The Applicant Black Hole Isn’t Science Fiction: 1 Key Takeaway From NACE 2019
June 10, 2019

The Applicant Black Hole Isn’t Science Fiction: 1 Key Takeaway From NACE 2019

Alex Csedrik

At this year’s National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) conference, leaders in early-career recruitment met to discuss and learn how the industry is changing. One thing, however, stuck out the most throughout the conference, and it’s an issue that’s been around for quite some time.

The applicant black hole is real—and your company needs to address it ASAP.

What Is The Applicant Black Hole?

As much as it sounds like science fiction—a place where 98 percent of all resumes are sent, never to be seen by your team—the applicant black hole is reality. As a tight labor market and sites like Glassdoor coalesce to give top candidates more power than ever before, a negative candidate experience is no longer an option.

The question then becomes: Why does the applicant black hole exist in the first place? One reason is that each corporate job opening attracts an average of 250 applicants. That means that your team would need to spend at least 13 hours per work week sifting through resumes to find qualified candidates.

Click here to find out how WayUp can help you avoid the applicant black hole

Add that to your team’s lack of resources, and you can understand how the applicant black hole came to be, and why it continues to intensify. Fear not, though, because you can avoid sending applicants there.

Avoid The Applicant Black Hole And The Temptation To Adopt Too Much Technology

applicant black hole

While the temptation may exist to adopt AI and increasingly automate your hiring process, this would be detrimental to your team. Millennial and Gen Z candidates, in fact, dont want a highly-automated hiring process that doesn’t involve human interaction. Only two percent (!) of them said they’re comfortable with AI being the sole determiner of their job application; only four percent (!) said they are very comfortable with AI being the sole evaluator of whether they passed an interview round.

Instead, you need to create a combination of high tech and high touch recruiting.

This involves using technology to respond to all candidates to acknowledge your team received their application. Prompt responses about their application status are needed too, even if it’s letting the applicant know they’re not qualified for this position.  

If a candidate is qualified, then your team needs to provide as much human interaction as possible. This means giving candidates information about each step of the interview process. Your team also needs to provide interview feedback. According to Forbes, this should be done no later than four business days after an interview, even if your team is informing a candidate they’re no longer in consideration for the position.

Remember, you don’t have to conduct in-person interviews for each round of the hiring process. Doing so costs your company money and hurts productivity. When given the choice between a phone screen with a person or a video interview without any human interaction, 87 percent of Millennial and Gen Z candidates opt for the phone interview with a person. That’s a convenient way for your team to move candidates through the hiring funnel.

You Can Scale Your Recruiting Without Having To Scale Your Team

The applicant black hole came into existence because of a lack of resources. If your team wants to take the steps above to avoid it, that’s going to mean scaling up, right?


Nasdaq saved their team 100 hours per week and cut their time-to-hire by 50 percent, all in one year. How? They partnered with WayUp.

WayUp Source, Screen & Coach ensured Nasdaq responded to all applicants within 24 hours of applying. Qualified candidates were invited to schedule a phone screen with WayUp’s early-career specialists; regardless of the outcome, WayUp’s specialists provided personalized soft skills feedback after each screen and informed all candidates whether they were moving on to the next interview round. This partnership allowed Nasdaq to spend all their time with only qualified candidates.

If your team wants to hire top talent in the Age of the Candidate, it can’t afford to have an applicant black hole. So what are you doing to address it?

Fill out the form to find out how WayUp can help you find top talent.
Thank you. We'll get back to you shortly!
It didn’t work. It's not you, it's me. Please try again.
By submitting this form, you agree to our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy.

Subscribe to the WayUp Blog!

Sign up to stay updated—and ahead of your competitors—with the latest information in early-career recruitment sent right to your inbox.