Professional ghosting isn’t a new phenomenon. In fact, employers have been ghosting candidates for decades, long before the term “ghosting” originated. Job seekers can attest to being on the receiving end of forgotten follow-ups or not getting closure to an application or interview. It leaves the other party confused, disappointed and disrespected due to a one-sided halt in communication. In an ironic twist, today, employers are now on the receiving end of being ghosted. For the first time in decades, job seekers hold more power than employers. Due to historically low unemployment rates, candidates are able to be more selective when choosing jobs. This means, job seekers are unafraid to walk away from companies that don’t align with their values and meet their needs.
Human Resources Director America reported 83% of employers have been ghosted by a candidate. Despite what many believe, ghosting happens across all generations, experience levels and industries. Indeed polled more than 4,000 job seekers and found the reasons candidates ghost is because:
40% received another offer
22% said the salary wasn’t up to par
15% were unhappy with the benefits package
13% mentioned poor communication with the recruiter
And some felt they were lied to or misled by the recruiter
Here are three things employers should think about when it comes to their recruiting strategy and how they can improve it.
Lengthy Interview Processes
Candidates perceive disorganized and drawn out interview processes as a sign of a disorganized workplace. Most employers claim they want to improve their candidate experience yet overlook the importance of structured hiring. Jon Stross, president and co-founder of Greenhouse, said “a structured hiring process creates a competitive advantage for a company.” Companies are competing in a war for talent where the best candidates are off the market in just 10 days. Job seekers are receiving multiple competing offers and won’t waste their time going through a lengthy recruiting process. Glassdoor reports the average interview process takes 23.7 days. If longer, candidates perceive it to mean they’re not the top pick or the company is unsure about advancing them to the next stage. A Robert Half survey revealed 46% of candidates would “lose interest in a role if there’s no status update from one-to-two weeks post-interview.” As a result, they disengage and focus on other companies. Creating a structured interview process reduces, if not eliminates, employers from being ghosted. Applicant tracking systems (ATS) like Greenhouse and BambooHR help employers create an efficient and structured recruiting strategy. While Greenhouse is more than an ATS, Stross, explained the talent acquisition suite was originally built to improve the hiring process. Its Time To Hire Per Job report shows companies how long it takes them to hire for each position. Hiring managers and human resources can then work together to pinpoint challenges and improve lengthy recruiting processes.
Many employers expect candidates to be on time and prepared for interviews, but fail to meet those expectations themselves. When an employer disrespects a candidate’s time, the candidate feels as if the company doesn’t value them. This makes them hesitant to want to move forward in the interview process. Kerianne Vianden, website content writer for Hotels4Teams, revealed the red flags she saw during one of her past interviews. She explained how she was stood up for a scheduled phone interview. After reaching out to HR, who apologized on the interviewers behalf, Vianden was invited in for an in-person interview where she waited 45 minutes past the scheduled time until the interviewer was ready. Vianden said, the interviewer then rushed through the meeting without even taking the time to get to know her. She determined she no longer wanted to move forward with the position. While the company ended up ghosting her, situations like Vianden are both quite common and frustrating. Prior to posting an open position, HR or the recruiter should schedule an intake meeting with the hiring manager and those who will be conducting interviews for the position. An intake meeting ensures everyone is on the same page and creates expectations around their role in the interview process. HR should lead the intake meeting and make sure everyone is engaged, properly trained and supported.
Not Living Up To Core Values
Core values aren’t just buzzwords and lofty goals to win over talent. They’re the foundation of an individual or organization. Zappos is a prime example of a company that lives by their core values in everything they do. In a Harvard Business Review article, Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, said “our core values guide us in everything we do” and serve as a guide for hiring decisions. As a result of their commitment to their core values, the leading shoe retailer has a 97% candidate satisfaction score. An impressive compensation package is no longer the biggest incentive when choosing a job. Candidates want to work for a company where the work they do is meaningful and they can learn new things. Companies that only emphasize salary show the candidate they have nothing else to offer in terms of development and culture. Glassdoor’s 2019 Mission & Culture Survey found 22% of candidates expressed culture and values matter most to them. Only 12% said compensation and benefits was most important. Online review sites such as Glassdoor and Indeed remain vastly underrated. When speaking with Stross, he said, employers often complain about the negative reviews, but don’t take into consideration the feedback they’re receiving to fix what’s causing them. He adds “everyone reads Glassdoor and you, as a company, have to answer for the bad reviews. If you treat candidates poorly, you will get penalized for it.” A Glassdoor survey found “62% of job seekers say their perception of a company improves after seeing an employer respond to a review.” Managing online reviews isn’t solely HR’s responsibility. Executives should also make it a priority to respond to negative reviews. This shows candidates how involved leadership is and employees voices are heard. Answering to negative reviews in job interviews is equally important as well. Employer’s who value feedback and want to improve, will acknowledge the mistakes they’ve made and explain what they’re doing to correct them. By refusing to admit to mistakes, sidestep a question or place blame, candidate’s see that as a potentially toxic culture. Therefore, they have little interest in moving continuing with the interview process.
Despite all the reasons listed above, ghosting is still unacceptable. In fact, Matthew Ross, co-founder and COO of My Slumber Yard, said “that kind of behavior speaks volumes about the candidate’s character. We’d much rather a candidate just be honest with us.” Ross prevents being ghosted by setting very clear timelines for candidates during the interview process.” One of the ways he prevents ghosting is by setting and communicating expectations with the candidate. To avoid being ghosted, companies should focus on creating a structured recruiting process, improving their communication with candidates and make a commitment to living out their core values.
Heidi Lynne Kurter, Contributor , Forbes, 31 Dec 2019