Ghosting in the Recruitment World

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The term ghosting is a fairly new word that comes from the online dating world. It refers to the practice of talking with someone and suddenly disappearing on them. This is achieved by not replying to texts, emails, phone calls (or even smoke signals) until the other person gets the message that you’re no longer interested.

The funny thing about this phenomenon is that it doesn’t only apply to the online dating world, it can also happen between job seekers and recruiters.

In previous entries, we’ve explained how a few years ago, companies had all the leverage when it came to hiring new workers. Back then, there was a surplus of unemployed people and not enough jobs to go around. So, companies could afford to start the recruitment process with many candidates, choose the one they liked, and simply discard and stop communicating with the rest without so much as a “thank you for your time”!

But let’s not go so far back in time. Some industries still make this mistake involuntarily as a consequence of applying mass recruitment campaigns. Rather than being something deliberate, these ghosting cases result from logistic and managerial errors. Putting into practice a large-scale recruiting process can result in HR departments being swamped with applications and more than their bargained for. This forces recruiters to act fast and sometimes carelessly, which could result in forgetting to contact candidates who weren’t selected for the next step of the process and even missing the opportunity to retain the best talent.

However, what goes around, comes around! Times have changed and candidates now have all the power. With an excess of jobs available and not enough candidates to fill them, it is them who have the choice. With such a high offer of vacancies, job seekers have become more selective and have higher expectations regarding the work environment, company culture, career advancement opportunities and the advantage and benefits offered by the company they’d like to join. So, let’s face it: If you’ve been working for some time in the recruitment world, you probably have been ghosted by a candidate before.

According to a recent study, almost 50% of job seekers have ghosted a recruiter at some point in their life. It’s a major issue for companies that invests a lot of time, effort, and money into finding and engaging a new hire, to have it all go to waste because their star candidate vanished into thin air.

In most cases, when a candidate suddenly disappears on you it’s because they found a company that did a better job at engaging them. It’s not always about who offered more money, it’s a matter of catching the candidate’s interest and keeping them hooked through the entire process.

The best way to avoid being ghosted by a candidate is to engage them from the very beginning. And that starts before you contact them after seeing their résumé. The first point of contact between a company and a potential hire is when the latter sees the job ad online. Engaging a candidate is like generating a lead. Candidate first has to hear about you, get interested in you, and finally apply to work at your company.

The first thing to do would be to make sure your job offer has enough visibility on the web by using all communication channels at your disposal. Then, you should give your job description the importance it deserves and use it to sell yourself as the best place to work. And finally, you should make sure the candidate is aware of all the different steps of the process and keep them informed of the status of their application. Also, don’t forget to let them know you’re here for them if they have any questions regarding the position, the company, the work environment, etc...

Last but not least, don’t forget to treat your candidates the same way you’d like to be treated – with respect and honesty. Be clear and transparent during the entire hiring process. If there’s one thing that scares off a good candidate is a company that doesn’t keep an open communication channel and keeps them in the dark.

When you invest time and effort in building a strong relationship and a good rapport with your candidate, you will see the difference. Ghosting is nothing but a response to the lack of interest shown by a company towards a candidate.

Be the kind of company that people want to work for and you’ll see that the number of candidates that ghost you will decrease considerably.

Grace Cattini
Content Editor & Copywriter