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Candidate “Ghosting”: A Sad, New Trend in Hiring?
by Chris Hodge 4 minute read
Many candidates feel it is unnecessary to engage in an awkward conversation with a recruiter or hiring manager…Recruiters and talent teams alike are reporting more and more ghost sightings. And no, these sightings are not referring to the annoying specters of the paranormal variety. Rather, “ghosting” is a term originally made popular by millennials, and is more commonly associated with dating – when one party suddenly ends a relationship by means of an inexplicable withdrawal from all communications.
“Ghosting” in the world of hiring happens when a job candidate disjoins from the recruitment or on-boarding process without any notice and simply vanishes. It’s hard enough when an at-will employee submits his or her two weeks’ notice, but ghosting can leave talent and recruiting teams in the lurch when a critical role was expected to be filled by a qualified candidate, who then doesn’t show up.
Why do Candidates “Ghost?”
There are a number of contributing factors as to why this happens in the first place.
The low unemployment rate indicates that the competition for talent has reached a fevered pitch. In some cases, this has resulted in top-tier candidates having the luxury of selecting from multiple offers. Technology has also facilitated the ability for people not only to communicate easily, but to avoid others just as easily and with little-to-no repercussions. Essentially, a lack of face-to-face conversation and no personal contact translates to relationships that can lack depth.
Simply put, many candidates feel it is unnecessary to engage in an awkward conversation with a recruiter or hiring manager when they can take the easy way out and simply “ghost” them.
Tips to Avoid Getting “Ghosted”
The shift from a fully one-sided, employer-driven market to a candidate-driven market has suddenly made the following axioms more important than ever before.
Respect candidates’ time and commitment with small and frequent status updates to keep them in-the-know and hungry for the position. Gone are the days of being so cold and distant that even top candidates wonder where they stand in the process, sometimes left on edge for months at a time.
Hopefully, “ghosting” will become something you only read about on the news, in blog posts, or hear about through the grapevine.Keep them excited. Reveal fun news that may have recently come out about your company. Which might even include new plans you have in-progress for your product, but clarify that you can only reveal glimpses until they join. Sometimes the little things make a big difference, such as retellings of office music battles, details on bagel Tuesdays, or even the rundown on your quarterly potluck.
Be flexible if you have to, and understand that not everyone can start right away. At the same time, seek commitment and investment; don’t hesitate to engage them throughout that lull prior to their official start date.
Get creative. Bring the barriers down a bit and make them feel at home. Invite them to lunch to meet the team. Encourage them to come on-site for 20-minutes of face-time with their future colleagues. Get them both intellectually and emotionally involved, even if that’s just a few quick phone calls.
With thoughtfulness, empathy, and a proactive approach, you can reduce your chances of ever encountering this frightful candidate experience, first-hand. Hopefully, “ghosting” will become something you only read about on the news, in blog posts, or hear about through the grapevine.
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