Addressing the Black Hole

Even as advocates for a positive candidate experience appear to be making inroads in corporate America, small businesses seem to be missing the message.

Source: Petrovich9 / iStock / Getty

Indeed, the NSBA 2017 Year-End Economic Report from the National Small Business Association (NSBA) and online employment marketplace ZipRecruiter includes two statistics that should serve as a wake-up call:
  • Forty-five percent of small businesses do not provide job applicants with updates throughout the hiring process.
  • Among those business owners who do not provide updates, nearly one-fourth – 23 percent – say, “I don’t want to / it’s not worth it.”

And job seekers are noticing.
According to another survey, this one from the American Staffing Association, eight in 10 U.S. adults say that applying for a job feels like sending their resume or job application into a “black box.” As an earlier Recruiting Daily Advisor article notes, the “black box,” more commonly referred to as the “black hole,” has been a source of job seeker frustration for many years.
So, what gives? Why aren’t all businesses addressing this issue?

Recognizing the Connection

The answer may lie in one of the reasons given by small business owners who do not provide updates, the ones who say, “I don’t want to / it’s not worth it.”
The “it’s not worth it” part is in fact very insightful. These business owners don’t think it’s necessary to spend time communicating with job applicants because, as they see it, doing so adds no value to the business.
But they couldn’t be more wrong.
Job applicants are customers and potential customers. They are also friends and family members of customers and potential customers. Listen up, small business owners: Your employer brand and your customer brand are connected, whether you realize it – and whether you like it or not.

Sharing Their Experience

If this isn’t reason enough to respond to job applicants, here’s another. Job applicants have multiple channels for sharing their dissatisfaction with your company.
There’s old-fashioned word of mouth, and today word of mouth is also amplified via websites and social media. Websites like Glassdoor, Indeed, and others make it easy to share negative employment experiences, including those related to the job search—and increasingly people are relying on these sites when scoping out potential employers. In minutes, an unhappy job applicant can post a review of his or her experience with your company to one of these sites, or share the same on Twitter or Facebook.
Think you have trouble finding candidates now? Wait until word gets out that you don’t treat job applicants with respect.
Still think it’s not worth getting back to job applicants?

Paula Paula Santonocito, Contributing Editor for Recruiting Daily Advisor, is a business journalist specializing in employment issues. She is the author of more than 1,000 articles on a wide range of human resource and career topics, with an emphasis on recruiting and hiring. Her articles have been featured in many global and domestic publications and information outlets, referenced in academic and legal publications as well as books, and translated into several languages.