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Candidate Ghosting: It’s time employers get serious!

Candidate Ghosting: It’s time employers get serious!

In today’s highly competitive environment, attracting and obtaining the best talent could be extremely challenging. As more companies compete for the limited yet niche talent, you must stand out to stay competitive. These days, the term that’s becoming more popular in the recruiting industry is – candidate ghosting. Let’s understand the background of it.

You spend hours, days, or even a few months sourcing profiles, screening candidates, shortlisting, scheduling interviews … and more. Finally, say, just two candidates reach the offer stage. 

While one doesn’t accept the offer, the other accepts but does not join your company. How does it feel? Frustrating, right?

As the Great Resignation paves the way for the candidates to find any jobs of their likes and passion, the choices are unlimited. And, that’s causing candidates to “casually” apply to jobs, attend interviews or accept offers. 

However, recruiters/employers – beware! You may be the next victim of candidate ghosting.

Read on to delve into candidate ghosting, why candidates ghost, ways to tackle the problem, does technology offers a solution to the problem, and more.

What is Candidate Ghosting?

In simple terminology, candidate ghosting refers to job candidates ceasing communication with the recruiter or employer abruptly. There could be various reasons for the candidates to abruptly call off any contact with you. Furthermore, this could happen at any stage in the recruitment cycle – from application through to offer.

Why should you be concerned?

Well, now you have some idea of what candidate ghosting is. This certainly raises concern for employers. Why? Check out the points to understand.

Wasted time and effort 

As a part of sourcing, screening, and scheduling interviews, you must have invested so much of your precious time and put in all the effort to get the top-tier talent in the pipeline. You toil so hard only to find that in the end, you fall prey to candidate ghosting.

Spoils company reputation

While candidate ghosting may be a phenomenon across industries and organizations, it could still affect your brand reputation. In case, the mistake is on your part, say your recruiters are not notifying the candidates, this information would gradually spread to other job seekers, discouraging them from applying to your job openings.

Results in dissatisfaction

Candidate ghosting could significantly demoralize your recruiting teams, causing immense dissatisfaction. As your recruiters take all the pain and efforts to bring in the best talent in the pipeline, candidate ghosting invalidates the whole purpose. 

Why do candidates ghost you?

While there are myriad reasons for candidates to ghost you, some of the key points include:

Losing touch with the recruiting user

Quite often, candidates don’t receive prompt responses from recruiters, making them feel anxious and gradually lose interest in the position. Your recruitment process may entail shortlisting, screening, interviews, offers, etc.  

Candidates feel concerned if they aren’t communicated on the status of their application.  Use applicant tracking software or such technology tools to keep candidates updated. 

Payback time for candidates

Some candidates may use the opportunity as payback to you. On most occasions, recruiters don’t send any intimation to candidates on their application. That might cause the candidates to behave in a similar manner. 

Personal Causes

Sometimes, a candidate may be in an unavoidable personal situation. A newborn, health issues or a family emergency could cause the candidate to lose touch with you suddenly.

An impersonal feel of the job

Most job seekers, especially Gen Z, expect a human association from the employer. Sometimes, you might use AI-based bots to respond to candidates for some parts of the recruitment cycle. And, when the candidate has some queries that the AI tool can’t reply to, the candidates get an “impersonal” feel which develops a disconnect from the process.

Unclear job descriptions

It’s quite apparent that vague job descriptions or lack of clarity in the scope of work and responsibilities could deter the candidates from even applying for the job. Even if they do, make sure you clarify all their doubts during the initial rounds of screening, or else you can expect ghosting! 

Lack of a hassle-free experience

Naturally, candidates expect a smooth and hassle-free recruitment process. Having a lengthy application form, and asking them to fill in several details could make the candidate leave mid-way. The rule of thumb is to keep the application simple and crisp, eliciting responses to only required questions.

Information on past employers and such can be gathered at a later stage if the candidate clears the earlier rounds.

Inadequate employer branding

With cut-throat competition, it becomes imperative for you to stand out as a preferred employer. That implies you must focus aggressively on building your brand. Most candidates, if not all, look to join their dream companies which are top-notch employers. 

This could also be a potential cause for the applicants to ghost you any time and walk out of the recruitment process, abruptly.

Ways to overcome candidate ghosting

Having understood the consequences of candidate ghosting on your business, it’s time to look at ways to deal with it.

Be in touch with candidates throughout the process

As in most cases, candidates ghost primarily due to a lack of correspondence with the recruiters, so make sure you stay in touch until the end of the process. Keep the candidate informed of the status each time a round gets over. 

In case, a candidate is nearing the offer stage, talk to them and give a realistic picture of the benefits or other opportunities. 

Adopt multiple channels of communication

In case, the candidate didn’t respond via email within 24 hours, try reaching out through other channels such as social media or phone. If the candidate is in the earlier stages of the hiring process, ask questions to find out their intention. 

Explore to check if they are truly serious about the opportunity or just planning to ghost you, later. Keep various means to contact candidates such as Linkedin or Twitter DM. 

Craft well-structured, clear job descriptions

Don’t scare off your potential hires with unclear or messy job descriptions. Use JD templates that are highly customizable and user-friendly to develop the best job profiles. Set out in clear language the roles and responsibilities, package offered, location, and the necessary skills/qualifications for the position. 

Never leave any stone unturned that may refrain the candidate from applying.

Use automated interview-scheduling tools

Manually arranged interviews were yesterday. Today, you must use the interview scheduling feature that comes in most ATSes. These tools let recruiters schedule interviews in advance and send out automated notifications prior. 

They usually allow for options for the candidates to accept or decline the interview invites well in advance. This prepares both the parties – you and the candidates beforehand and thus makes the interview a smooth and hassle-free stage of recruitment.

Focus on enhancing the candidate experience

Candidate experience is a critical factor in determining the effectiveness of your recruiting operations. Most often, a poor candidate experience results in them losing interest and feeling disconnected. 

Unsatisfactory candidate experience could arise from multiple aspects including – lengthy job applications, unresponsive recruiters, unclear job descriptions, or more. 

Use ATSes and emerging technologies like conversational AI to keep candidates engaged while ensuring a rewarding candidate experience.

Avoid ghosting candidates

To minimize candidate ghosting caused by the “payback” mindset, recruiters must inculcate the practice of responding to even the rejected applicants so that candidates are not kept waiting. This could foster better understanding in the candidates and hopefully reduce ghosting to a certain extent.

Can technology tackle this problem?

Yes, to a great extent. Applicant tracking tools handle a majority of functions including smooth communication, storing candidate info, automating interview scheduling, and more. 

Besides, they provide options to create custom email templates and offer letter templates. This considerably reduced the effort and time spent by recruiting teams. 

JD templates let you craft clear, detailed job descriptions most simply. Using conversational AI such as chatbots could respond to regular queries from candidates on company benefits, compensation, and such. This relieves you of the mundane tasks while keeping candidates engaged.

All these features focus on crafting a rewarding candidate experience while fine-tuning the recruiting process. This could significantly bring down the level of candidate ghosting.

There’s more to come from emerging technologies. 

Wrapping up

Candidate ghosting has always been in existence. It is only that in recent times, employers and recruiters have become aware of the terminology and are exercising caution.

Understand and adopt the ways to tackle candidate ghosting outlined in the article and stay alert.

Written by
Meera Shridhar
Former HR SaaS consultant-turned-full-time HR content/Copywriter

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