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Black Holes and Candidate Rejections

Posted by Jonathan Rice on Aug 8, 2019 3:59:33 PM
Jonathan Rice

It seems like an eternity since the New Zealand school holidays happened but there are some things I still remember from the blur of work, kids, events and meetings all bundled into one exhausting mess.

My kids, being 9 and 10 currently, have reached an age where I can actually watch semi-enjoyable films with them that don't just include over-produced one-hit-wonder songs and twirling cartoon princesses.  So it was that one day I finished up my work early and we headed off to the cinema to see the new Spiderman Far From Home film.

It was a good film but one line really stood out for me.  Being the recruitment-tragic that I am it is often things that tie in or relate to the recruitment industry that are most memorable to me.  Receiving a call from Nick Fury to his mobile, Spiderman looked at the withheld number lighting up his display and sent it straight to voicemail.

Spiderman ghosts Nick Fury

For the uninitiated (of which I was very much one), Nick Fury is kind of like the recruitment agent for superheroes.  He's like their booking agent in some ways.  If some intergalactic menace is about to invade Earth and smash the place up a bit, then the people who want their town to remain relatively unscathed get Nick Fury to organise a superhero with some spare capacity and the necessary skills to help out.  Or something like that.

Ghosting the Recruiter

Anyway, young spidey boy's insouciant phone call rejection is an action very much familar to many of us working in recruitment these days.  My fellow recruitment agitator, Sean Walters, recently returned to working on his old Rice Consulting desk, commented on this earlier this week.

He said that 2 years ago it wasn't uncommon for job applicants to go quiet and go "off the radar" midway through a hiring process.  Particularly from a younger demographic, perhaps not in possession of the gumption, or manners, to tell their recruiter they have found something else or changed their mind.  However, two years on, he says it has got even worse, considerably so.  Nowadays he frequently receives applications from jobseekers and, despite calling them inside an hour and leaving a message, never hears from them again.

It's almost as if people are now just firing off random job applications to scratch a particular itch for a few minutes and then something happens to make them feel ok again.

Black Holes for Applications

On the flip side of this, a recent study conducted by Oleeo, an analysis of a monumental 9 million online job applications, has found that candidates, used to never hearing back from recruiters or hiring managers, are simply applying for more and more jobs in greater volumes than ever before,

"It found that, in a bid to increase their chances of being hired, candidate job applications have soared, doubling in the last two years alone. As a result just one in ten are passing the initial screening stage and this is having a profound impact on candidate behaviour."

As to what is driving this behaviour?  It's all in the title to this blog post,

"Candidates nowadays live in an era where the expectation is that at the end of the apply process, they are just not going to hear back, hence the reason for not spending lots of time researching before applying."

So after years of developing smarter recruitment and HR technology we appear to have reached a rather depressing nadir.  Technology has made it easier and quicker for candidates to apply to larger volumes of jobs.  In so doing, recruiters and hiring managers are struggling to cope with the volumes of applicants and so have resorted to simply ignoring unsuitable applicants, leading  jobseekers to simply apply to more and more jobs without even bothering to research their suitability.  Then when potential employers do actually call the candidate they are frequently "ghosting" them anyway!

Muse black holes and revelations album cover

A vicious circle and a black hole combined - a vortex of disgruntlement and disillusionment in the modern recruiting process.

Speed of Response

There are some clear lessons for both recruiters and hiring managers to take away from this:

  • Make sure you can access candidate applications wherever you are, and have an easy way of responding and communicating.  Speed of response is paramount, especially if you unearth a CV from someone who looks like they really fit the bill, of course.
  • Be prepared to make multiple approaches, through multiple channels, to applicants who you want to connect with.  Chances are they won't drop everything to take your call until it is at a time that suits them.
  • Have the courtesy of responding to all candidates, even if it is a generic "reject" email.  Your employer brand will benefit from gaining a reputation of taking the time to respond rather than being another "black hole" for jobseeker applications.

If you don't have the time to devote entirely to these requirements, but still need to find good talent for your teams, then check us out at JOYN.  Our freelance Consultants work on an hourly rate with no placement fee charged at the end, and come armed with stacks of hiring tools and technologies such as the JOYN ATS which speeds up CV screening and candidate communications.  It's why we say that JOYN helps you make better hires at half the cost of traditional recruitment processes.

If you're a jobseeker reading this, then please maybe rethink your approach when deciding to "ghost" a recruiter or hiring manager.  It works both ways.  Check out this useful guide from Trade Me Jobs about how to make sure you hear back after applying for a job online.

Let's all make recruitment a better place.

 

Topics: Insider, Recruitment

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