A few months ago, a Wall Street Journal article about candidates and new hires “ghosting” recruiters was all the talk on LinkedIn. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, it comes from the world of online dating and refers to when a person abruptly ceases all contact with someone they had previously expressed interest in. It’s a rude act that is reportedly making its way from the social world to the professional.
The article’s author, Chip Cutter, did an excellent job capturing the dismay of recruiting professionals who have been ghosted. He shared an anecdote from a recruiter who was so shocked by a candidate’s sudden unresponsiveness, she genuinely feared something bad had happened. Another recruiter has grown so accustomed to interview no-shows, she started overbooking slots knowing many people weren’t going to show up.
There are different theories on why ghosting is suddenly happening with regularity. Some believe young people lack the manners to pick up the phone or send an email notifying the hiring company they’re no longer interested. Others say it’s a side effect of the surging economy. As the unemployment rate continues to decline, job seekers are enjoying more employment opportunities than they have in a long time.
When the article was making the rounds on LinkedIn, many people were quick to point out they have experienced similar behavior from hiring companies. Job seekers commonly vent about not hearing back from recruiters after a phone screening or even an in-person interview. It’s disheartening for a candidate when they go from feeling optimistic about getting a new job to not receiving a response to their follow-up email.
We’re not saying it’s okay for a candidate to ghost one recruiter just because another did it to them. But hiring companies should consider if they’re treating candidates with the respect they expect in return.
At Recruiterbox, we’re big advocates of providing a positive candidate experience. Doing so increases the chances a talented, in-demand professional selects your opportunity over another. And if they don’t, they’ll likely let you know if you were kind to them throughout the process. Let’s explore different ways your organization can provide a favorable candidate experience and how each prevents ghosting.
The careers section of your organization’s website shouldn’t just list the roles you’re hiring for. It should also include information about what it’s like to be an employee. Outline your brand’s values, what your workplace is like, the employee benefits and perks you provide, and any other information that sets your company apart. Highlighting the employee experience results in like-minded candidates applying.
Sure, notifying someone they’re not getting a job is a nice gesture. But you should strive to be in touch with candidates as much as possible throughout the hiring process. In addition to emailing or calling a candidate to schedule next steps, update them in between developments. For example, if Friday rolls around and you’re waiting for the hiring team to review skills evaluation test, send them a quick email before the weekend so they can rest easy. With Recruiterbox, you can create email templates for messages you commonly send.
The start-to-finish hiring process takes 42 days on average, according to an SHRM study.
For many candidates, that’s too long to wait, especially if they’ve applied to multiple companies. Do your best to move quickly and, of course, notify candidates when you’ve made any decision that concerns them. If you streamline your hiring process and keep candidates updated, they’ll likely stay invested in your opportunity, instead of shifting their attention elsewhere.
A surefire way to lose a candidate’s interest is to offer them a salary below their expectations. Even if the compensation is fair, people can take offense if they feel they’re worth more. The best thing you can do is eliminate the candidates early on who are never going to accept your offer. Ask about expected salary during initial phone screenings or even on the application so you proceed with people who are on the same page as you. Using Recruiterbox, you can include custom questions on your online applications.
Interviews reveal a lot about your organization. If a candidate leaves with a bad taste in their mouth, there is a good chance you’re not going to hear from them again.
Conducting respectful interviews doesn’t mean not asking tough questions. Your team can and should do that. It means being considerate of the time and effort a candidate devotes to coming in for an interview and helping them feel comfortable while they’re there. Let them know ahead of time how long the interview will take and who they’ll meet with. Go as far as to give them directions to your workplace and recommend appropriate interview attire. Lastly, train your interviewers to ask effective questions, in a respectful way.
While ghosting mostly happens during the hiring process, some recruiters say they’ve also had new hires no show for their first day. That’s a big blow for an organization that just invested so many resources in a long hiring journey.
Consider what happens with a candidate after they accept your offer. Maybe the reality of starting a new job with a new boss and coworkers makes them feel anxious. Or possibly their current employer talks them into staying. Excitement can fade in the time between the final interview and day one, especially if you’re not in touch.
You can prevent a candidate from second-guessing their decision by staying in contact with them before their start date. Schedule a lunch with their new teammates or invite them into the office so they can get to know everyone in a casual setting. Even sending a quick email letting them know you’re anticipating their arrival (“We set up your desk today and are looking forward to seeing you next week”) goes a long way in reaffirming their commitment.
Providing a favorable candidate experience not only decreases the likelihood a candidate suddenly falls out of touch. It leaves a good impression on the people you interact with. They’ll see your organization is a great place to work and will share their positive experience with others.