As a recruiter, you are probably all too familiar with the situation.
You meet a great job candidate who’s the right fit for the role.
They cruise through the interview rounds.
Get a huge thumbs-up from the hiring manager and even land the job.
And it’s all going well until…
Poof - they’re gone!
You’re not alone in being left ghosted after interview by candidates.
But are there ways you can predict, prevent or salvage a ghosting situation? Read on to find out.
“Ghosting” is when someone ceases communication with another for no apparent reason or explanation. In the world of recruiting, “candidate ghosting” is when a candidate looks to be a good prospect but then no-shows to interviews, and/or ceases communication at any point during the recruiting process.
No-shows and cancellations are frustrating, and for every job role that is open for more than the average 43 days, your company is raking up significant losses.
Let’s first take a look at common reasons why candidates ghost to understand how you can tackle it.
Think a better job offer is one of the main/sole reasons candidates ghost during the interview process? Try again. When we surveyed people on LinkedIn, guess what came out as the top reason for drop-offs?
A third of survey respondents said a lengthy interview process (that includes the lag time between rounds) is one of the main reasons candidates drop off. Application processes that are tedious and lengthy especially get a bad rep - in fact, two-thirds of GenZ candidates say they will abandon a job application if it takes more than 15 minutes. Time to rethink how much time and effort your hiring process takes?
As you know, it’s a candidate's market. And with more jobs than job seekers in the market today, candidates are starting to see themselves as free agents. They often have multiple job offers or interviews and are able to walk away from offers/opportunities without explanation. In fact, tight labor markets such as retail, hospitality, healthcare, and technology are observing increased accounts of ghosting, as high as 50% of the cases. Gone are the days when you could close a job offer with a handshake or just take a candidate’s word for it at a job fair. Today, most candidates may not see loyalty or following through with commitments as necessary. And it’s not uncommon to have candidates not showing up to work even after accepting a job offer.
There is little that recruiters can do here when candidates clearly have the upper hand in the job market. One way recruiters are circumventing this situation is by overbooking interviews - while it does mean additional work, it also means you won’t be left with requirements to fill when a new hire goes MIA, since you have other interviewees to fall back on. Here is an insightful video on what else you can do to win in a candidate-centric market.
78% of candidates believe that the hiring process is an indicator of how a company values its people and how they will be treated as employees. This means while you’re evaluating candidates, they are just as much evaluating you, picking up on any slip-ups in communication, the nature of interviews, (lack of) feedback, and so on. And it doesn’t just stop at that, it trickles down to your brand image and presence online. In fact, 55% of candidates in a survey reported avoiding/ghosting a company after finding negative reviews online. And it's not just Glassdoor reviews, they’re benchmarking the pay package, perks, benefits, and culture. It becomes important to ask yourself - How does your company stack up?
A lot of hiring occurs remotely today. A candidate applies on a job board, communicates with recruiters via email, and then probably goes through multiple interview rounds on Zoom calls. This kind of interview setup barely leaves room for opportunities to connect. Then again, coordinating these activities virtually is not simple, and is also time-consuming - leaving both candidates and recruiters with little energy to actually connect. As a result, interview experiences feel impersonal and transactional. This in turn makes it easier for candidates to forget and move on. They don’t always find the need to put time or effort into giving recruiters an explanation, if/when they get a better job, feel a job is not a good match, or for other reasons. How do you make a memorable connection in remote hiring settings and make sure candidates do not pull a Houdini act on you?
While you may not be able to completely put a stop to ghosting, you can certainly reduce it (dramatically so). Nipping ghosting in the bud comes down to three main factors: your interview process, communication, and candidate relationships.
Remove friction in your hiring funnel by making your interview process simple, so candidates do not drop off. Here's how -
Pro tip: Screening, scheduling, and other interview tasks can be automated with the help of AI recruiting chatbots, so candidates complete it at their convenience, instead of a constant barrage of emails/calls from recruiters that might dissuade candidates from continuing with the process. Here is what a conversation between a candidate and screening chatbot would look like:
Notice how the chatbot is able to ask tailored screening questions and capture relevant information. In a matter of a few minutes, the chatbot screens and qualifies the candidate, asking only what’s necessary, so the application process is a breeze.
Talk to candidates often, and when and where they like to communicate. Here's how:
Pro tip: Look closely at candidate preferences in communication. About 75% of millennials, for instance, say they prefer text messages over calls. Schedule personalized messages based on the candidate’s behavior to communicate and nudge them to take action. For instance, if a candidate has abandoned an application, you can send them reminders via personalized text messages to complete the process, instead of bombarding them with calls.
Use every opportunity you get to delight candidates during the hiring process. Here's how:
Pro tip: Automate mundane tasks that take up more than 60% of your time, so recruiters actually have the time to do what they do best - connect and build meaningful relationships with candidates. Here’s an interesting blog that shows how you can unlock recruiter productivity hacks with the help of automation.
When a candidate drops off, reopening the job and restarting sourcing will no doubt be your immediate priorities, but this is also a good time to introspect.
While these are some things that you can fix to make your hiring process fool-proof and deliver a positive candidate experience, know that sometimes ghosting is simply not a one-person problem, and is out of your hands. Sometimes candidates will fail to show up/reply to multiple interviews or calls, even after you get everything right in your recruiting process. Worse still, ghosting employees who accept your offer but don’t mind not showing up to work. Know that they may just not be dependable, and give yourself some credit for sidestepping an unreliable candidate.
Want to put a stop to ghosting and engage candidates more effectively? Chat with our experts to learn how technology can help!