This is not a new topic. Ever since the introduction of the ATS (applicant tracking system), we have been talking about the recruiting black hole. Like anything else, the black hole has too evolved. Back in the day job applicants would spend endless amounts of time providing personal information via the online application form; work experience, duties, education, resume upload, address, phone number, etc… and then you hit the “send” button… and then… wait for it… you wait, and you wait and you wait some more. Usually, nothing happens because this information you worked hard to provide is somewhere up somewhere in internet world-wide-web land.
Then new technologies were developed to improve the “candidate experience”; code words for “let’s avoid the black hole effect so applicants don’t get pissed off and dislike us”. Automated and templated email messages, chatbots, social recruiting platforms that enable real-time engagement, and the plethora of other tools that all say they’re unique, but in reality, aim to solve the same problem. After all, we finally figured out that positive candidate experience is smart business.
This post is not about recruitment technology, or how the applicant tracking system generally sucks. I know it’s virtually impossible for recruiters to keep up with the volume of resumes, applications and inquiries being directed at them front different channels. The black hole effect will always be a challenge; ensuring applicants and candidates are kept in the loop promptly. What I want to focus on is communication breakdowns between people who are not cold connections.
What does this mean?
I put a lot of effort into networking and building relationships. From a job search perspective, I am living proof that I am much more successful in landing a job with an organization where I’ve been referred to (i.e. warm lead), versus only submitting a direct “cold application”. The introduction from someone who knows me well to someone that has decision-making power is hugely impactful. Research shows that quality of hire is extremely high when new hires are referred to the organization.
Knowing this, what’s the problem? Using the example of where I am introduced to a decision-maker at a prospective employer, what happens when communication breaks down and possesses the same characteristics as the recruiting black hole? For whatever reason, the decision-maker stops communicating with you and simply doesn’t respond. It’s an interesting situation because, as I said earlier, I take introductions very seriously. If I am going to make the effort to introduce two people to one another, I fully expect both people to treat each other with respect. By doing so, they’re respecting me, “the one making the introduction”. If I am one of the individuals being introduced then I always do everything in my power to maintain open communication and treat the other person in this manner. It’s non-negotiable for me.
For whatever reason, this topic has come up several times recently within my close network; the notion that decision-makers at companies where people were introduced to are simply not responding. If the candidate experience is so important and critical to business success, and that employee referrals are the best source of hire, why is this happening? It’s actually very concerning to me that this is taking place. I simply cannot fathom not responding to an introduction that was directed at me. The person making the introduction took time out of their schedule, thought about my best interests, and made the effort to help. This is recruitment gold for companies today who are struggling to recruit top talent. It boggles my mind that this is happening.
The interesting part about this is, I have no clue how to fix it. It essentially comes down to the personal integrity of people today, and perhaps more people do not value the importance of personal introductions as I do.