Candidate Ghosting

Candidate Ghosting

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The art of disappearing without a word – Ghosting.   It has become the daily frustration of human resource managers.  In our pandemic job market and economic slump, ghosting has become a commonplace practice among job seekers.

At some point in our lives, we have all been coached on the norms and practices of applying, interviewing, and negotiating for jobs.  We have learned how to write a great resume, dress to impress for the interview, articulate our responses to those common interview questions, and write a professional and polite thank you note following the interview.

According to a February 2021 report by Indeed, 28% of job applicants had ghosted a prospective employer over the past year.  Employers report that 76% of them have been ghosted, with 57% saying it is more common than ever.  Some candidates disappear after their initial interview.  Others do not show up at all for a scheduled interview, and a small section of those ghosts do not even show up for their first day on the job.

How have we gone from that polite thank you note to not even showing up?

A combination of technology, a rise in rudeness in our country, and the ease of applying for jobs have made the job search experience impersonal, resulting in the rise in ghosting.  It has become almost socially acceptable to cut ties without letting the other person know why as it relates to the job market.

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Keep in mind these three reasons a candidate may ghost you:

1.  Poor communication.  Lack of information includes acknowledging receipt of the resume and lack of information on where they stand as candidates.  Communicate regularly with your candidate throughout the process, including the post-offer stage.

2. The employers have unclear core values, such as the culture within the company.  What is their culture like?  What makes them stand out, and why is this company a great place to work?

3.  Two-thirds of candidates ghost potential employers because they found a job with higher wages or better benefits.

If you have been ghosted more than once, consider this your red flag and reevaluate your hiring process.   A CareerBuilder study found that 35% of hiring managers are increasing their contact with the job candidate between the offer and the start date to alleviate ghosting.

Take a step back and look at your recruitment process. Is it efficient and streamlined?  If the candidate is not a good fit, let them know right away.  If their application is under review, give them that exciting update.  Build trust and respect with all candidates by communicating at every stage of the review process.

Discuss salary earlier than would generally be discussed.  Handle this in the prescreening process to ensure both parties are on the same page.  Possibly add pay and salary rates on the initial job posting.

Follow up with the candidate even if they are not a fit for you right now.  If you can tell they are not a fit, let them know from the start.  Ask if you can hold their application for a possible future position.

Streamlining the application process and communicating with applicants will save time for all parties involved.  Recruiters and employment managers could also try to show some empathy.  About 80 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits.  People are stressed and worried about their future.  Kindness will help improve your company’s brand, and reputation and people will recognize that you and your company care.

Photo by Tandem X Visuals on Unsplash

Dave Murphy

The Alpine Group

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