The Net Promoter: Workday Jobs fails to make leap from enterprise to consumer product. Will HR depts. be left asking, “why isn’t anyone applying?”


  • Workday has convinced customers like electronic medical record companies, major universities, and major manufacturers that their HR system would work for applicant tracking and hiring.
  • Candidates need separate login credentials for each separate company they want to apply to. Candidates can’t use the same resume between companies. Candidates have to go through a UX that forces them to cut and paste the resume they probably spent weeks formatting into Workday.
  • This smells like a missed persona in the story writing process.
  • This smells like bad lift & shift to a cloud system without the benefits of a cloud system.
  • I include a discussion of how I’ve seen these things happen below and how they can be avoided…

I’m going to commit to documenting at least one wonderful product experience I have for every negative one. I just learn sooo much from the negative ones. They are also front and center, they grab you. This is exactly the opposite of a wonderful product experience where your day just flows without noticing.


I have been applying for a number of jobs recently. Everyone seems to have a different system. Yesterday, I applied for one at a prestigious university. It was annoying, but it was such a cool opportunity, helping connect computer science to things kids like, that I didn’t think twice. Then, today, I found another opportunity, similarly awesome, teaching professional software development to an underserved group, who wouldn’t normally have the opportunity. My password manager said I already had a login. I tried logging in. “Invalid name or password.” When I looked deeper, I could see both companies used white-labeled WorkDay.

Workday. I used it at my last job to manage the hiring process. At the time, I thought the friction was indicative of the company I was working for. Now, I’m not so sure.

It’s really interesting to think about the consumer (B2C) and enterprise (B2B) spaces. I have worked in the enterprise space, in healthcare for 20’ish years. It’s not pretty. In particular, giving people access to systems through a single username and password is not universal. In the consumer space, things are better. If I want to use a popular website, I can almost universally login through a Google, Facebook, or Apple ID through OpenID and OAuth technologies, which you don’t need to know about.

Somehow though, when applying for jobs, I need a different user ID for *


To add to the smoothness, try out and you get a nice: ERR_CONNECTION_REFUSED

The experience continues as you would expect from there:

  • Workday parses the applicant’s resume into chunks it understands. The problem is, if your formatting isn’t exactly what it expects, it shreds the content. It’s up to the user to fix it.
  • Each company site is distinct, and user information, including resumes does not exist across sites. For each new myworkdayjobs site you login to, you need to reformat your resume.
  • Each site has an applicant portal. What’s the point, when I need to remember the correct company.wd500 prefix?

This is not a consumer grade experience. The more times I see, the more time I spend repeating a process that in 2021, should be done once, if at all.

I’m frustrated. I feel unvalued. I feel invisible. I feel like fodder for the machine.

I hope the enterprise side is better.

Analysis & Speculation

Enterprise and consumer software both start in the same place, understanding the customer. The details differ.

Who is paying? The enterprise is paying. I think this is a really important place to start when thinking about the decisions that were made in delivering I’d lay even money that Workday is trying to shore up concerns with their paying customers that about missing features that new competitors in the HR space are filling. Keep in mind that Workday has existed for 15 years and has been public since 2011. I can hear the pitch, “Oh, we can add a portal that gives your job candidates the ability to apply directly in Workday. It will be seamless.”

The story that was lost, is the story that newer companies are starting to tell: the relationship with the job seeker is important, even essential. Thinking about LinkedIn and even more out there, OnDeck (, I see organizations that see the value in the job seeker and other opportunities that come with it, like education and engagement. They allow the candidate a platform, beyond the resume, where they can start to tell their story. OnDeck goes so far as to build the relationships between the employer and job seeker. On the other hand, I don’t ever see myself logging into one of the Workday applicant portals. Honestly, the whole experience was unpleasant.

I look at Workday as supporting the flow of undifferentiable candidates, where you can’t separate the diamond from the coal. In my experience in hiring, looking for ways to truly connect is the way you find the great candidates.

“Pot, I’ve worked for the kettle.” One of the reasons I left healthcare was the frustration of managing tradeoffs where getting paid in the short term overrode building high quality software. In a public company where the primary KPI is the stock price, when asked to pick two of fast, cheap, and good, it’s very very difficult to pick good. In fact, you have to build your culture around it, and be willing to take a stock hit to do it.

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