Are candidates ghosting you? Failing to show up for an interview, even dropping out after an offer is made? If it seems like it’s happening more often, you’re not alone. Data shows a nearly 10% increase in 2021 compared to 2019.
Want to know why?
For starters, candidates have been experiencing ghosting for a long time, and they still are at much higher rates than the reverse. It doesn’t make it right on either side — it is rude and unprofessional in any circumstance — but it certainly makes it more likely that a candidate will ghost you.
It’s more than that, though. People don’t call back because they have lost interest. Somewhere in the process they stopped wanting to work for you. Ghosting is just a symptom of a broken hiring system. So, what’s the best way to ensure your ideal candidate doesn’t ghost you?
Don’t give them a reason to.
Some candidates will withdraw no matter what you do, but there are also specific reasons why other people are dropping out without so much as a goodbye. Thankfully, they can be identified and fixed. Surveys reveal, in addition to ghosting, the following issues:
- A lack of relevant, accurate information about the position
- A lackluster effort to “sell” the company
- A hiring process that takes too long
- A job with better pay and benefits
Some of these issues are a matter of the candidate’s opinion, but there are still concrete steps companies and recruiters can take to avoid being charged with such offenses. Let’s take a look:
- Stay in touch at every step of the process. Do not ghost anyone, at any stage. Automate the process to ensure that every applicant is acknowledged from the start and informed of whether they will move on to each subsequent stage — this is especially important early on when there are more candidates in the mix. The sooner you communicate personally, the better, so identifying your top candidates quickly is a priority. The further someone makes it in the process, the more important it is to personally and professionally let them know if they are not offered the position. We all know that people talk, so protect your reputation and avoid burning a bridge with someone you might want to hire later on.
- Provide accurate and relevant information throughout the process. This may seem simple, but it covers a lot of things. Take job descriptions, for example: When you provide vague descriptions or unrealistic qualifications, you put certain candidates — who may not realize they’re underqualified until it’s too late — in a position to fail. And if you don’t include clear compensation info (i.e., people’s biggest concern when applying) early on in the process, some applicants may walk away disappointed when their expectations aren’t met. The more transparent you are from the very beginning, the less likely it is that you will be ghosted after investing significant time and effort.
- Ensure your candidates have a great experience. Don’t leave things to chance. Understand that the experience starts the moment they apply. You need to sell the position to them, and you want them to feel excited about the opportunity. Train your people to interview well. Ensure that the candidate experience showcases the best of your company. Don’t act as if anyone would be lucky to work here — that’s never an effective attitude to have, and right now especially, it will lose you people.
- Speed things up. I’m not the first person giving this advice…because it’s just good advice! Hiring is a time-consuming process that has to compete with the actual work your company does. I understand that people are busy, schedules are tight, and the pandemic has complicated it all even more. But those reasons also reveal why it’s critical to streamline as much as possible. Scheduling team interviews — or at least scheduling all of them on the same day — is a good idea. Getting rid of red tape, multiple layers of approval, or other procedural roadblocks can help, too. Finally, consider committing to making a decision within a certain time frame rather than letting the position remain open and accepting applicants for months. You’ll miss out on someone good while you’re waiting for the purple unicorn.
- Review and compare your salary and other compensation to current market offerings. If you are losing candidates late in the process, even being ghosted after making an employment offer, it’s probably the money. First, make sure your rates are competitive or be prepared to have a harder time filling jobs. Second, emphasize that you are willing to negotiate and potentially meet other offers, if possible. It’s a strategy that needs to be employed carefully and with your best candidates and most critical positions, but it may help you avoid the ghosting and at least have a chance.
You might not eliminate ghosting in your hiring process, but you can certainly reduce it. With the competition for talent as fierce as it’s ever been, you want to make sure your process is as good as it can be. I hope these tips help!