If you are submitting an application exactly within the character count or with just a few characters to spare, you may have spotted in your application that characters are reading higher than they did on a word document.
The inconsistency stems from the difference that Windows and Unix based systems count characters.
The website counts irregular characters like ampersands, line spacing, colons etc as multiple characters (for example the "&" sign is read as "&" and takes up five characters therefore pushing you over the limit). This means that you will end up with slightly fewer characters that you expect.
Our suppliers have considered changing the current database model so that this limit is in characters instead of bytes, however it was concluded the change would carry enormous risk to the platform, and data stored in the database.
The current application form is an improvement on previous versions, whereby text entered by a candidate in a job application was counted in character but submitted as bytes and therefore truncated on submission meaning the recruiter didn't see full candidate answer. Previously we displayed the limits at 5% less than the actual amount (e.g. 4000 character fields used to display to candidates as 3800)