It seems fitting that the new “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” trailer filled our social media feeds over the past week. After all, I’d just read an article about “ghosting” – a hot topic for any human resource professional who’s been burnt by a candidate that disappears at some point in the hiring process.
Ghosting, in recruiting and hiring, takes many forms: not returning phone calls, failing to show up for interviews and slow communication when speed is essential. You do not have to be well-read to unequivocally understand that ghosting should be unacceptable.
So, if most of us feel that ghosting an interview is done in poor judgment, why does it happen? After all, understanding why a candidate might be ghosting you could help you avoid (or, at minimum, recognize) the signs next time.
Ghosting ‘Why’ #1: Strong Job Market
With the endless availability of job postings, each resume submitted seems less critical to candidates. Job seekers understand that plentiful job postings allow for less commitment for any one position or to any one company. In a survey by Clutch, a DC-based market research firm, 41% of respondents implied that ghosting was, in fact, acceptable. Further, 30% of no-shows were due to accepting another job offer. The more simultaneous positions candidates are applying for, the greater the chance for ghosting. Today’s reality is that most good candidates are submitting many resumes to job postings, increasing the likelihood of ghosting.
Ghosting ‘Why’ #2: It Goes Both Ways
Many job seekers ghost as a result of being ghosted themselves by employers in the past. Indeed.com published statements from candidates that have ghosted, showing an alarming number of instances that were reactions to an inactive hiring manager through the process.
Indeed highlights situations where the candidate ghosted due to feeling slighted by the employer – through slow updates on the status of an application, employers “going dark” after an interview for weeks, or, failing to deliver upon preset deadlines for decisions. These situations contribute to an “if they can do it, why can’t I?” mentality amongst candidates as it relates to ghosting.
Ghosting ‘Why’ #3: Snail’s Pace
If the labor market is tight, a long, slow, methodical hiring process with numerous in-person interviews will leave a company susceptible to ghosts. If the process drags, a candidate will concentrate on opportunities that feel quicker. As Inc.com says, “You do not need 6 different rounds of interviews. You don’t. So, stop it.”
Barring a market premium for working within your organization, anyone looking to hire must assume that good candidates are simultaneously assessing multiple job offers and opportunities. Hiring processes that take too long might not have been “ghosted” – they were zombies from the start.
Understanding the “Ghosting Why’s” above is the first step. Learning how to apply those reasons to landing the best candidates is step two.
Through numerous experiences of being the victim of disappearing acts, we’d suggest the following three, communication-based focus areas.
Ghostbusting Technique #1: Identify the Top Tier Candidates
Whether you’re hiring or looking for a new job, creating a “pecking order” of good, better and best options and pairing that hierarchy with a communication strategy is critical. Hiring managers should be reaching out to their top tier candidates consistently and within prearranged expectations. Job seekers should do the same for the job postings for which they’d covet an offer.
Ghostbusting Technique #2: Customize the Approach
Each candidate is unique and their process, while somewhat standard, should be customized to their style. This can be done through an understanding of each applicant’s goals rather than a cookie-cutter process geared toward exactly what the company is looking for.
Ghostbusting Technique #3: Impose (and Emphasize) Deadlines
Good hiring processes follow a timeline that makes sense and respects the time of all parties. It stands to reason, then, that the best way to avoid being ghosted is to stress the importance of the deadlines of the process from beginning to end.
Doing so holds the company and job applicant accountable for pushing forward with an understanding of when the process might conclude. No matter the reason, the perception of missing a deadline (by a hiring manager or candidate) is a trust killer. Even if there is no final decision, meeting deadlines for communicating – even if there are no new updates – is valuable.
Just like the Ghostbuster movies I watched in the past, the concept of ghosting in recruiting, retaining and hiring the best talent is not going away. The job market is tight, the economy is growing, and, the fact is, ghosting will continue.
The question is: What could be done to make sure you don’t get slimed next time?
Need help finding the right candidates? Contact Goliath today!