Special Halloween Edition - Don't Be Scared: Put an End to Ghosting Candidates.

No, really, we’re as surprised as you that we need to keep talking about this. But you keep asking about it, so here we are.
Oct 24, 2019
Emily Goor
Emily Goor
Managed Recruiting Practice
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“Ghosting” has become a popular term for describing when a candidate fails to respond to an interview or job offer; or when a recruiter or hiring manager fails to follow up with a candidate about the interview or hiring process. It’s especially popular these days to blame this behavior on younger candidates and their focus on their own needs and wants. But we know ghosting happens on all levels. It has also has gone on for 20-plus years. 

Why Candidates Don’t Respond

When candidates disappear from the hiring process, we believe there are several factors:

  1. Some companies are automating the interview process with too much technology. This comes at the expense of building relationships with job seekers. By the time an offer comes around (which in many of these cases is after an unreasonably long period of time), candidates don’t feel an attachment to anyone within the company, and they don’t feel a responsibility to respond.
  2. We’re currently in a candidate-driven market, and people are getting multiple offers quickly. Companies without a clear, concise hiring process are losing people to companies that streamline things more efficiently. Some companies have great HR people, but they’re over-burdened with far too much of a workload to build strong relationships with job seekers. In other cases, the HR resources themselves are too junior or inexperienced to know why the candidate experience is important. In either event, companies are often unaware that the job seeker may be off the market quickly, or if they are aware of the individual’s activity, they have no idea that their company ranks near the bottom of the candidate’s list.

This is not to totally absolve job seekers who do this, but you can only control what’s in your domain.

What You Can Do

There are a number of steps you can take to address your own behavior, and we cover this in more depth in our recent post on recruiter self-help. But for now, please consider the following: 

  1. Build a strong relationship with the candidates. Try to build a rapport in the first call and work to improve on that in each subsequent conversation or meeting. If someone feels like they are “just a number” to you, you’re going to have a hard time getting them to accept a job. And if that’s what your hiring process feels like, candidates aren’t going to feel vested in the process.
  2. Be transparent by consistently providing updates during the process. If the process is dragging on longer than expected, do your best to explain why. Let the candidate know you haven’t forgotten about them.
  3. Get your process right and do your best to eliminate areas where the hiring process falls apart. Push hiring managers for a clear understanding of what they are looking for. Insist that they provide timely feedback on candidates at every phase of the process.  Commit to closing the loop with every single candidate, no matter the stage of the hiring process.
  4. Get organized if follow-ups aren’t happening because you can’t keep up with who is in process. That is on you. Hopefully your ATS can help you with this, but if it can’t, use a spreadsheet to track everyone involved in the process.  

What Candidates Can Do 

While we are on the topic, what can job seekers candidates do to avoid being ghosted?

You can start by helping yourselves. If you don’t hear from a recruiter or hiring manager, you can shoot that person a note. There’s a good chance your contact has a million things on their plate. Help them out by being proactive. 

Maybe ghosting isn’t something you’ve experienced or been around, and if so, good for you. Because companies that do a great job with hiring likely don’t have these problems.

Final Thoughts

There are times where we offer a series of calls to action and steps you can take to bring these posts to life, but this time we are trying something different and want to just suggest the following:

If you know someone at your organization who is ghosting candidates, say something to them or those they report to.

We all know how ghosting feels, and it’s an unfortunate habit that makes all of us look bad.

Emily Goor
Emily Goor
Managed Recruiting Practice

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