried completing most of the application using a User Agent spoof which identified Firefox on my Mac Pro as being Internet Explorer 6 running in Windows XP. Since I don't want a job with ToysRUs, I didn't go past giving an SSN, but the application process worked to that point. Kronos Talent Management Inc., which is actually running the application website, didn't seem to be able to tell the difference.

The website didn't accept a User Agent spoof of Linux running Netscape 6.2 but Vista and IE 8 were OK. The XP user agent string that worked is "js:useragent="Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1)"; appname="Microsoft Internet Explorer"; appversion="4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1)"; platform="Win32";" which I installed and accessed in PrefBar (http://prefbar.mozdev.org/)

Obviously, the better solution is for the business world to recognize that some people use Macs.

item.114910

MacInTouch Reader

I had the same problem when applying to Best Buy. I wonder if Apple knows that.

item.114941

Derek Caudill

In regards to the Toys R Us application problem that Steve H wrote about, I too had the same experience, and have had it with many other applications just this year.

This seems weird to me as Toys R Us, and the other companies that I had this same problem with, all use the Unicru application system. A system which I have used many times with no problem on other companies sites.

My solution was to use the Develop menu in Safari, and under user Agent, select Internet Explorer 8.0.

After doing so I was able to complete the application, the only problems being that none of my autofill entries worked, and when I got to the pages asking for phone numbers, I could not continue to the next page unless each phone number field was filled out. As I only have one phone number, I just entered it multiple times.

At the end of these applications, they ask for comments on how to improve the service. I ran across this enough times that I eventually just made a standard statement asking for support of Mac's, and explaining that Netscape was no longer in development, (at least not the kind they were referring to), and that IE is generally being replaced by Firefox, at least on the Windows platform. I would suggest that anyone else who runs into this problem also express their concerns in the comments sections of these sites.

May. 24, 2010

item.114987

David Hodnett

We've previously discussed marginalized job applications, specifically Taleo rebranded sites. I wanted to mention this so that curious folks can simply search for additional commentary.

The long and short of it is that few large companies actually create and maintain their own job portals but instead purchase off-the-shelf software and operate it the same way they operate shopping carts and forums. Quite often, the vendor has updated the software but the hiring company simply does not have any interest in "purchasing" and installing the upgrade. If it aint broke, don't fix it.

Unfortunately, in this economy, if a company is receiving 5,000 applications a day for each position (all presumably from Windows users) then there's little incentive for that company to support Macs and widen the field to 5,500 applications.

As a short term solution, I likewise use both Firefox and Safari, and play around with the UserAgent strings. For the kinds of jobs I've applied to, being able to find and operate a compatible browser is kind of a no-brainer although I do sympathize with people who just want to work as a stock boy at Toys R Us.

As a long term solution, I don't complain about Mac marginalization. Instead, I leave commentary strongly implying that their "recommended browsers" have known security holes. I furthermore suggest that if I have to resort to using one of those browsers to apply for a job, they ask me for personally identifiable information such as dates of birth and social security numbers, *and* that information is compromised, I will embarrass the company by screaming loudly in public. Accordingly, the easiest thing for the company to do in order to protect themselves, is to upgrade. (I do make these suggestions in a much more polite tone of voice though.)

I can't say that it has worked but I do think veiled threats of public embarrassment and potential litigation are probably going to be more persuasive than helpful suggestions that ultimately increase the number of applications that their respective Human Resources departments have to manage.

May. 25, 2010

item.115026

MacInTouch Reader

While I know it's not much comfort to those looking for a job right now, I have a feeling resume/job application software marginalization will be self correcting. Simply put, businesses that don't will suffer.

I just finished a Masters degree and I was pleasantly surprised at the dominance of Macs among my peers. Laptops were nearly universal in my classes - between 70% and 100%. Macs represented 40-80% of the laptops in use, depending on the class, and Mac numbers increased every quarter I was there.

The population of my school is not typical - all are either US Military/Government or foreign military. The school is highly selective so among a relatively select population, only the top 10-20% are considered and 1-2% selected to attend. In other words, these are the people that businesses seek out to hire, pay signing bonuses, etc and they are choosing Macs at a rate above the general population.

The US Military/Government used to be one of the most Mac-hostile work environments in the country. That has reversed purely due to bottom up demand with some sideways pressure. Despite the recent downturn in the economy, high demand people are still in demand. After hearing about stupid policies in exit interviews, it was the HR folks who told the IT folks to change or else THEY would be in the next exit interview.

Companies that continue with shortsighted decisions about support to non-Windows browsers will increasingly find themselves shut out of a large portion of the labor market. Browser diversity is at an all time high and IE will likely drop below 50% market share this year. At the same time, Apple is selling a million Macs a month and almost all of them going to individual users spending their own money. That's a lot of consumers and potential star employees to make angry every month.

P.S. As a side note, when I started my program in August of 2008, netbooks were very popular, sometimes 50% of the non-Apple systems. When I finished up last month, they had all but disappeared. Canary in the coal mine?

May. 26, 2010

item.115075

MacInTouch Reader

I guess Toys 'R Us simply hasn't upgraded to Kronos (Unicru's parent company)'s current software, Kronos Talent Management (KTM), from the older Unicru HirePro that is being phased out by many retailers.

Kronos Talent Management supports Mac OS X (and Firefox on the Windows and Mac), while HirePro (normally) doesn't. Also of note: HirePro doesn't even support Windows IE8, now the most popular version of IE, unless it's in compatibility view (emulate IE7). KTM, on the other hand, natively supports IE7/8 and Firefox 2 and up (with Firefox support for both Windows and Mac). Despite not being listed as supported, KTM seems to work just fine in Safari and Chrome, too.

KTM is currently being used by CVS/pharmacy, Kroger, Best Buy, and Finish Line, among other major retailers. PetSmart and Staples are also currently transitioning to KTM from HirePro. Notably, Ulta Beauty is still using HirePro and has not transitioned to KTM.

So I guess many of us Mac users' hiring headaches will be over as soon as the other Unicru sites transition to KTM.

Sep. 9, 2010

item.120689

Stephen Clark

Illinois Department of Employment Security still won't allow any on-line certification for benefits from anything but a Windows PC running Explorer.

I tried again today with the most up-to-date Safari & even with User Agent sent to spoof Explorer 8 I got nowhere.

I suppose the budget situation here in Illinois precludes their taking any affirmative action to remediate situation unemployed Mac-users out there face as I'm sure we're in the minority. I thought state programs were supposed to be open access to all, but that appears not to be the case in Illinois if you're an unemployed Mac user....

item.120797

David Krafchick

I suspect that their web site was not designed with the World Wide Web guidelines. The Tracfone web site had a similar issue. I traced it down to a Java Script that looked to see if you were using IE. If not, it refused to process the purchase.

I would call them and gently mention that the people who designed the site had to write programming code that locks out Mac, Unix, Linex, etc. The more calls they get, the faster they will learn it's not a question of expense. It a question of writing the code to allow anyone to use the site.


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