How to Avoid Being Professionally Ghosted

SUBJECT MATTER | Aug 6, 2018

Radio silence — that’s all that some recruiters are hearing from job candidates. The professional world has taken a page from the dating world’s book. Job candidates are now ghosting companies after interviews and job offers.

“Ghosting” is a term commonly used in online dating. It’s when one party in a relationship withdraws from all communication without warning. It’s rude, uncalled for, and, unfortunately, starting to become popular among job candidates. Some candidates don’t show up for scheduled interviews. Others never give recruiters answers after job offers are extended. Some don’t even show up to their first day of work after accepting an offer. They just… ghost.

There are a few possible explanations for job candidates ghosting recruiters. Maybe individuals want to avoid conflict and the task of saying “no” to a job. Or, maybe many job seekers have been ghosted by recruiters in the past, so they feel it is an acceptable practice. More likely, however, is the current labor shortage. For the first time, there are more current job openings in the U.S. than eligible workers. According to CNBC, companies are struggling to find qualified talent for the 6.7 million job openings currently in the U.S. Employers know this and expect to have to pay more or offer other incentives to attract top talent. What they don’t expect, though, is having to beg for a call back.

With this practice becoming more and more prevalent, learn how to avoid being ghosted:

  1. Improve candidate experience. Make it hard for candidates to ghost you. Everything you expect from a candidate, such as being friendly and personable, is what candidates also expect from you. Top candidates are using this interview to size up your company. Make them feel like they belong.
  2. Speed up interview-to-hire process. Don’t give candidates time to give up on the process or accept another job. If something is going to take some time, such as a background check or drug test, let them know in advance. After extending an offer, give a deadline for when you need to hear back.
  3. Look for signs. While some people ghost companies out of the blue, others are predictable. Look for hints that someone isn’t completely sold on the job. If candidates take a while to respond to communication from the beginning of the process, it’s probably not going to improve. Continually pushing back a start date is another ghosting premonition.
  4. Consistency is key. Everyone the candidate comes into contact with needs to have the same story. If the original job posting is different from what the recruiter says, and what the recruiter says is different than what the hiring manager says, the candidate can feel lied to or think the company is disorganized.
  5. Be straightforward (and ask the same from them). Throughout the process, tell the candidate what the next steps are. Don’t leave him or her in the dark on what’s going on behind the scenes. End every conversation with how long it will take to hear from you next. If you get in the habit or sharing deadlines, you will demonstrate that timing matters. Also, be straightforward with your questions. Ask candidates which way is best to contact them and what their job hunt entails.

Don’t let your top candidates disappear. Keeping your interviewees in the loop, maintaining consistent contact, and giving a good, speedy experience will help you hire the qualified employees your company needs — and avoid getting ghosted!

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