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Two Tips To Avoid The Job Search Black Hole

When a binary star implodes it becomes a binary black hole that sucks the light from each other and everything else around it.

Well, almost everything else, at least using the above science and fiction as a metaphor for being trapped in a talent acquisition black hole from back to front and back again, particularly in such a dismal job market as we are in today. Consider this statistic from a recent Wall Street Journal articlethe percentage of American adults at work has dropped to 58.2%, a low not seen since 1983.

It’s easy to slam the employer when it comes to being an applicant black hole because for the hundreds and thousands of unemployed frantically looking for work each week.

But there’s a binary black hole that exits in talent acquisition – the fact that for the short list, when applicants supposedly become qualified candidates, they can disappear as well as the employer, never to be heard from again.

Case in point — I went through a few high-level searches this past 12 months with firms that should know better when it comes to the best practices of recruiting and hiring. Unfortunately I was left with inconsistent acknowledgement and no closure, even after I probed further. And with one of them, even thought I didn’t get the job, I was led to believe that there were other opportunities.

And then nothing – crickets chirping in the dark of night.

In an alternate universe it could’ve gone the other way, and although I’ve always brought closure to any interested parties in me, I’ve known of high-profile candidates, some industry friends of mine, who have walked in the 11th hour of candidate selection, pre- and post-offer, without notice or explanation – crickets chirping in the dark of night.

Will business cease all together because of the above examples? No, there will always be light that escapes the binary black hole and business will beam onward, but the transaction on both sides could facilitate much better brand management, not to mention improved future business opportunities for all parties.                                             

In fact, it really is as simple as facilitating two things both businesses and applicants/candidates owe each other, regardless of the position level being applied for.

Those two things are:

  • Acknowledgement – Simply that you’ve applied for any given position and the employer acknowledges that. Or, simply that the employer is interested in you as the candidate, and you acknowledge that. Thank you very much.
  • Closure – Simply that you are or are not qualified for the position, or that you are or are not getting the job, or that there are or are not other opportunities with us, and we acknowledge all these things in a consistent and timely manner. Or, simply that you are no longer interested in the position for which you’ve applied for, or that you are being considered for any given position, or that you’ve been made an offer for any given position, and you acknowledge all these things in a consistent and timely manner. Thank you very much.

Let’s all shine a little brighter out there. Goodness knows the world needs it.