“Ghosting” in HR

By | | HR and Management Tips

Ghosting: the act of suddenly ceasing communication with another party

The term “ghosting” had its origins in the dating world, gaining fame when the media took a big-time interest in the demise of a renowned Hollywood star’s romantic relationship. This media frenzy attached the previously little-used term coined by New York writer Hannah VanderPoel—ghosting—to the no reply, no response approach that brought this relationship to an abrupt end.

The term found a home in the hiring world when “ghosting” referring to the vanishing-without-a-trace act, executed by either side of the hiring equation during the interview process. The relatively new phenomena gained traction when the pandemic wreaked havoc with the job market. The vanishing act occurred on both sides as employers and candidates alike faced an explosion of uncertainty. Research indicates that 76% of employers had candidates vanish on them in 2020, while 73% confessed to ghosting prospective employees. Across the aisle, nearly 30% of job seekers admitted to ghosting a potential employer, with 77% reporting being ghosted.

While some within the industry have pronounced ghosting to be part of a new normal, it makes sense for employers to try to determine what may be contributing to this growing trend. (Not to be confused with valid justifications, of course, as the practice is inexcusable coming from either side) Consider these top ten reasons candidates “ghost,” shared by renowned industry trainer Barb Bruno, CPC/CTS of Good as Gold Training.

#1—They’re too nervous and panicked, so they don’t show up.

#2—They’re not sure they’re qualified for the opportunity.

#3—The company or organization is not one that they prefer.

#4—They have other interviews lined up that interest them more.

#5—They’re close to accepting another offer.

#6—They saw negative reviews about the company or organization on the Glassdoor website.

#7—They feel that the opportunity is a lateral move.

#8—They don’t see advancement potential.

#9—They’re not sure of the company culture.

#10—They used the interview to secure a counteroffer from their current employer.

While there’s little an employer can do to address the above “reasons” a candidate might decide to ghost a potential employment opportunity, a focus on candidate experience can lessen the chance of ghosting due to a poor experience with your company. Two key factors that have a significant influence on the candidate experience are—

  • The length of the hiring process
  • The effectiveness of communication throughout the process

An overly drawn-out process will wear on the most serious candidate. Study your hiring procedures from the candidate’s view, making adjustments and tweaks to streamline what may have morphed into a cumbersome, too-lengthy process.

Do you offer a timeline at the initial contact? Do you strive to meet that timeline? Do you follow up immediately if a delay is unavoidable? The more obvious your company’s investment in the candidate/potential employer relationship and each candidate’s personal experience, the less likely a candidate will “ghost” you. If you’re all in, the candidate will feel obligated to give their all as well.

So, invest, communicate, and streamline. And should the temptation sneak up on you to “ghost” a candidate because everyone does it, back away –fast. Being known as a “ghoster” will place considerable roadblocks in your efforts to maintain an adequate staffing level during this candidate-driven job market.

Times like these call for the experience and passion of the A.R. Mazzotta team. By matching you with the best and most qualified talent, we will keep your company performing at its best. Request an employee today.