Superman rejected for job

Lessons for Employers – Don’t be a Resume Black Hole


On June 7, 2013, I got this email from the University of Minnesota.

University of Minnesota Job Rejection


It’s a basic form letter job rejection. Funny thing is, I applied to the position in September 2011. That’s 22 months between application and rejection.

That’s right.

The University of Minnesota is what is known as a resume black hole.

The job I had applied for was a temporary position for the Spring 2012 semester. So not only was the rejection ridiculously late, the job was also over by a good year.

That’s the kind of response time that deserves several slow claps.



I responded to this one because I could.

“Seriously? 20 months after I applied?

No need for luck in my job search. I found employment over a year ago. Thanks.”

Shortly after that, I got a phone message from an employee at the U of M. He left his name, then seemed to think better of it and hung up.

Prior to this one, the worst late rejection was about 7 months after I started working. I gotta say, if your company takes this long to get its stuff together, I can’t imagine you are getting the top notch candidates. It’s rather impressive that you found anyone that was still available.

So often during the job hunting process, we send out our resumes, spend an hour or two on your online application system that needlessly wastes our time only for the computer to determine we are not good enough to do the same job for you that we did for someone else for five years.

Seriously, this also happened at the University of Minnesota. I applied there for the same job I had done for another land grant university. While doing that job, I earned several national awards. The U of M only wanted two to three years of experience in the field. I had five.

Their computer system determined I was not qualified enough for the position.

That’s what being a resume black hole is. Your system is cutting out the candidates you are looking for, and then we have to read web articles about how hard a time employers have finding the right people.

The other part of being a black hole is never sending anything back. Most of the time, the U of M doesn’t tell you your progress. You have to log back in to find that out. A company can also be a black hole by doing a phone interview, or in person interviews, and never calling or sending any follow up to let you know they went “in another direction.” This goes for any company that uses a Taleo HR system. Haven’t heard of Taleo? You are lucky.

Here’s the thing – if you want to hire people who are punctual, communicative, diligent, and able to multi-task, your HR team should also have these qualities. Big companies have been able to get along with using black hole systems because when the unemployment rate is as high as it is, they can. They get hundreds of applicants for any position so they don’t have to be human. But as unemployment rates drop, they may have to start changing.

I think that Human Resources departments would do the world a big favor by acting like their resources are humans – you know, deserving of a bit of dignity, like a note saying sorry it won’t work out, or a telegram, or a pigeon.

And hopefully it doesn’t take 22 months to arrive.

Share Button

1 thought on “Lessons for Employers – Don’t be a Resume Black Hole

  1. Resume Black Hole is a very interesting term. Those of us who are well beyond the resume writing and interviewing processes have not experienced the fear of falling into that hole. Thank you for sharing your personal experiences so that we can get a better glimpse of the ridiculous actions/non-actions of HR personnel and the pain it causes. I would give anything to be on a hiring team and treat prospective employees with the respect they deserve. However, I imagine I am not “qualified” for that job!!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *