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Why Does Everyone Love to Hate Taleo Applicant Tracking Software?

Updated: Jun 24

Remember old school job search, in a bygone era long before applicant tracking software, scanning the Sunday classifieds with a red pen, circling jobs you want to apply for? Filling out paper application forms with a black ballpoint pen, and listening to the receptionist tell you “We’ll call you if they want to interview you.” Or driving from place to place, looking for help wanted signs in doors and windows. Printing and mailing dozens of resumes and cover letters addressed to “To Whom It May Concern?”

Those days are gone forever. 

Thanks to applicant tracking software such as iCims, Jobvite, and Taleo, applicants can go online and apply for a job across town, across the state, or across the country, right from their laptop or even their mobile phone. Before they do that, they can thoroughly research the company they want to apply to, read employee reviews about working there and benefits and compensation, and even talk to current employees by looking them up on LinkedIn.

Many companies, and especially large national or global corporations, use applicant tracking software to streamline their recruiting processes. These let them store applications and resumes into databases searchable by keywords and sort them by position and/or skills, as well as other useful features. It’s turned paper applications and resumes into virtual candidate data that’s more easily accessible during the recruiting and hiring process. Great applicant tracking software for recruiters.

Taleo: The Not-So-Great Applicant Tracking Software for Applicants

Now, I have no ax to grind with Taleo. But applicants seem to hate it. It’s a very strange phenomenon, given the meteoric growth and seeming popularity of Taleo as shown by sales numbers. Many applicants just abandon the application when they see its Taleo. They go online and complain about Taleo. They feel it’s a black hole that is a frustrating waste of their time.

A little sample of applicant comments about Taleo:

  1. When it’s Taleo, you know you’ll be completing a 45 min application.

  2. Taleo is just one of the resume black holes. You can apply all you want but you’ll never hear anything in most cases.

  3. It’s a clunky system full of stupid bugs, including when you click go back to search results when looking at a job you get kicked all the way back to the first page.

  4. And our favorite – the resume uploader that then requires you to enter your resume a second time, piece by piece, into certain special fields.

Are you using Taleo as your applicant tracking software? Is it giving you the return on investment and recruiting effectiveness you need? Are your candidates abandoning your postings when they see the application is in Taleo?

Taleo Hate

This is how Taleo applicant tracking software is referred to online in different forums and sites:

  1. Taleo – Tool of Darkness Wow!

  2. Taleo still sucks beyond belief. (This sounds like a jaded applicant who has run into Taleo in a dark alley many times and it has not changed at all.)

  3. I wince in pain whenever I see Taleo. (Physical reaction to Taleo. Hmmm.)

  4. Taleo is my enemy. (It’s sad when the online application system is the enemy.)

  5. Taleo is the application software from the worst kind of hell. (That’s hating, but what exactly is the worst kind of hell?)

  6. Taleo is a stain on this world. (Ewww, icky visual.)

  7. If Taleo were a physical entity, I would give it a roundhouse kick and then set it on fire. (Um, violent huh?)

So there’s a lot of hater hate out there for Taleo applicant tracking software. Sounds like a Taleo application is not a fun process. Takes a long time, buggy and frustrating, duplication of tasks applicants have to do to complete the applications.

Why is anyone still using Taleo as their applicant tracking software? Oracle acquired Taleo for almost $2 billion, so there is a lot of value in their product, at least for employers and recruiters. Taleo has a feature called Talent Intelligence with embedded analytics, automatic information-gathering throughout the entire recruiting process, and many valuable ways to manipulate and extract recruiting data.


While applicant tracking software like Taleo has revolutionized the recruitment process for employers, it’s clear that this technological advancement has not been universally welcomed by applicants. 

Despite its popularity among corporations and its advanced features that benefit recruiters, Taleo has become notorious for its user-unfriendly interface and cumbersome application process. The overwhelming sentiment among job seekers is one of frustration and resentment, viewing Taleo as an impersonal, inefficient, and often defeating barrier to employment. 

Are you looking to grow your team? Contact us today and learn how we can help you recruit excellent employees into your business. 


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