Ghosting is a phenomenon where companies and hiring managers are extending offers or reaching out to candidates that applied to their roles or interviewed for their jobs, but they are not hearing back. It’s also referred to as “going dark.” It’s baffling to companies that these candidates took the time to apply and engage with them, and then vanish. It’s a bad practice, and unfortunately, it’s gaining popularity.
Why would a candidate ghost?
A job applicant may ghost after an interview because they are taking a role elsewhere, are no longer interested in the opportunity or had a personal life change. But it doesn’t explain why they aren’t direct with the recruiter or hiring manager, or why they are willing to give up future opportunities to work with that company.
There is a downside for hiring managers and job seekers.
For hiring companies, ghosting causes frustration by slowing down the hiring process. Companies typically reach out several times before concluding that the candidate is no longer interested and that is time and effort that could be used pursuing other applicants. On the candidate side, if someone is interested in another opportunity at that company in the future, his or her unprofessional behavior will make it close to impossible to apply there in the future.
Companies may unknowingly encourage ghosting.
There are things companies might be doing to encourage bad ghosting behavior. These mistakes do not justify candidate ghosting, but they may shed light on why it’s happening. In a candidate-driven market, it’s even more crucial to treat the job seeker respectfully. Provide timely feedback, acknowledge receipt of resumes, think about the tone and wording of correspondence – is it polite and respectful? Does the communication represent a company that a candidate would want to work for? Hiring managers need to be responsive, engaging and polite. If it’s curt, authoritarian or dismissive, it may give the job seeker less incentive to follow up professionally (though they always should!)
Expedite up your process.
You may be excited, eager and looking forward to interviewing a hot candidate, but your timeline to interview is very slow. If a company wants to recruit the top talent, you need to review resumes daily and try to engage the best applicants within a business day. The quicker you can communicate with a candidate, the more engaged he or she will be in your process. If this timeline is unrealistic for your company, a recruiting agency can expedite your process.
Consistent communication is the best antidote to candidate ghosting. Candidates are consistently complaining that they apply to, interview with and commit time to companies and never receive feedback in the process. This has created a candidate culture of “companies always ghost on me, so what do I owe them?” Streamline your interview process to provide feedback to candidates. If a company can set realistic expectations on communication, then they are more likely to get candidates to buy into their process. Job seekers expect communication to be a two-way street.
Hiring managers need to remember that we, too, are guilty of ghosting, and of habits that encourage ghosting among our job seekers. If candidate ghosting is a source of frustration, review your process from start to finish and make sure you are encouraging feedback, communication and engagement.
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