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Ghost Story 2018: When Candidates and New Hires Go Dark

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

There’s a new ghost story that’s unlikely to hit the shelves at bookstores or make its on-screen debut. It’s not thrilling and certainly lacks entertainment, but it haunts Talent Acquisition and Hiring Managers each day. The plot of this ghost story is a scenario you likely know too well: candidates blowing off scheduled job interviews or accepting offers only to vanish without a trace.

“Ghosting” is a well known occurrence in the dating world, and it has recently gained popularity among job seekers. Cory Kruse, President at Orion Novotus, an Orion Talent company, recently wrote an article for Talent Economy, “Ghost Story 2018: When Candidates and New Hires Go Dark.” In the article Cory explores the ghosting trend and provides insight on how you can keep it in check.

“We’ve all heard stories about companies ghosting on candidates. But now, with more jobs than qualified people to take them, candidates are emboldened, readily disregarding established protocols and disappearing without warning,” says Cory. When job candidates withdraw communication, it could just be a sign of the strong job market. Still, employers can combat ghosting with a few simple steps.

Be upfront about ghosting. Clearly communicate to the candidate that you are both investing time in the interview process and committing to keeping each other informed throughout. Tell them you expect to be updated if something changes on their end and encourage openly expressing intentions regardless of how tough that conversation may be. Mentioning whether a candidate is a referral is also helpful since that awareness usually makes the person feel more accountable.

Keep candidates engaged. Explain the different steps of your recruiting process, giving preset times for each step including when an offer might be made. In addition to shortening the time interval between offer acceptance and the physical start date, work with your hiring manager to start the onboarding process during this timeframe. For example, send out pre-reading material ahead of time and even consider shipping their laptop.

Close the loop with the candidate. While most teams are seeing ghosting on the front-end, if you are experiencing drop-offs later in the process, do everything possible to close the loop with the candidate and get the feedback you need to understand what went wrong. Send a cordial email recognizing that while they did step out of the process, you’d still value their feedback to help improve your company’s candidate experience — and even consider leaving the door open for them. While you might not get a response right away, your email will be seen.

Stop treating candidates like commodities. Too many recruiters try to shoehorn candidates. Take the time to make sure your interactions with candidates are welcoming, personalized and demonstrate the benefits you offer relative to their unique situation.

Read the full Talent Economy article for more insight from Cory on how to buck the ghosting trend and get smarter on engaging candidates.