Candidate Experience: No Love for the Resume Black Hole

No Love for the Resume Black Hole

Searching for a job is a full time job especially since for many companies the online application process using an ATS or applicant tracking system takes an upwards of 45 minutes to complete.  Recruiters and HR professionals want to obtain as much information as possible so as not to make a bad hiring decision or spend wasted time interviewing and engaging an unqualified candidate.  And so job seekers get the shaft, applying for positions sending their resume into what is affectionately called the resume black hole.

Job seekers like Rob McGahen (@rmcgahen) who has been actively job searching for 6 months are frustrated with the job search and the lack of follow up from companies.  “I’ve experienced the resume black hole with no updates, information, let alone any news if your resume has been read by an actual human being,” says McGahen.

1/3 of Companies Don’t Communicate or Send a Turn Down Letter

As social media has grown in popularity, many companies are now becoming aware of job seekers and their frustration and dissatisfaction with the hiring and online application process.  When it comes to the hiring process, companies are no longer communicating a job seeker’s status in the employment process whatsoever.  Things like recruiter phone call, job seeker feedback, a turn down letter, or even an email autoresponse are welcomed forms of communication even if they are the bare bones.  Because of social media’s open nature, this public frustration and lack of communication from companies by job seekers is something companies can no longer afford to ignore.  A group of recruiters and human resource professionals are working to change the hiring and candidate process focusing on what they call “the candidate experience.”

These job seekers are people too, many of them who are connected or who serve as not only a candidate for the company where they apply but are a potential or current customer especially in the B2C marketplaces.  More importantly, it’s just the right thing to do.

Recognizing the Candidate Experience

The Candidate Experience Awards in their second year seeks to help drive awareness and reward companies consider the candidate’s hiring process from application to interview to job offer.  In 2011, the awards are oversaw by the Talent Board, a non-profit agency received more than 32 companies who entered to be considered.  The awards surveyed the company’s HR and Recruiting teams as well as the company’s job seeker population of 8,000 surveyed. Their findings serve as a starting point for corporate recruiting when it comes to engagement focused on the job seeker:

Sixty-eight percent of job seekers who apply for positions are not qualified for the position.

One third of companies do not email or communicate with unqualified job seekers.

Once a job seeker is being considered 60-70% receive notification of application status or if position is filled.

While job seekers like McGahen are frustrated with the resume black hole phenomenon, his experience from companies who follow up after the interview is significantly less than the 60-70% found from the Talent Board.

“I never hear anything back from employers after my interview.  There is no follow up, and it is so frustrating,” says McGahen.

The candidate experience is a mesh of both marketing, employer branding, and recruitment rolled all into one.  Organizations like the Talent Board are helping to drive conversations as HR and recruiters enter a new frontier where we, move from the resume black hole to an interactive conversation and courting process as companies compete for top talent beyond social media.  Personally, job seekers need to hold their prospective employers accountable providing them feedback on the candidate experience even if unsolicited.  So what does that look like as far as accountability?  What’s the best and worst candidate experience you’ve ever witnessed or encountered?

And be sure to check out the conversation happening over on the Huffington Post where this blog is also being featured as I’ve become a regular contributor.  

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Jessica Miller-Merrell

Jessica Miller-Merrell (@jmillermerrell) is a workplace change agent, author and consultant focused on human resources and talent acquisition living in Austin, TX. Recognized by Forbes as a top 50 social media influencer and is a global speaker. She’s the founder of Workology, a workplace HR resource and host of the Workology Podcast.

Reader Interactions


  1. Melissa Varela says

    Worst Candidate experience ever –
    I once applied to an open high level position at Chipotle headquarters and sent a creative resume built out of their packaging directly to the VP of HR. I never heard a word back, even a thanks for the effort but no thanks.

    • Jessica Miller-Merrell says


      I’m so sorry, and that feedback is a gift that keeps in giving in a negative way for the company. Just a simple phone call or quick note from them could make you an advocate for them instead of a liability. Unless I reached out to those folks directly, they will not likely ever see this blog comment, and if you like I am happy to do so. It’s unfortunate because I’m a big fan of Chipotle as a consumer.

      Thank you for your comment here. I’m happy to help drive awareness on this topic because I don’t think there is enough discussion about how important candidate communication and feedback actually is. Job seekers need to know where they stand and how exactly they can do better to market themselves for a job so they can correct, learn, and grow.



  1. […] In August, the news media was rocked after an email response was shared from the San Diego Padres where one job seeker responded to an employer email for her to attend a job fair at the bargain price of $495 with her own counter-email to “Suck My Dick.”  Taylor Grey sent the email response out of frustration after having applied for 30 jobs and turned down with the Padres not even receiving an interview.  Like millions of Americans she is actively looking for work and frustrated with the hiring and acknowledgement process also known as the candidate experience. […]


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