Ghosting is a thing. And employers are experiencing what it’s like being broken up with via radio silence.
The millennial coined phrase, the practice of ending a personal relationship with someone by suddenly and without explanation withdrawing from all communication, has transcended the dating world. So much so that economists at the Federal Reserve have also noticed, recently adding the term to its Summary of Commentary on Current Economic Conditions, and officially making “ghosting at work” a U.S. workforce trend.
Whether it’s the tight labour market or a shift in social skills, a recent study by research firm Clutch finds 41% of candidates think it's reasonable to not show up for interviews, ignore offers or just not show up to work.
Although employers can’t control the actions of potential hires, they can, however, use tactics that position themselves as the most attractive opportunity.
Here’s how your organization can improve the candidate experience and make your offer the one skilled workers won't go ghost on.
1. Be honest about the job role
If your organization isn't a household name, clicking on your job opening is most likely a candidate's first interaction with your company, and honesty is the best policy. It's important that job descriptions accurately reflect the job duties, expectations and company culture, as its common for candidates who ghost to do so because the interview didn't live up to the job as advertised (the same study found 20% of respondents ghosted an opportunity because the job "wasn't a match.")
2. Mirror your own expectations
Communicate! Recruiters and hiring managers agree that the best candidates are experienced, responsive, flexible and transparent in where they are in their job search. To engage talent, hiring teams need to mirror their own expectations. This means being knowledgeable about the role and organization, returning emails and phone calls in a timely manner, being sometimes available outside of work hours and being up front about when another candidate has been offered the position they interviewed for.
3. Build relationships from the beginning
Among those who believe ghosting is acceptable, over half (48%) say it’s best to disappear during the early stages of the interview process. Yet, recruiters and managers can mitigate this risk by building personal relationships from the very beginning. A humanized approach that's specific to a candidate's unique needs can create the type of environment that makes him/her feel comfortable about extending professional courtesies--regardless of how awkward the conversation may be.
4. Keep adding personal touches along the way
A successful hiring team will court its candidates. In the current environment, where workers are applying to fewer jobs and passive candidates account for 70% of job seekers, organizations need to work harder to attract their attention, and that means getting personal in their approach-- with thoughtful touches.
For active job seekers who are applying to multiple opportunities, these candidates want to ensure the organizations they're applying to want them just as much as they want to work there. And there are simple ways to demonstrate your eagerness to hire.
When filling senior level positions, for example, and the candidate will need to relocate, you can offer an introduction to a local real estate agency or arrange a personal tour around the best parts of town. For more junior level roles, a simple phone call or email with a personalized introduction from a member of the management team or a team leader could make all the difference over a competing offer with a less personalized approach.
5. Have a short (but thorough) hiring process
According to Clutch, the number one reason why candidates go ghost is because they found another job (30%). Organizations that required too many interviews are losing potential hires to other opportunities before their interview stages are completed.
To keep candidates interested, hiring teams need to streamline their recruitment processes by limiting the number of interviews and adopting a more agile approach favoured by startups ( that, typically, will have an offer extended within two weeks). Competitive organizations will condense their interview stage to three to four interviews.
5. Monitor your employer branding
Negative employer branding makes it all the more difficult for organizations to hire top talent, with 55% of job seekers abandoning an application after reading a negative company review online.
Yet, less than half (45%) of employers are even monitoring these reviews.
Websites like Glassdoor allow current and previous employees to anonymously leave reviews about an organization on things like interview process, culture and values, work/life balance, senior management, compensation and benefits, and career opportunities. It's important that organizations have a dedicated monitor who will review these sites and address any negative input. The appointed monitor should also provide insights into how the organization will address the concern(s). If you've successfully taken the steps to resolve issues, data about trends in your improved reviews will be visible.
If your organization is often experiencing negative reviews or problems with social media, it may be useful to engage a 3rd party online reputation management firm to help improve your online presence.
6. Be aware of what's considered a competitive offer- and beat the competition
It isn't all about the money, but when it is, is your rate card updated to reflect the current market? Use your hiring data to establish benchmarks on what you pay for specific roles-- because top talent will know their worth.
When it comes to making an offer, it's critical to get an understanding of what’s important to your candidate by asking yourself, “What do they hope to gain out of the role, and where is the balance between what they’re looking for and the expected rate?”
What makes your offer more attractive than competing opportunities? Compensation packages also need to consider non-monetary motivators. Unique benefits and incentives could include things like remote work options, a flexible work schedule, exciting project work, career growth or the use of new technologies.
4. Set the start date as soon as possible
Although job seekers believe ghosting is less acceptable as the hiring stage progresses, 9% of respondents to Clutch's poll would still disappear after they've accepted a job offer. Be aware of your hiring timelines and try to have your new worker start as soon as possible. If your start date is set for two weeks out, for example, your new hire may be contacted with another timelier opportunity in the interim.
The oft maligned millennials can't be solely responsible for ghosting in the workplace, as employers have, unfortunately, been doing the same for years-- falling out of touch with candidates as soon as a better one was found-- but burning bridges is dangerous for all parties concerned.
How is your organization keeping in touch with talent? Learn how a Direct Sourcing program with a trusted partner can help you stay connected to qualified candidates with our Free Guide: What is Direct Sourcing?