Overcoming The HR Black Hole

Posted on February 3, 2009. Filed under: Job Search Tips | Tags: , , , |

by Stephen Van Vreede (@ITtechExec)
HR black hole

I’m not sure there is anything more frustrating to today’s job search process than companies that post online for open positions, insist that candidates contact them only via online forms, and warn against trying any other means of applying for the position. Obedient job seekers then follow all the requirements, sit dutifully by and wait, and what happens? Nothing!

I shutter to think of all the resumes that have been submitted into the proverbial HR black hole. They go in, but do they ever come out?

I find it a bit dumbfounding that a company claims it needs candidates, goes through all kinds of measures to insist qualified candidates contact it in a specific way, and then proceeds to disregard the responses it receives or, at the very least, makes it virtually impossible for a candidate to get into contact with them.

But, I know, “it’s the don’t call us; we’ll call you” attitude….

I’ve spoken to several HR personnel who loathe candidates phoning them. “I don’t have time to be on the phone with job seekers all day!” they wail. And to some extent, we can all understand that. Who wants to be on the phone saying the same thing over and over again? However, I also find it stupefying that a department that is set up for the sole purpose of supporting corporate employees and assisting in finding suitable new candidates is so averse to actually speaking with them!

The person I really feel badly for is the hiring manager, however. Here is a department that really needs help. It has an open position, and it wants to find a good person to fill it. So they put in a request through HR to advertise the opening. HR complies. After that, the hiring manager is at the mercy of the HR department to send up resumes of suitable candidates that fit the right parameters.

Sounds good, right?

The problem, of course, if that all too often candidates fall through the cracks. Something happens between HR and the hiring manager (the black hole, remember?). I’ve seen great candidates, meeting most, if not all, requirements posted, and yet they never hear anything. How can that be?

Is it that the company posted for a position that is not really open? Or is that HR gave up after reviewing the first 100 resumes and only sent up a few of those to the hiring manager? Or is that something breaks down in the communication between HR and the hiring manager, and quality candidates aren’t properly identified?

Honestly, I am not sure, but one thing is clear, there is a definite disconnect between candidates and companies. Recruiters love it because it makes them look like heroes when they find the best candidate, but it really wouldn’t be that hard for corporations if they would just let their hiring managers do what they should do best, find qualified talent for their team.

Somehow in today’s job search market we’ve all bought into this concept that the best candidates are the ones that most fit a list of qualifications someone drummed up as the “ideal,” which sounds good on paper but rarely works out the best.

Although companies most certainly need a way to screen out unqualified candidates, they also need to be careful that they don’t become so closed off that they impede the possible connection between the hiring manager and the candidate.

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