The Job Exchange

Tapping Into The Hidden Job Market

Apply Now: The Black Hole

The definition of a black hole is “a region of space in which the gravitational field is so powerful that nothing…can escape its pull after having fallen past its event horizon.”  (

In relation to job hunting, the term ‘black hole’ has now taken on a new meaning—and reality—for job seekers using the ‘Apply Now’ button on job boards or company websites. How many resumes have you submitted recently? How many times have you heard back from a real person?? As you can see from the postings on this site, there ARE companies out there that are hiring, and one of the things we are attempting to achieve at The Job Exchange is to not only suggest alternatives to traditional job search techniques, but to begin to instill the concept of successfully using those techniques. One of those techniques, which will be addressed in a future posting, will discuss how to find—and use—the actual name and contact information of corporate recruiters and hiring managers.

Despite corporate recruiters’ lament that they can’t find qualified people to fill their most pressing openings, many—if not most—rely on the automated responses spit out of their Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to notify applicants that their resume has been received. Not reviewed, just received. This response is typically the only one an applicant will ever receive from a company. Most of us simply shrug our shoulders and accept the fact that no other communication will be forthcoming. Remember how Albert Einstein defined insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Here’s the bottom line: Stop wasting your time and effort responding to job board postings. In fact, don’t bother applying via a company’s web site, either. And, while you’re at it, cancel your subscriptions and remove your resumes from the boards. If you’re tired of the same response, or lack thereof, it is time for you to blaze your own path to full and satisfying employment by taking control of the application process.

Consider: A no-frills, tiny subscription to CareerBuilder will cost even a small business tens of thousands of dollars per year, so one can imagine what the large companies are paying for this service. Suppose job seekers suddenly stopped responding to their ads? Suppose we all found a way around this wall and began submitting resumes directly into recruiters’ inboxes? Of course, you will get an email advising you to go to their website to apply. But you will stand firm. You will refuse to go that route and be sucked into the abyss of The Resume Black Hole.

For me, it’s the thrill of the hunt. If I am targeting a desirable position in a certain company, I always assume that many other people are, as well. So how do I get what I want? I find a way to get to the person that I believe is doing the hiring for the position. This requires a fair amount of dogged determination, creative Googling, and maintaining a “squeaky wheel” mentality: I will find this person and get in his or her face until they either agree to speak with me or tell me to go away. I WILL go away, but only when I am told why I should do so, i.e., I’m not qualified, the position is filled, etc.

Job search engines ( can and should be your starting point in a search. It is from these sites that your hunting instincts and skills will take flight, and you begin to locate names and contact information of real people…and then submit a resume. Then call, call, call (and call).

As Kathleen Conners says on her website (, “people hire people.” At the site, Ms. Conners relates stories of the success job seekers have had after contacting recruiters directly. In one instance, a candidate submitted his resume and then called the recruiter to follow up. He was told that of the 117 applications, only 2 people actually called. Guess who got the job? While I am in no way a shill for Ms. Conners, I do think you will be inspired by what you read on her website. Her PeopleHirePeople Seminar was created to assist job candidates with their three major problems: building a job network, discovering companies with unadvertised jobs, and finding hiring managers.

03/10/2009 - Posted by | job search | , , ,


  1. I am very familiar with this black hole. But, it seems like so many job postings say no calls. Does it come down to call them or they won’t call you anyway?

    Comment by Ecommerce Job ... Where Are You? | 03/10/2009 | Reply

    • Rules are meant to be broken, no?

      Comment by Bear | 03/10/2009 | Reply

  2. You are so right on! I jut posted about the ultimate destination of the Black Hole-I call it the “graveyard of overwrought submissions”. et al are leading many of us to the site rather than conducting effective searches. Thanks for the encouragement!

    Comment by IGrewUp | 03/10/2009 | Reply

  3. I just read your post and you are so on target! I know recruiters are overwhelmed these days, but the job application process has become so impersonal and over-automated that it is no longer effective for either party.

    Comment by Bear | 03/10/2009 | Reply

  4. How to Research Companies
    To prepare effectively for a job search, learn as much as possible about the comapnies that interest you.

    This is an excellent resource for a background search on just about every aspect of a company.

    Comment by Bear | 03/11/2009 | Reply

  5. […] this chick just raised the bar really high for all of the job searchers who have grown weary from the black hole of online job applications. Will we all need to create a separate blog for each job we apply to? Actually, that’s not a […]

    Pingback by A New Way To Get A Great Job? @jamievaron and Her World Wide Rave in the Making « Adventures in Ecommerce | 03/11/2009 | Reply

  6. […] REMINDER: before submitting a resume, please refer to yesterday’s post “Apply Now: The Black Hole.” […]

    Pingback by Who’s Hiring from the “Best Companies” « The Job Exchange | 03/11/2009 | Reply

  7. […] One of the most dramatic changes in the job search process in the last few months has been the shift from recruiters to company career sites. Recruiters still have jobs, but not as many as they have traditionally had, as some companies opt to save the recruiting dollars where they can.  While agency recruiters are easier because they represent several employers and can send your resume to a wider selection, applying at individual company sites is a more difficult process, because you must individually apply at each site. And, of course, compete with all of the other resumes that have been submitted there. […]

    Pingback by Are Recruiters Becoming Irrelevant? « The Job Exchange | 03/12/2009 | Reply

  8. […] it. When they do spend it, they’re inundated, we apply, hear nothing, and get frustrated. The black hole of online job applications makes everyone feel like they’re wasting their time. No […]

    Pingback by Job Angels: Fixing the Broken Job Search One By One? « Adventures in Ecommerce | 03/13/2009 | Reply

  9. and so we should all stop wasting our time! No more food for the black hole!! Starve the beast.

    Comment by Anonymous | 03/13/2009 | Reply

  10. […] is the “right” way to apply for a job? Don’t all answer at once, ‘cause we know it’s the BLACK HOLE button on the job board or their career site. (Some call it the Apply Now […]

    Pingback by No Job For You! « The Job Exchange | 03/13/2009 | Reply

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