Transform the candidate experience by conquering the 'applicant black hole'

The applicant black hole is familiar to job hunters across the world. You spend time crafting your application, submit it online and never hear from the employer in question again. Indeed, research has shown that as many as 75% of applications fall into the black hole.

For most people, this has become accepted as an unfortunate reality of the job hunting process. However, from a talent acquisition perspective, could the presence of the black hole be holding you back?

While most candidates have come to accept that they will not get a response to their application, this does not mean they are happy about it - it's human nature to be annoyed if you spend time and effort putting together a job application only to hear nothing in return.

With applications falling into the black hole being such a common occurrence, those businesses that take steps to cut it out of their candidate experience can develop a recruitment process that stands out from the crowd and delivers a greater return.

shutterstock_1355804363The key to conquering the black hole is to ensure that applicants are engaged and cared for throughout the process, even if they are unsuccessful. After all, people know there is a chance they will be unsuccessful when applying for a job, but by staying in touch with them from beginning to end, the chances of them having a positive experience with your company are increased dramatically.

Keeping candidates informed of the progress of their application and providing feedback can go a long way. Even if they are unsuccessful, a positive experience means they are likely to stay within your talent community, would be willing to apply for future roles and generally have a good impression of your employer brand and value proposition. The chances of them recommending the business to others and leaving positive reviews online are also greatly increased.

Allow applicants to slip into the black hole and these advantages will be lost. A talented candidate may not reapply for a future role for which they were an ideal match, and they could even become a brand detractor, passing on their bad feeling to other candidates. In many cases, all it takes is a simple email explaining that you will not be taking an application forward and that is enough to ensure a positive candidate experience that helps you stand out from the crowd.

One successful approach AGS has employed for a leading technology client is the implementation of a Recruitment Delivery Centre, in which a team is specifically tasked with reviewing every single application received and responding to each candidate personally. The model has proved highly effective, with unsuccessful individuals even getting in touch to thank the business for informing them that they would not be moving forward in the process - proof that just saying no to a candidate can improve their experience and boost your brand. When you consider the number of people who will apply for every vacancy at your company, the potential impact of providing a positive experience for as many candidates as possible should not be understated.

We see creating a positive experience for everyone as a fundamental in building a stronger workforce capability for your organisation. Read more in our Total Talent Advantage whitepaper. Get the Report

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    Craig Fisher
    Written by Craig Fisher
    Craig Fisher is Head of Marketing and Employer Brand SME at Allegis Global Solutions. He has consulted with companies like CA Technologies, Hootsuite, Yum! Brands, LinkedIn, FOX News and many more on sales, brand, and recruitment strategy. Craig created the first Twitter chat for recruiters, and partnered in the first LinkedIn certified training company in North America. He’s been detailed in the Wall Street Journal, The Economist, Forbes, Mashable, NBC News, The Huffington Post, and NPR; and is listed among HR and Recruiting's top influencers and most engaging conference speakers. Craig co-hosts the Cool Tools Show podcast with Lars Schmidt - www.CoolToolShow.com. You can find him on Twitter and Instagram @fishdogs and on his blog at www.fishdogs.com.