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Preventing the Scare of Candidate Ghosting

By Matt Thomas, President, Worksmart

Ghosts used to refer to the spooky figures shown in horror movies. Now, “ghosting” has become a commonplace term in the dating world to describe a sudden halt in communication between two people without explanation. Unfortunately, ghosting is also happening more frequently in the hiring and recruiting process, and this occurrence can be just as fear-inducing.

Known as “candidate ghosting,” this happens when recruiters interview a seemingly interested candidate, maybe even sending them an offer letter, but the candidate stops responding to emails and answering their phone. They simply disappear, vanishing like a ghost, leaving organizations feeling frustrated and confused. While the candidate might have accepted another offer, realized they no longer want the position, or relocated, one thing is for certain: organizations may never know why the candidate ghosted them.

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As candidate ghosting continues to rise in the workplace, companies and recruiters are searching for answers. How does an organization move on from losing their top candidate? How do they ensure another applicant will not ghost them? While candidate ghosting isn’t always the organization’s fault, it is their responsibility to prevent it from happening. A candidate-friendly hiring process will close the gaps of candidate ghosting; recruiters should don their ‘sales’ caps and look at applicants as customers. In every step of the process, recruiters should be selling their company, providing the best quality and aiming to secure top interest from each candidate. To do so, companies need to prioritize consistent communication, a unique candidate experience and timely feedback to keep their top applicants engaged throughout the process.

Keep up with Communication

In sales, you need your company at the forefront of prospects’ minds, and the same goes for hiring. More than likely, job-seekers are applying to more than one job. These other companies could be communicating more frequently with the candidate, thus pushing your organization to the back of the candidate’s mind, causing them to forget about you.

Take preventive action by planning and following a hiring timeline. Informing candidates what to expect and reaching out periodically to provide updates is crucial to their experience. Additionally, being as transparent as possible will keep a candidate engaged, as 90% of job seekers claim transparency within a company is vital when job searching.

Intentionally or not, many candidates ghost organizations because of the lack of communication or regular updates regarding their position in the hiring process. Sending out a weekly email informing candidates of application status and the timeline moving forward ensures your organization is staying connected and fostering excitement for the next step.

Make the Experience Personal

Providing a unique interview process allows applicants to feel like they are more than just a resume in a stack. Basic interview processes like mass emails and pre-recorded videos disengage a candidate from your organization, and chip away at a candidate’s motivation to continue pursuing the position.

Integrate physical or virtual interviews, customized emails and additional conversations with other employees in your organization. This helps job-seekers feel connected to your company and interested in the hiring process. While one may think the hiring process should focus strictly on the job position and the candidate’s ability to fill that position, recruiters can often overlook individual needs. Bringing the candidate’s career goals into the conversation leads the job-seeker to feel valued and important during the interview process.

Customizing the hiring process will improve the candidate’s experience. Personalization tactics allow your applicants to build meaningful relationships and connections with the company beyond the recruitment team, reducing the risk of a candidate vanishing into thin air.

Prioritize Timeliness

It is hard to blame a candidate for ghosting your company if the interview occurred in March and no further contact was made until sending an offer letter in July. Communicating often and effectively about the applicant’s status in the hiring process can help alleviate the ghosting threat.

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Timeliness is key to effective communication and waiting to send an offer may result in losing the candidate to another organization. A recent survey by Ripplematch shows that over 50% of survey respondents accept the first job offer they receive. To speed up the process, provide a candidate with a verbal offer as soon as possible, then follow up with a written offer. While preparing the full offer, your organization has time to assemble a plan of action. The candidate also knows your final decision, allowing them to cease their job search and decrease the chances of ghosting your company.

While many instances of candidate ghosting remain unknown, organizations can prevent this scenario by staying at the forefront of a job-seeker’s mind. Connect with applicants regularly, personalize the experience, and prioritize timeliness to rid your hiring process of candidate ghosts and guarantee top candidates are incapable of forgetting your company throughout their job search.

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