During recruitment processes, ghosting has become a rather accepted or at least wide–spread form of non–communication – the art of disappearing without saying good-bye, let alone giving a reason.
Candidate equally at all levels ghosting includes:
- The candidate doesn’t engage in the recruitment process upon positively responding to their application
- The candidate does not show up for a phone screen or in-person interview
- The candidate disappears once they receive a job offer
- The candidate accepts the job offer, but doesn’t come on the first day
- The candidate actually starts work, but stops coming from one day to another
Here two examples that we, Career Angels, have observed & experienced ourselves:
- 29–34% of our candidates (equally across students and experienced HR professionals) do not reply to a positive response that they’ve been invited to join the recruitment process by sitting e.g. an English test. Note: more than 90% of the candidates receive an answer from us within 24-48 hours.
- 50% of candidates who pass the test, do not show up for the interview. Note: they themselves choose date and time.
In 2018, we had 2 ghosting incidents that applied to people we already worked with:
- One of our support staff never came back from her 2-week break
- Another person stopped communicating after they were fired
Both still had company laptops. In both cases, only when we threatened to contact the police, did they constructively respond and return our property.
And we had one quasi-ghosting issue: one of the consultants (who obviously is no longer with us) left a client project mid-process to go on holidays. They sent an email saying, “This is how much I could do. It’s Friday, 4 pm. I’m off.”… and disappeared for 2 weeks.
When it comes to “ghosting during recruitment processes”: it’s an epidemic. Nobody likes it. Everybody does it. At least in one form or another. Not everybody does it intentionally. At the end of the day, we are all human and make mistakes and might simply forget to answer an email or two once in a while. Sometimes it’s 10 or more when work that we actually get paid for takes priority over courtesy emails which are pushed to the back-burner. And when we finally have 5 minutes – 4 weeks later… why bother – it’d be weird to send an explanation – by that time the candidate must have figured out themselves that “this” is not going anywhere – like silence after a first date.
As to “ghosting of employees” – here’s how we fixed it:
- We changed our entire recruitment process (e.g. we went from 4-6 weeks to 10 days) & the quality of candidates; you can read about one of the aspects of the change here
- We hire for reliability – we’ll write a post on that soon
- We ask every team member to share two emergency contacts with us and we explain why we do it. They, therefore, know that we’ll contact their mom or dad or grandma or spouse, should they disappear. Drastic? Maybe. But it works
Better candidates combined with asking for emergency contacts has decreased the second type of ghosting to zero.
However, HR professionals are equally as much to blame. Employer (HR or via their external recruiter proxies) ghosting includes:
- Asking for a CV “ASAP” and then not responding ever again
- Requesting interview dates and then disappearing
- Promising next steps at any stage of the interview, and not following through
- Communicating the desire to hire somebody, and then not sending the contract
Here, PayScale shares this piece of advice with candidates who have been ghosted or at least have experienced radio silence for more than 1-2 weeks at a time – and we’ll comment on that below:
“Ask yourself if you want to work for an organization that ghosts candidates: Even if your analysis of the process makes you realize that you bear some responsibility for the outcome, keep in mind that ghosting usually says more about the ghoster than the ghostee. If an employer isn’t organized or considerate enough to keep you informed, perhaps you’d rather not work for them anyway. So, learn what you can from the experience, but once you have, move on. A company that drops a candidate without a word is showing them something about who they are and what they value. Remember that silence often speaks volumes.”
The catch: most senior managers do not have the luxury of being picky. Most will be happy if a company they liked comes back to them after 3 months of silence with an apology.
What candidates often don’t see is everything that happens behind the scene – several reasons for radio silence shared with us by 3 Regional HR Directors that we interviewed:
- The business side is unresponsive and HR simply doesn’t know what to share.
- Hiring is suddenly put on hold without any information, if and when it’ll be unfrozen.
- The budget for hiring the new manager needs to be approved by 5 people in the system – one person can’t be tracked down for 2 months. Yes – not even for a click in the system.
- During the recruitment process, the organization realizes that they actually, probably, need somebody else – but they don’t know who and how and they need to review internally.
… and many, many more. Though at the end of the day it all comes down to usually one person or another who – by their inaction – affects the image of an entire organization.
As long as this behavior – this lack of respect – is practiced by both sides, it’ll continue. The only thing to do is to lead by example and change the system slowly from within.
Would you like to read more about ghosting? Here’s a good article published on Forbes called “Employers: here are 3 reasons why candidates are ghosting you”.
Would you like to streamline your recruitment process to decrease ghosting? Talking to us might be a good idea! We are happy to share our know-how!
Contact us by email:
in Polish: Anna.Zadrozna (at) CareerAngels.eu
in English, German or Spanish: Sandra.Bichl (at) CareerAngels.eu.