Maersk : Unrealistic filters

An online date of birth tool that allows for improbably aged job candidates illustrates the importance of setting realistic limits on filters.

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The feature

Maersk, the international shipping group, asks online job candidates provide their date of birth using a calendar tool.

Users can scroll through a conventional month by month view or, more conveniently, click on the Month and Year headings to launch overlay menus and navigate to the correct date. The Month overlay brings up a list of the 12 calendar months, while the Year menu lays out a set of years, two decades to a screen, providing an efficient interface to reach the candidates’ date of birth.

However, the Year menu is not restricted to options within the range of a probable working career, or even human life span. Instead, users can select any date from 0001 CE into the far future (we stopped scrolling when we got to 4583). There is no subsequent form validation to highlight errors so a candidate could, for instance, submit an application with a date of birth in the future or one that coincides with the Battle of Hastings (14 October 1066).

The takeaway

Although in this instance the neat form interface makes it unlikely that candidates will accidentally select a date centuries before or after their actual birth date – other than for a fun screen shot – the calendar illustrates a wider point about the importance of getting date range parameters right.


Providing an exhaustive list of menu options may seem thorough, however it is exasperating when, for example, press release date range filters extend further back than the press archive leading to frustratingly fruitless search results. Setting forms to reflect the relevant parameters – including dates –provides users with a more focused and satisfying search experience.
First published 28 May, 2019
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