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What Can Hiring Managers Do About Applicant Ghosting?

by Danielle Foster

Applicant Ghosting

“Ghosting” is the term that describes what happens when a job applicant, clearly on track to being hired, suddenly ends all communication with the prospective employer without a goodbye or an explanation. According to an article published by SHRM, companies say growing numbers of applicants — even new hires who are still getting their feet wet — are ghosting them, throwing a monkey wrench into companies’ hiring plans and rattling recruiters.

Ghosting may seem like poor etiquette or bad manners, but in a competitive hiring market — like the one we are in now — many job seekers seem to feel it’s acceptable to take another job and ghost an employer who thought the applicant was about to join their team.

Not only is ghosting upsetting for hiring managers and recruiters, it is disruptive across the board. When a company is ghosted, it loses not only the time it took to find the individual it expected to hire, but also the time needed to secure another individual qualified to fill that empty position, which may be a critical one that the company can hardly afford to leave unfilled. This is particularly troubling when hiring managers have stopped looking for other candidates because they think they’ve found the perfect individual for the job. At the very least, being ghosted prolongs the time needed to hire. It usually also raises the cost of employee turnover.

Luckily, there are things companies can do to minimize the chance of being ghosted. Here are three tips to help keep your hiring process on track.

  1. Keep the hiring process quick.

The hiring process can often get drawn out, and that is a big mistake. If hiring takes too long, a candidate may grow impatient and decide to move on without even notifying you. After all, in today’s labor market, candidates have a lot of options.

  1. Develop a personal relationship with candidates and stay connected.

Appoint a dedicated person to walk the candidate through the hiring process. This person would also be responsible for keeping in touch with the candidate with regular check-ins as the process unfolds.

Too much electronic communication and not enough “real communication” can kill an applicant’s desire to continue the interview process. What is meant by “real communication”? Using personal tools like video calls to help sell the position and explain why the applicant is going to be a great fit in the company.

  1. Keep new hires engaged.

Hiring managers should use the time before a new hire’s start date to develop a relationship with him or her. For example, create a special experience where new hires can come in and meet the team. Or schedule lunches with other members of the prospective hire’s team. Often preboarding, the component of onboarding that takes place before a new employee’s start date, will alleviate the concerns of candidates who are not fully committed to the job you want them for.

All these tips have one thing in common. They make the hiring process a little easier and more pleasant for candidates. That’s a big step toward minimizing the number of ghosts and maximizing the number warm bodies you will get.