The ‘recruitment black hole’ in 2023….what’s going on?

Black Hole Blog Final

We’ve all been there at some point in our careers…. sending our CV off to prospective employers in anticipation of an exciting new opportunity and eagerly awaiting the response. But how many of us have experienced the infamous “black hole” in the recruitment process? Or have you perhaps been on the other side of that scenario, staring at an overflowing inbox of applicants wondering how you can ever respond to every single one with the care and attention each deserves?

Let’s go back to the beginning…. it’s 2008, it’s the recession and employers are finding themselves bombarded by applicants desperate for their jobs. Fast forward fifteen years and we’re still hearing that many candidates never hear back and are left wondering if their details were even ever received. The phenomenon of the “recruitment black hole” has returned! With the evolution of technology (AI, ATS’s etc) and EVP and talent at the top of every HRD’s agenda it’s hard to believe this is the reality in 2023!

What the candidates say…

We often hear from our candidates that they’re victim to being ghosted and left in the black hole. Hugely frustrating if you’ve spent time re-writing your CV, putting together a covering letter, navigating the ATS, not to mention researching the company and culture too!  

So not getting an acknowledgement, zero engagement or even closure after application, can leave a person feeling negative and walking away with a poor impression. 

On the one hand there is no doubt that technology has made applying for jobs “easier” as in today’s world applying online through job boards can be as simple as the click of a button. So, does this almost TOO simple a process lend itself to a trigger-happy approach to job hunting? Which in turn overwhelms the employer’s inbox, effectively resulting in them only responding in a generic way or not at all?

However, at the other end of the spectrum there are the ATS applications (you know the ones I mean) where you spend half a day filling in 43 questions explaining your suitability for the role, often going back twenty plus years to remember a qualification result, and duplicating what is already likely to be on your well written CV. You’ve dedicated time to this and taken a view that your experience fits the requirements very well indeed only to receive the ‘if you don’t hear back in 7 days, assume you’ve been unsuccessful’ email or simply nothing at all. 

And if it’s bad enough not hearing anything back after applying, imagine being one of the people who have taken time off work, invested energy and time into going through multiple stages including presentations and psychometric testing, to either hear nothing or be presented with an offer 15k lower than their current base salary!  All stories we’ve heard recently in the market. 

People are key

Who can deny that it’s been a difficult few years? With Brexit, covid, the cost-of-living crisis and a generally turbulent economy, being in HR has been pretty tough.   Everyone just feels busier than ever juggling home and work life, swamped with new technology, navigating hybrid working and then to get hundreds of applications that need a personalised reply, it can be overwhelming!    

In dealing with all of today’s application routes, be it job boards or ATS systems there is still so much scope for poor candidate experience. Companies themselves first need to realise the importance of the candidate experience in correlation with their brand and their future talent pipeline and thereafter need to have the strategy and resources to be able to effectively deliver on that. 

A good many companies understand that by not delivering a positive candidate experience they are creating a disconnect between that individual and their brand for the long term. Those organisations work tirelessly to invest in ways of ensuring that black hole closes as much as is humanly possible and strive to give candidates that apply to them timely and personal communication.

Not all businesses have the capability to avoid candidates disappearing into a black hole – potentially due to lack of expertise, systems, or resources but shouldn’t they be finding a way?

Whose Responsibility?

The ease of posting new jobs and applying for them has potential to fuel a less mindful approach to both recruitment and job-hunting. Do candidates and employers alike need to take responsibility – candidates making sure they are applying for the roles that are most fitting so as not to inundate employers and for employers to ensure their recruitment systems and processes leave no room for applicants to fall through the cracks…. So, what’s the answer?

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