Candidate ghosting: an avoidable haunt

No, this isn’t a blog analysing the latest Ghostbusters movie or ghost conspiracy theories. Ghosting is when someone ‘goes missing’ suddenly or withdraws communication without an explanation. In society, we hear the term most often associated with the dating world, but now, the phrase is making it’s way into the recruitment scene. 
Candidate ghosting: an avoidable haunt | Probe CX

In this blog, we discuss candidate ghosting, provide some examples and explain ways it can be prevented in an organisation. We also touch on employee ghosting, a very real and threatening issue that could be happening in your business without you even knowing…

Candidate ghosting: explained

Traditionally speaking, ghosting in a recruitment capacity, is more commonly associated with talent acquisition specialists or the person doing the recruiting ghosting the candidate. While this is not the best recruitment practice, it unfortunately happens.

What we’re discussing today is a trend that completely flips this movement on its head; the candidates are fighting back and they're now doing the ghosting. With 28% of candidates openly admitting that they have ghosted employers before, 46% of employers now believe candidate ghosting is on the rise. While this trend may be gaining popularity, it’s been around for a while with 76% of recruiters stating they’ve experienced some form of candidate ghosting in the past year or two.

The candidates are now ghosting the recruiters, whether they be a recruitment agency, a talent acquisition function or just your regular hiring manager looking for the right person for the job.

So what do the ‘ghosters’ have to say? According to this report by Indeed, the top reasons for candidates ghosting employers includes:

  • 20% receiving better job offers
  • 13% dissatisfied with the salary they were offered
  • 15% realised the job was not a good fit for them.

These reasons are just amplified by the recent workplace trends that have taken the job employment world by storm: ‘The Great Reshuffle’, ‘The Great Resignation’ and ‘The Great Re-evaluation’. These phenomena have one common takeaway: candidates have options and they aren’t afraid to choose carefully.

With 81% of employers believing candidates have become more demanding with salary expectations compared to pre-pandemic conditions, candidates now have the power in the employee-candidate relationship.

The candidate ghosting we are seeing isn’t just occurring at the offer of a job. It’s happening throughout the recruitment funnel, from interview stages through to references. Considering that candidates have to jump through many hoops such as screening calls, application processes, job references, interviews and capability assessments, only to be ghosted by 77% of employers, it’s no wonder some are turning around and saying: enough is enough.

The reality is, organisations can’t afford to be ghosted these days with the demand for quality talent far outweighing the supply. So how can they avoid being one of the many in the trenches?

How to prevent candidate ghosting?

Not surprisingly, signing bonuses are the most popular tactic being used in 2022 to attract top-tier talent with 57% of employers planning to implement them in coming years. How else can organisations hope to reduce their chances of being ghosted by candidates?

Provide assessment options

When deciding how to screen candidates, it’s important to understand that today’s world is heavily found online. The pandemic simply accelerated the need for organisations to implement online substitutes for in-person activities.

For candidates, this means deciding whether they need to get themselves out of home, a place where many of us got used to working out of, and into an assessment centre to trial for a job they may not even get. The answer, providing online and virtual assessment opportunities instead. This way, there is a lower chance of experiencing candidate ghosting where employers are meeting the differing demands of today’s candidates.

Invest in recruitment tools

A 2021 survey by Gartner revealed that nearly half of today’s applicants are considering at least two job offers simultaneously. Visibility is a huge deciding factor when employers are competing to win the attention of a potential candidate.

Investing in communication tools that help employers stay in ‘front of the candidates’ eyes’ could be a game-changer. Some platforms even have automated workflows that allow you to easily provide candidates with valuable and engaging content through the interview process at the click of a button. Want to shoot them a quick message? There is an in-built function to do just that.

If you’re aware that a recruitment process may take several weeks to complete, set a reminder in these platforms to send out personalised text messages to candidates to let them know they have not been forgotten.

Analyse and re-invent your candidate experience

Your candidate experience is all about how job seekers react to your organisation’s recruitment process. These reactions can go a long way in determining if those job seekers want to stay invested in the recruitment process or simply check out and start ghosting.

To start improving your candidate experience:

  • Create more concise job descriptions: make them clear and include details only pertaining to the role they are applying for. Don’t list out in too much detail what the job is about and what the ideal candidate will look like. Instead, focus on what’s in it for them. Why should they want to work for you?
  • Keep your recruitment process transparent: 83% of candidates state clear recruitment processes improve their candidate experience. Make sure they understand just how long the recruitment process will take, how many interviews there will be and what they are to expect at each stage. You don’t want to be throwing in any surprises that may make them wonder if these unexpected changes are going to happen when they are hired…
  • Create dedicated career pages for job openings: anything from a careers page on your website to a Facebook page for your recruitment team, these pages are the most visited recruiting assets and so you want them to be clear, simple and easy to use.
  • Support a seamless job application process: It takes an applicant around three to four hours to submit a single job application. Imagine you were in their position. Wouldn’t you appreciate a job application process that was easy to follow?

Consider alternative recruitment strategies

Outsourcing solutions, whether onshore or offshore, are gaining popularity in the way that they are allowing organisations to tap into a global talent pool of candidates. By partnering with third-party providers who are experts in sourcing the 'right fit' for organisations, employers are able to, in a way, hand over these candidate ghosting issues to businesses who know how to handle them.

What is employee ghosting?

To take candidate ghosting to another level comes when those candidates turn into employees. Employee ghosting is a whole other ballpark. The ghosting happens when those candidates turn into employees. We’re not talking about complete ghosting, as in, never heard from again… although that is very real issue in the contract space, especially for industrial companies and recruitment agencies.

If you’ve ever had an employee call in sick for a shift and need to find someone to fill ASAP or on short notice, chances are you are all too familiar with employee ghosting. From employees not answering their phones to them not showing up at all and not giving any warning, employee ghosting can be extremely frustrating for organisations looking to ensure efficient and smooth operations of their business.

How can you reduce the likelihood of employee ghosting happening in your organisation? Start by establishing a good working environment where employees feel safe and are comfortable discussing ideas openly. Not sure if you have one? Perform an employee net promoter score (eNPS) where you can see if employees would recommend working at your organisation to a friend or family member.

Aim to create a culture based on an ‘open door policy’ and look into employee retention initiatives or strategies.

How outsourcing could benefit your organisation?

We’ve touched on how outsourcing can help reduce your chances of being ghosted by a candidate but what are the other benefits offshore teams could provide? This blog will provide an in-depth guide on what outsourcing actually is and the advantages hiring an offshore team can have for your business.

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