Why does getting ghosted feel so much different than being rejected? Part of it has to do with the mystery involved. Where did they go? What did we do wrong? What’s happening here?

Ghosting in personal circumstances is one thing. In business, it can have concrete financial consequences. A disappearing job candidate, especially late in the process, can lead to a significant drain on resources, causing delays and indecision.

In recent years, the situation has become increasingly common in the recruiting realm. A survey conducted by Indeed showed that more than eight out of ten employers (83%) have had a job candidate suddenly break off communication.

In some respects, ghosting can be attributed to the strong job market of the last few years. Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak (which, of course, has thrown a major wrench into the economy), unemployment had been hovering around multi-decade lows. The tight labor market gave strong candidates many options…enough that they could dump some prospective opportunities without much ceremony.

The Indeed survey data backs up this claim. The figures show that 69% of employers saw ghosting as a relatively new problem, arising in the last couple years. The figures also suggest that a relatively few number of candidates are the root of the ghosting problem. While 83% of employers have been ghosted, only 18% of candidates say they have done the ghosting.

Even if the strong job market contributed to the problem, ghosting will likely remain an issue even in the post-COVID economic climate. With unemployment rates approaching 15%, candidates will surely be more attentive to every potential employer.

However, there are signs of longer-term problem. Just look at that Indeed data from another perspective. Sure, 69% of employers see ghosting as a relatively recent phenomenon. But that implies that nearly a third (31%) don’t have the same perspective, suggesting the problem could have been simmering for some time. Meanwhile, the other stat points to nearly a fifth of job candidates admitting to a penchant for ghosting.

Obviously, the threat of ghosting is still, well…haunting the job market. With that in mind, here are a few things you can do:

Streamline Your Recruitment Operation

The hiring process can sometimes unfold over a long period of time. You might contact a candidate early in cycle, and then let weeks pass before reaching out again. This opens the door to ghosting. Candidates get other opportunities, or simply get frustrated with the wait.

You can alleviate this problem by shortening your timeline. Try to close the gap between your first contact with potential candidates and a final hiring decision. A streamlined recruitment process will reduce ghosting by lowering the chances that frustrated applicants to move on to other opportunities.

Maintain Consistent Communication

Touch base with candidates during the process. Encourage them to reach out to you, and occasionally ping them as you proceed through your hiring checklist.

If your process will take some time, you can lower the chances of ghosting by being upfront about your timeline. Candidates get frustrated when they continually hear that you will review their materials “soon.” Provide a concrete schedule…one that you can reasonably stick to.

Establish Short-Term Deadlines

Some ghosting causes more problems than others. A no-show at an interview, when you’ve assembled your entire hiring team, wastes a lot of time (and creates a significant level of embarrassment). However, not hearing back from a candidate when you’ve assigned, say, a pre-hire essay – that makes a much smaller impact. Annoying, yet manageable.

Test that your candidates are engaged in the process before devoting significant resources. Here are a few things you can schedule early in the process to lower the chances you’ll get ghosted at a key moment later:

  • Candidate Questionnaire
  • Practical Tests
  • Personal Essays
  • Additional References
  • Pre-interviews with Lower-Level Staff

By creating small deadlines along the way, you let applicants show they are committed to further participation. These tasks will also let you know if they are able to follow a pre-set timeline.

Take an “It’s Not Me, It’s Them” Mentality

Getting ghosted is frustrating. But, on a practical level, it’s also no different than having a candidate turn you down in a more formal way. Ghosting may be rude, but it reflects more on the disappearing job applicant than it does on you.

The key is not to allow the situation to drain your resources. Attempt to contact your candidates. If you don’t hear back in a reasonable time, move on. There’s no value in chasing a potential hire who doesn’t actually want to get hired.

Another way to avoid ghosting? Use a staffing agency. A top-flight recruiter, like PrideStaff, can provide the team members you need quickly and efficiently, without a lengthy, frustrating process.

Contact PrideStaff today to learn more.

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