As if employers haven’t had enough to worry about in recent years with the pandemic and then the Great Resignation, now there is a new trend that is troubling hiring managers: candidate ghosting. This occurs when you have multiple contacts with a promising prospect, and perhaps even an interview or two, only to have the person suddenly go radio silent. The recruiting process is expensive and time consuming, and being ghosted could mean starting over from the beginning, or at least backing up a few steps. If you’re dealing with candidate ghosting, here is what you can do.
The first step is to reach out to the person who ghosted you. Sometimes life simply gets in the way. Your email might have gone to their Spam folder, or they might have had an emergency arise. Wait at least a week after your initial outreach before following up. But if they still don’t respond, odds are good that you’ve been ghosted.
It’s a tight labor market, and many cases of candidate ghosting are simply a matter of people taking other positions. But why are they choosing your competitors instead of you? Dig into the data, and you’ll likely find that one or both of these common issues are to blame:
Today’s job applicants are savvy and sophisticated. They know what they’re worth, and they won’t settle for less. But from a corporate perspective, understanding market rates is more complex than ever. Largely due to the rise in remote work, it’s not enough for you to know what local companies are paying on-site employees. You’ll also need to understand what percentage of local workers in your area are employed by big-city companies and how much they’re making. After all, why would someone want to go into the office only to make a fraction of what they could make remotely?
Or conversely, if your company is remote-first and hires people from across the country or around the globe, how do your rates compare to what they could make in their local area? Or at another remote-first organization?
Fortunately, modern data analytics tools can help you answer these questions. You’ll be able to better understand changing market conditions and offer salaries that are competitive, regardless of your specific scenario.
Long Hiring Process
The other major reason for candidate ghosting is a long and tedious hiring process, especially if you aren’t transparent along the way. If your competitors are better at moving people through the pipeline, and keeping them informed every step of the way, candidates may decide that your company isn’t right for them. Again, data analytics can help here. Analyze when in the hiring journey most people drop out and find ways to address those pain points.
Data analytics can also help you understand who is ghosting you. Are women more likely than men to go radio silent? Perhaps there’s something in your job postings or processes that makes them feel unwelcome. Are older candidates more likely to ghost you? Maybe you’re promoting the position in a way that is more appealing to younger prospects.
Take Preventive Actions
Once you understand who is ghosting you, when, and why, you can take preventive actions to minimize future candidate ghosting. The exact steps you take will depend on what you learned, but there are a few that apply to nearly every company:
- Shorten your hiring process. Do you really need a phone screening, followed by a Zoom call, followed by an in-person meeting with the entire leadership team? The longer the process drags out, the more likely you are to lose candidates along the way.
- Send regular updates. If a candidate is out of the running, let them know. If interviews are delayed because of an upcoming product launch, send a group email. Keeping people in the loop can help them stay motivated.
- Offer an “out”. While it’s always painful to hear that a candidate you really liked is no longer interested in the role, it’s better than being ghosted. At every stage, let prospects know that you understand they may be applying for multiple positions. Give them an easy way to let you know that they are dropping out of consideration at your company, and encourage them to provide feedback when they go. This can give you valuable insight into why you are losing prospects to the competition.
Candidate ghosting happens, especially in the current labor market. But you can minimize it by digging into your data and addressing the issues that are causing people to go elsewhere.
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