How to Prevent Candidate Ghosting in Remote Recruiting

Are you using beetle-juice to ghost-bust candidates? No, we’re not talking about a Halloween trick but about breaking the silence that suddenly occurs when job seekers decide to put an end to an ongoing conversation about a job opening or even the interview process. Candidate ghosting can take the form of not responding to email, answering phone calls or being a no-show for interviews. This leaves the HR managers, recruiters and hiring managers frustrated and oftentimes, confused about how to respond in these situations. 

Chances of having a candidate disappearing from the recruitment process are rising. More and more recruiters and employers alike are shocked by this phenomenon. Ghosting behaviour can occur just about anytime in the hiring process – right from sourcing to first job interview to after receiving a job offer or even on the start date and many times after joining the new job! In a study conducted by Indeed, found that 48% of candidates stopped communications with the hiring company, 46% didn’t show up for a scheduled interview and 7% failed to appear for their first scheduled day. Far worse is that 40% of candidates feel it’s reasonable to ghost. As astonishing as it may sound, well, it’s time to brace up! As the trend for a candidate-driven market continues to dominate the recruitment scene, this behavioural shift will most likely become a norm. 

So why do candidates ghost you, suddenly sever all communication, or just go silent in the middle of an important conversation? 

The reasons for candidate ghosting are many but the most notable ones are:

  • ? Candidates do not want to give out the bad news (that they’re no longer interested, found a better offer, etc.)
  • ? They have been ghosted by recruiters/employers & now they feel it’s their turn
  • ? They feel it’s reasonable to ghost. -> Choice fatigue: They’re overwhelmed with proposals from recruiters.
  • ? The hiring process is too long or the company takes too long to make decisions

At Acework we converse with well over 100 candidates per a month via Linkedin or video calls. We feel  many candidates are overwhelmed with the career choices they have at present. Remember, they must invest time in interviews and application processes. But because demand for them is very high in the job market, they are overrun by requests because the unemployment rate is at a record low.  For example, the unemployment rates in the world’s largest economies, the US and the UK, are 3.9% & 4.1% respectively. 

The growing adoption of remote interview processes contributes to a rise in candidate ghosting. It’s much easier to not show up to a scheduled Zoom call than to be a no-show at an in-person interview.

The good news is, you can control or even prevent candidate ghosting! Here are 8 tips how to do it:

  1. Make your first touchpoint with the candidate count. Grab the attention of the candidate with powerful personalised messaging but at the same time convey the point that you mean serious business.
  2. Once you open the conversation, listen attentively with the focus on building a good recruiter-candidate relationship. Pay attention to their career aspirations, their concerns and their deal breakers.
  3. Get their preferred mode of communication – email, phone, Whatsapp, etc. Make sure they give out two options – primary & secondary
  4. Over-communicate at every stage of the hiring process, respect their time & efforts
  5. Keep the communication open for the bad news. Say you are “bad news proof” and that you prefer bad news over silence. Make it clear it’s acceptable and be transparent
  6. And in spite of all this if you encounter ghosting, use the “I’m concerned” technique by Brendan Browne to reconnect with the candidate
  7. Shift into advising mode with the hiring manager & instill the need to shorten or simplify the hiring process 
  8. Lastly, know when to walk away.

Personally, we feel if you have the knack of identifying & engaging with professionals professionally this situation normally does not arise. So there, sharpen your intuitive skills! And even if this happens for any unavoidable circumstance, don’t let your standards erode, and don’t lose hope!

Over to you. How are you dealing with this burgeoning problem?

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