Folks are mobbing job fairs. It’s taking more than 4 months (on average) to find a job. And, every day, all day millions of frustrated job-hunters click the “Submit” button and blast their resumes into resume black holes–online job ads and websites set up for the sole purpose of slurping up and storing resumes.
So, what’s the story with these things? What are these companies getting out of gobbling up resumes without ever seeming to get your info in front of folks who might hire you?
In the Beginning
Resume black holes were originally created by well-meaning folks who intended to allow companies and job applicants to save a step and a stamp in the recruiting/job-hunting process. It was a great idea! A company that wants to hire you posts an ad. You shoot them your resume. They call you for an interview. You get the job. They get the ideal employee (that’s you). Everyone’s happy.
But, the deluge of resumes (both useful and ridiculous) that everyone thought might be a boon turned out to be a bust. Companies would post a VP, Sales position and cashier’s from the local Piggly-Wiggly and youth pastors from the Church of I-Wanna-Football-Stadium-Like-Joel-Osteen would apply–from 8 states away.
Sorting resumes became a full-time job–one that even the most committed recruiters grew to hate. So, they just stopped sorting. They stopped sending out those merciful “thanks but no thanks” notes. They reviewed the first or last 10 resumes, called 5-7 applicants from that pile and left the other 900 to wait, wilt and wonder.
The situation improved slightly when smart entrepreneurs began offering to sort the resumes on behalf of clients. The problem then became that if you were not selected, you’d still just have to assume that’s what happened since most clients weren’t paying resume screening companies to put unwanted candidates out of their misery. Nope, they were much more concerned with relieving their own misery.
The model thrived, so more resume black holes formed.
So, they tried technology. Tech companies created snappy apps to suck in, sort and screen resumes, automate the “thanks but no thanks” notes and all seemed right with the world. Until…
A new breed of entrepreneurs and scammers figured out there was gold in them thar’ black holes. They began creating black holes disguised as real job ads. You’d send in your resume and they’d try to sell it to a company or individual who was looking for someone like you.
Hoarding your resumes became big business. Monster.com, Careerbuilder.com and every other job board and it’s mama.com was in a race to build the biggest resume black hole. He who amassed the most resumes could induce the most recruiters and hiring managers to pay more for the opportunity to dig through the pile.
If you were lucky, someone might conduct just the right search, using just the right terms to bring your resume out of the rack and into the recruiters’ hot little hands. And, if you were unlucky, your resume never made the search parameters, or made it so many times for so many jobs that you appeared cheap and desperate and not worth hiring.
Eventually, everyone tired of this model and many black holes simply collapsed.
Local job boards began to spring up everywhere. Companies wanted to find candidates in their own backyards. That reduced the number of job applicants (and resumes to be screened) to a somewhat manageable number and helped the cream to rise to the top (though it didn’t weed out all of the wishful and deluded applicants).
For many moons after, we were all somewhat contented. Then, the bottom fell out of our universe.
The economy went belly up and the job market tanked. But, the black holes, like roaches, wouldn’t die. Even though, most companies ceased to hire–a situation that should have collapsed a lot more resume black holes–the gaping voids continue to beckon you to submit. This time, your resume is likely making it to your desired destination–the company of your dreams. But, there’s a twist! Now, whether your resume makes it to the top of the pile or not, it may never make it out of the resume black hole…at least not for a while.