Is the Black Hole in Recruitment Getting Larger? (Part I)

by Lamees Abourahma

recruitment and black holeThe Candidate Experience “Black Hole” in recruiting has been a point of discussion for many years. In this blog series (based on a roundtable discussion hosted by RPOA) we discuss three focused topics: (1) What’s the new trend with the candidate experience? (2) How is the new technology affecting this experience? (3) What can you do to improve on your candidate experience?

The 'black hole' of the candidate experience refers to applying for jobs online, and/or working with recruiters to find a position, only to never hear back from these people again. Hearing that your application is no longer being considered rarely happens, even after an interview or a confirmation of receiving the application or resume.

Past discussions and studies on the candidate experience “Black Hole” tell the story of what candidates want.  According to Matt Schreyer with Instigate Inc., candidates seek:

  • Acknowledgement
  • Engagement
  • Closure

As the economy continues to improve, is the candidate experience following in its path? According to Staffing.org data comparing 2009 to 2011, the black hole is improving in some area while still facing challenges in others:

  • Areas of Improvement:
    • Providing general company information: candidate issues were 13% in 2011 compared to 33% 2009
    • Job site design and layout: Candidate issues were 5% in 2011 compared to 25% in 2009
  • Areas of continued challenges:
    • Too little job information provided: Candidate issues were 50% in 2011 compared to 44% in 2009
    • Difficult, unclear application process: Candidate issues were 61% in 2011 compared to 47% in 2009

Does this data suggest that the “Black Hole” is growing or tilting towards candidates who have growing access of filtered and unfiltered information on employers and job opportunities – but they are still unhappy with the recruiting experience?

John Younger, President of the Recruitment Process Outsourcing Association, said that a whopping 94% of candidates NEVER hear back from recruiters and companies, and suggests that this trend is getting worse. The lack of information, the black hole and recruitment, provided to candidates are the number one concerns for those job searching. Younger thinks there are two reasons why the industry is trending in this direction: the ease for people to apply to jobs, and the roots of recruitment as a transactional industry.

Technology Made Recruitment Easy

With online job boards, it takes just a few clicks to apply to a job. It also takes just a few clicks for a company to post a position online. This makes it so easy for candidates to take a shotgun approach to job hunting, and for companies to get overwhelmed with the number of applications received for each position. Companies and recruiters don't want to leave candidates hanging, but the way things are done does not make it easy for them to follow up with every single person. In general, candidates seek acknowledgement, engagement, and closure; and are having trouble receiving it.

Recruitment is Transactional

Recruitment as a transactional industry means that it's much more about finding the right fit for the position, instead of building a relationship with every single person who applies for the job. The black hole and recruitment go together because of the emphasis on the former instead of the latter. Younger provided an example of someone who applied to Gap, and who because of the poor candidate experience, is no longer a customer of Gap. Younger explained that the COO of Gap didn't connect those dots, that the candidate experience is also a relationship building and a customer experience.

The black hole and recruitment may currently be trending closer together, but it doesn't have to be this way. In part 2, we will discuss how recruitment technology can positively impact the candidate experience.

Additional Resources

The above article is basd on a live roundtable discussion hosted by the Recruitment Process Outsourcing Association and lead by Matt Schreyer, co-founder of Instigate Inc. Listen to the full discussion now!

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