Are Your Top Candidates Disappearing On You?


Ever have a romantic interest suddenly cut off all contact with you – with no warning or explanation at all?
It hurts, right? And the social trend has a name: ghosting.

According to Urban Dictionary, ghosting is:
“the act of suddenly ceasing all communication with someone the subject is dating, but no longer wishes to date. This is done in hopes that the ghostee will just ‘get the hint’ and leave the subject alone, as opposed to the subject simply telling them he/she is no longer interested…”

It’s rude. Immature. And unfortunately, this type of disappearing act isn’t limited to the dating world. Candidates and new hires are ghosting employers by:

  • skipping interviews;
  • ignoring formal job offers;
  • and ceasing to show up for work, with no notice or communication.

Whether it happens during the interview process or after you’ve extended a job offer, ghosting costs your company dearly – in terms of time, money and damage to your reputation. Thankfully, it’s largely preventable! With a little diligence and a few tweaks to your processes, you can make sure the talented people you work so hard to recruit don’t vanish into thin air:

Be sure you’re not setting a bad example.
In the early stages of recruiting, employers are guilty of ghosting on their candidates, too. In fact, according to results from a nationwide study conducted by Inavero on behalf of CareerBuilder, employers frequently fall short of candidates’ communication expectations:

  • 84 percent of candidates expect a personal email response and 52percent anticipate a phone call. Yet over half (52percent) of employers respond to less than half of candidates who apply.
  • 36 percent of candidates expect to be updated throughout the application process, and 41percent expect to be notified if they weren’t chosen after they interviewed. Yet only 26percent of employers proactively communicate with candidates what stage of the hiring process they’re in.
  • Even when candidates make it to the interview stage, many still fall into a communication “black hole.” Nearly three in four candidates (73percent) who interviewed with companies said they were never given an explanation for why they didn’t get the job.

The lesson for your company? Respond to every candidate who applies to your company – even the ones you know don’t qualify. As an employer, you set the example. If you send signals that ignoring candidates is acceptable, they’ll believe it’s okay for them to behave the same way.

Speed up your processes.
You know the numbers. Unemployment is under 5percent, and time-to-fill is at an all-time high of 29 days. Great workers won’t sit around, waiting for you and your employer to get your hiring ducks in a row. To prevent them from disappearing on you, find ways to maintain momentum:

  • Critically examine your entire recruiting process. From the initial application through your new employee’s first day, look for ways to shorten timelines – without sacrificing quality.
  • Consider phone or video screening for out-of-town candidates.
  • Identify bottlenecks that slow down decision-making and communication with candidates.
  • Invest in technology to expedite processes and ensure great candidates don’t fall through the cracks.

Keep the lines of communication open.
Establish an iron-clad communication system that shows candidates how much you value them. Keep them in the loop by:

  • Providing clear timelines for processing applications, scheduling interviews, checking references, etc.
  • Regularly updating promising prospects. Once you’ve interviewed them, explain next steps and set realistic expectations. Frequent updates prevent candidate drop-off due to impatience and/or uncertainty.

Posting helpful information on your website about your recruiting process, so individuals can find the information they need even when hiring personnel aren’t personally available.

Create a killer onboarding program.
Once you’ve extended an offer, you’re not out of the danger zone quite yet. To protect your company from having a new employee ghost after starting, roll out the proverbial red carpet:

  • Approach the process from the employee’s point of view. Starting in a new role can be overwhelming. To keep new hires feeling valued, try to create a process that’s fun, interesting and as painless as possible. Get paperwork processed quickly (before the start date, if practical), so you can keep the focus on the individual.
  • Provide and review a written plan of objectives and responsibilities. Be clear from the start to prevent confusion about job functions, and discuss any concerns the individual has about their role.
  • Prepare new hires with items to feel at home and prepared for success. Make new hires feel welcomed, valued and prepared to hit the ground running as soon as they walk in the door.

The way you welcome your new hires sets the tone for their entire work experience. Do everything you can to make sure individuals get off to a great start – instead of leaving you high and dry.

Matt Ertle, Owner, PrideStaff Bend, an Independent Franchised Business.
2214 NE Division Street, Suite 202
Bend, OR 97703


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