Why do Candidates go “Ghost”? from a seasoned Ghostbuster
Across all industries, candidate “no shows” are on the rise—whether in phone screening, first interviews or employee starts. Even as the pandemic stretches out, so do candidates keep going “ghost.” It’s disruptive when a new hire fails to show up. It’s expensive to replace employees who just disappear. Despite all the massive layoffs and uncertainty of the past year, there is no sign of this trend abating.
We tend to blame the candidates. “Older employees are just going for the highest bidder.” “Young employees just aren’t as ‘dependable.’” “Some people just don’t want to work.”
Why is this ghosting really happening? Candidates are only a small part of the equation. And in reality, they aren’t less dependable. They aren’t less committed. They just currently have many more options, and they aren’t choosing you.
How do employers and recruiters contribute to candidate ghosting?
We are all fishing in the same pond
Especially in times of remote recruiting, job boards are the place to fish for candidates. The problem is that everyone else is fishing in the same ponds. It seems there are far more fishing poles than fish in those ponds. More competition means more choices for the candidates. They don’t have to put on their best behavior for any one employer. They can just move on to the next.
Employers have a lot of paperwork. And a boatload of resumes to screen. In the past, we could ask our candidates to fill out everything including the kitchen sink before we would consider them. Not today. Candidates want a commitment from us before they want to invest their valuable time and energy in our interview process. If we ask for more than name and email, candidates are likely to move right along to the next job ad. Of course, using a third-party recruiter or unemployment counselor to screen candidates resolves some of that issue.
We’re too slow
Most candidates want a job today, or at least tomorrow. Any lag in responding to their applications, interviewing them, or making an offer, leaves diligent job seekers seeking other opportunities. Any delay in getting back to them or, more importantly, in keeping them updated feels like disrespect. If you can’t be on top of their application, then why should they spend any more energy on you? We must address this with real timelines and making sure we know their preferred contact method.
They don’t like me
Well, it’s not that they dislike you or that you’re not a nice person. Rather, it’s that you’ve done nothing to get them to really like you. When you reach out to a candidate, are you recruiting them or just processing them?
Your opportunity isn’t great
Employers have to watch the bottom line (theirs). If the solution is to offer jobs at below-market pay rates, it’s no surprise that these jobs will consume extra recruiting effort, even if the requirements are also less demanding. Remember, candidate knowledge of market pay rates is likely based on word of mouth or personal experience at one company. Candidates may not want to insult you to your face if you have an “inferior” offer. It is much easier to go ghost.
Advice from the Ghostbusters
Whenever demand outpaces supply in recruiting, no-shows increase. They’re painful. A few steps will help to alleviate that pain.
- Expand your outreach methods to increase the supply of candidates
- Design a quick upfront “application” to start the conversation. Critical to this preliminary knowledge is the candidate’s preferred method of contact and time of day.
- Commit to, and live up to, prompt responses at every step: from initial screening, to interview scheduling, to onboarding, and even to scheduling their start date. Track the candidate through the many steps of the hiring process. Follow up, then follow up, and then follow up.
- If a hiring decision is delayed, tell the candidate right away.
- Where the pay rate may not be attractive to the candidate, present the “package”. Identify “what’s in it for the candidate.” If it is not starting pay, is it health insurance, days off, free certifications?
- Use a seasoned recruiter who has seen a few of these topsy turvy employment scenes. Top recruiters offer a range of job-hunting tools. If your job is not a fit, the recruiter may have other opportunities for the candidate.
- Get personal! Tailor each communication to that candidate. No mass mail templates, or cryptic messaging. People have more of a sense of obligation and commitment when they feel an emotional connection to a company and its employees.
Addressing all of the above will not eliminate the candidates who ghost you, but addressing these areas can help reduce the number of candidates who ghost you as well as increase engagement levels and streamline your processes.
The seasoned ghostbusters at ABLE Associates look forward to working with you.