Black Holes: Mystery of Corporate Sites Unraveled

The opportunity of a lifetime is staring you in the face.  You think you’re the perfect person for the position that the company has posted on their site.  You jump through their hoops to get your brief cover letter and resume submitted.  It’s exciting… your life is about to change.  Then, you wait.  “They’ll call”, you tell yourself.  They don’t. “Well, at least they’ll let me know if I’m a candidate or not.”  They don’t… in fact, you never hear anything from them ever again.  It’s as if your resume went into a black hole.  

There are many of you out there who have gone through this process.  It leaves one feeling as though applying to any and all corporate sites are a big waste of time and are a frustration to be avoided by simply not participating.  That would be a mistake.  I know, I managed a black hole.  Or, at least, I managed the job requisitions that I submitted to the site.  That fact is part of the explanation that I hope I can provide on how black holes operate.  

Many HR Managers and Talent Acquisition Managers (Recruiters) are managing a single site.  It’s just one of their responsibilities and some are better at it than others.  Some care enough to tell everyone who has applied whether they’re a candidate or not.  My experience has shown me that a “not interested” response is appreciated and that’s what drove me to respond to every applicant.  It may be generic in it’s tone and content, but that’s because managers are responding to, perhaps, 100 candidates at once.  Sure, managers do concentrate on the best qualified candidates and that’s where their energy goes.  But, even if they don’t respond at all, a candidate’s resume goes into the system.  It can come up again in another search when another manager, or even the same one who ignored you the first time, initiates a query for certain skills while working on another position.  If there aren’t any negative comments on your file, they have no reason not to call you if you’re a candidate of interest.

There are other reasons that the call or email may never come.  The department boss may not want to lose the money that’s been allocated for the position.  They don’t want to pull it off the site because that will send a signal that the department doesn’t need anyone.  However, the department boss may need it, but just not right now.  So, the job stays posted; the department boss doesn’t lose their budget; and you go into a black hole because nobody cares about the candidate who has applied to a job that’s not “real” at that point in time.

Another reason for the lack of response could be due to the nature of the job.  For instance, if you’re in sales, your role requires you to find a decision-maker within an organization.  If a sales person submitted an email requesting a meeting with the CEO, do they get an email back from the CEO saying, “Come on in!”  No.  They have to try harder than that; they have to be clever enough to get around the gatekeepers.  Therefore, one of the first hurdles that the company may set is silence.  The sales candidate must pursue the opportunity and the measurement of their abilities may be judged by how they get around the initial “no”, which is this silence.

Keep submitting.  Be aggressive.  Stay positive.  The opportunity of a lifetime could be staring you in the face… go for it.