One of my favorite terms to use when describing the candidate experience is the resume black hole. Whoever thought of it, A+ on that one. In three short words, it conveys so much that a candidate feels.
But why do we have that term in the first place? That’s an easy one. It’s because employers as a group have a lousy track record of getting back to and keeping up with a candidate who has applied. Sure, the candidate might get one of those lovely auto-responses that tell them their resume has been received. Ok, great, now what? They wait. And wait. With little or no ability to get in touch with anyone at the company.
This is no accident. Most hiring software attempts to insulate talent managers and hiring managers from the multitude of candidates who send in a resume because the makers of said software know that these people (their customers) don’t want to be bombarded with over-communication from applicants (we’re back to our “defense” metaphor from Part 4).
Even when communication does happen, it’s often sporadic with lengthy gaps between messages. Meanwhile candidates are in the dark (hence the black hole metaphor) about what’s going on internally. And if you’ve ever been a candidate in this situation (and I have) you know how utterly frustrating this is.
Transparency? What Transparency?
Let’s think about it from a candidate’s view for a moment. First, you see a job posted and decide you’re interested in the opportunity. Awesome! Now you think about applying or trying to connect with someone about the opportunity. But before you do so, a thought enters your head: how many other people have applied? That’s kind of an important data point, right? It influences the likelihood of getting the job, or even just getting to the next step in the process. On that note, where is the company in the process? Have several people been interviewed? Has someone gotten an offer? Or is the process just getting started? Looking at the job description, you have absolutely no idea about any of this! These would be quick questions to ask. But who do you ask? And where do you go to ask them?
Do we really believe that’s effective communication? Really?!? Even people buying lottery tickets are told what the odds of winning are. People applying to colleges can get a rough idea of the odds of being accepted from the school’s published acceptance metrics. Yet, for this process called “job search” candidates are kept completely in the dark, and given few if any means of asking questions until after they’ve been able to connect with someone directly, which may or may not happen at all. #WTF
It’s 2016. We live in a hyper-connected world of near ubiquitous communication. Look at your smartphone. I’ll bet if you counted them up, you’d have a dozen or more separate apps that allow communication. Yet, for this one area of human activity, it’s like we’ve forgotten everything we know. We’ve made it unnecessarily difficult to do simple things like ask questions, get answers and have a real dialogue between two human beings. Is this really the best we’re capable of? Is it really?!?
I think we can do a lot better