Candidate ghosting - the nightmare of recruitment

By Robert Half 23 February 2019

The jobseeker’s profile is perfect. And in your first in-person meeting with the candidate, the two of you just seemed to click. Everything is on track for your next top recruit.

But since the interview, you haven’t heard a peep, even though you’ve sent several messages and even tried calling.

Welcome to the frustrating world of candidate ghosting.

The dating world coined the word “ghosting” to describe when a person abruptly cuts off all contact and seems to vanish from the face of the earth with no explanation. During a professional recruitment process, this scenario is increasingly common as well.

According to a recent report by Linkedin, 95% of recruiters have experienced candidates who disappeared after the job interview without a whisper.

To avoid being ghosted during the hiring process, you need to first understand this trend.

Why are jobseekers ghosting employers?

To some extent, the rise of professional ghosting is due to a general erosion of once-sacrosanct etiquette standards. Many of today’s jobseekers would rather avoid confrontation and awkwardness than deliver bad news. You could also call it payback or karma, as hiring managers have long been known to ghost people after interviews.

But the main explanation is that workers simply have more choices today. In the current market, managers are struggling to fill vacancies while skilled candidates often field multiple job offers. With so many options, candidates simply may not care whether they burn a few bridges along the way. This is particularly true among entry-level positions with lower wages.

Additionally, workers care about corporate culture when seeking employment. If a candidate feels your company’s values don’t align with their preferences, they may simply stop communicating with you and focus on other potential employers instead.

Five ways to avoid ghosting by candidates

Should you just shrug your shoulders and consider that ghosting is the new normal? Not necessarily. Here are some steps you can take to reduce your chances of being ghosted by jobseekers.

1. Streamline your hiring process

Other employers are likely courting your dream applicants as well, so you need to make your move quickly. Interview your top candidates right away rather than waiting for a critical mass before you bring them all in.

2. Play by the Golden Rule

Ghosting works both ways. You don’t like it, and neither do jobseekers. When you treat them with respect, your company will gain a reputation for being considerate and professional. So, make it a point to communicate promptly with all candidates — not just the ones you’re interested in hiring. People talk.

3. Make an offer they can’t refuse

With record-low unemployment rates, you don’t have the luxury of lowballing the salary, even if you’re willing to negotiate it higher. You can avoid turning off your top pick if you extend above-average compensation right away. A sign-on bonus, telecommuting option and other top perks would sweeten the deal.

For more information on salaries, consult the Robert Half Salary Guide.

4. Use alternative forms of communication

Some millennials and Gen Zers don’t check email often. And they are unlikely to take a phone call from an unknown number. If you’re having trouble reaching interviewees, send them a text message instead.

5. Craft messages that encourage a response

Win interviewees back to the table with persuasive language. Personalise the communication by mentioning what you admire about their skill set and how they’d be a valuable addition to your team. End the message with specific next steps, such as “I’d like to schedule a follow-up meeting for later this week to discuss the job offer and a possible start date.”

As long as skilled candidates have the upper hand, employers run the risk of being ghosted. The key is to treat jobseekers fairly and with respect, and then hope they have the courtesy of doing the same.

This article was originally featured as What to Do When a Job Candidate Ghosts You on the Robert Half US Blog.

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