By Mara Miller
You’ve decided to hire someone. You posted your job ad. You’ve gone through the process of reading resumes and reviewing assessments. Out of several candidates, one stands out. You invite them to schedule an interview. And then you wait. You double-check the email and resend the invitation. You call and leave a voicemail, and for good measure, you send a text. You still don’t receive a response. Then the realization hits you. You’re on the receiving end of “ghosting.”
The term “ghosting” is not new. It’s been around for years, more commonly used in the dating world. However, recruiters have picked up on the term to refer to candidates who disappear during the interview process. While the ghosting job trend started before the COVID-19 pandemic, the occurrences have increased over the last couple of years. But why are candidates ghosting employers?
Here are ten (10) reasons candidates have given as to why they have ghosted employers.
Reasons for Ghosting:
- Long Application Process
Talent is in high demand. Hundreds of job opportunities are available. Candidates have choices. If your application process is long or has too many steps, the candidate will simply stop filling in their information or responding and move on to another company.
To avoid this, go through your entire application and interview process to experience what your candidates do. Are there any ways you can streamline your hiring process? How long does it take for you to contact candidates?
- Multiple Interviews
You may run the risk of losing candidates if you have multiple interviews. Although it is understandable you want to avoid making a bad hire, also understand the candidate is looking for employment and will look for a company that is interested in them and will make a decision quickly. In 29% of cases, candidates say they ghosted because the recruiter or hiring manager took too long to get back to them.
- Lack of Communication
13% of candidates say communication issues are one of the reasons for ghosting a recruiter or manager. Candidates are looking for communication, transparency, empathy, and authenticity from the company they apply to. Even a rejection is considered better than disappearing. Ghosting is not beneficial to your employer’s brand and can even put a strain on getting referrals for new hires.
Here are some tips to keep your candidates in the loop every step of the way:
- Texts, emails, and phone calls are a way to show a candidate your interest and that you have an appreciation for the candidate’s interest in your company.
- Most people, candidates especially, prefer receiving text messages. They are more convenient and they will open them faster than an email or voicemail.
- When sending a text message, keep messages short and professional.
- Only cancel or reschedule interviews if necessary and when you have communicated this to the candidate.
- No Flexibility in Scheduling Interviews
If you are sticking to a rigid schedule of only interviewing candidates during your business hours, instead of when it would be convenient for them, you may not get many interviews. Candidates may be working during the times you have listed for availability, which means you may be losing out on great talent by not being more accommodating.
Try opening up your schedule and offering options in the evening and on the weekends. By striving to accommodate candidates’ schedules, they may be more likely to move ahead in the process, even if their current weekday schedules don’t allow for in-person interviews.
- A Bad Onboarding Process
You only get one chance to make a first impression. And if that first impression is bad, your new employee may exit quickly. 30% of new employees leave an organization within the first 6 months of hire.
To avoid this from happening, take the time to show them you care. Onboarding an employee is not an event you can skip. This process is key to a new employee’s success in their role as well as feeling like they are part of the company team and culture.
- More Attractive Job Offers
28% of candidates said they dropped out of the interview process after accepting a better job offer. 29% of candidates dropped out due to being offered higher salaries by the other company.
To stay competitive, conduct job market research to assess what your competitors are offering candidates. You want to make sure your compensation package is competitive and you don’t continue to lose talent.
- Inaccurate Job Role
27% of candidates said they have ghosted the interview process or their new job due to inaccurate job descriptions given by the employer. The description may omit the main details of the position, such as responsibilities, hours, location, or amount of travel.
The job ad is the beginning of a conversation with future employees. Be honest about the job role. Many candidates are more confident about the job market and have no problem walking away from a job to go find another. If this happens, you have a vacant spot again and your company is viewed as untrustworthy.
- Poor Reputation/Online Reviews
26% of candidates dropped out of the process after deeper research on a company. If the reviews are negative from customers or employees (past and present), the candidate will not hesitate to ghost you to avoid similar situations previous employees had.
Pay close attention to your employer branding. What are people saying about you? What does your online presence look like? Do you respond to business reviews professionally? Remember: candidates can see all of that and they will decide if they want to work for you based on that information.
- Disliked Perceived Work Culture
Candidates are likely to ghost when they get a bad feeling about the culture of a company. 22% of candidates say they have dropped out of the process after going into a company for an interview and experiencing the company culture firsthand.
Employers can be proactive by having an open mind about their company culture and getting feedback from their employees on how to make it better. Showing that you care about what your employees say and implementing some of their suggestions will go a long way.
- Interview Process
46% of candidates have admitted to simply not showing up for a scheduled interview. Reasons? They did not receive a confirmation email. They did not receive the address for the face-to-face interview. They did not receive clear directions to the site of the interview. They were not given prior warnings about parking fees, locked gates, or buildings. And their phone calls went unanswered.
Although this may all sound silly to you, look at it from the candidate’s perspective. Going into an unfamiliar environment is difficult. Add on the job interview and the situation becomes stressful. And if all that information is left out or there is no confirmation email, candidates are left feeling like the employer changed their mind.
To ensure this does not happen, create a template to send to candidates you will be interviewing and provide them with detailed information about the interview, such as date, time, location, directions or landmarks, and who will be conducting the interview. Encourage the candidate to call if there are any issues or if they do not receive the email. Also, inform your staff that if the candidate calls send it to you. Or give the candidate your direct line.
Employers aren’t blameless in this environment.
77% of applicants say they’ve been ghosted by a prospective employer since the pandemic. And 73% of employers admit they have ghosted candidates recently. Ultimately, it’s about putting yourself in a candidate’s shoes.
What would you want from a recruiter and hiring manager right now? What would make a business stand out from the competition and make you want to move toward an offer? Those engagement tactics are good next steps to help curb ghosting.