Avoid Applicant Ghosting

Why Applicants Are Ghosting Your Company

The Covid-19 pandemic  shifted the hiring equilibrium. Specifically, it led to a higher demand for labor in certain industries, and in others, it contributed to massive layoffs. The red-hot demand for labor in many industries is one reason why job applicants and employees began “ghosting” employers.

Even now, candidates are still disappearing at various stages of the hiring process–and even after accepting a position. Here are a few areas where employers may encounter ghosting:

  • Face-to-face interview
  • Phone screening
  • First day of work
  • Employment offer letter
  • After lunch, especially on the first day at work

So we we set out to examine some factors that contribute to applicants ghosting a company at these various stages.

Reasons Job Applicants Ghost Employers

Here’s why job applicants are likely to ghost a company.

1.) They are nervous and panic.

The hiring process can be a strenuous exercise of identifying the best candidate to fill an open position. Companies, by using hiring managers and recruitment personnel, design sophisticated recruitment measures to filter out the best from the rest.

All recruitment exercises aim to find the best talent for an available position. Unfortunately, seeking the best talent often leaves much to be desired in the eyes if the applicant, thus creating anxiety and confusion among them.

So, applicants may ghost a company if they find the recruitment process strenuous or overwhelming. This means that employers should seek to balance their priorities of speed-to-hire and best-fit selection with the applicant’s interest in feeling welcomed and valued.

2.) They are unsure of their qualifications for the position.

It’s a common scenario for employers to include many professional and educational requisites in job advertisements. While job ads aim to capture the best candidates, the job description may create expectations that are too demanding.

Employers should ensure that job requirements do not unnecessarily intimidate prospective candidates. Some qualified applicants shy away from ads that require extensive professional experience, so employers should be realistic in regard to what is truly required from the role.

The job ad must seem appealing to a wide range of qualified job seekers in order to maximize the number of job applicants. Make the job description welcoming and try to avoid writing it for specific candidates, as this may hurt your recruiting outcomes.

3.) They have other interviews lined up

Let’s be honest: a candidate is not likely to ghost an employer without an alternative or competing job offer.  Many times, job applicants ghost employers because they have other plans or available opportunities–and they act on them. This is difficult for employers to address, so it’s vital that they do everything they can to mitigate the risk.

One way to do this is provide creative job offers that include signing bonuses and early performance-based incentives. These benefits can help turn the attention of job candidates away from other job opportunities. They will also motivate new hires to remain loyal through those crucial first weeks and months.

4.) Ineffective communication

Job applicants will ghost your company if your communication is inadequate or ineffective. For instance, failing to communicate with applicants may create an impression that your company doesn’t care or, perhaps, even exist. For high-demand job seekers, this is a red flag that will encourage them to quickly look elsewhere.

It’s vital that employers communicate with applicants at every stage of the hiring process. This is accomplished by creating a communication plan that aligns with the hiring process. A communication plan builds rapport with job applicants by reassuring them that it’s worth the effort to apply and stick with the hiring process. Having this plan in place will also improve the chances of retaining new hires, as it provides a strong foundation for an excellent new hire experience.

5.) Your company is different from what they expected

Can you stay at place that you don’t like? Well, for the most part, you can’t. Why? Because we’re attracted to what we love or like. Our likes and passions inform our preferences in life – be it in school, home, workplace, or wherever.

Job applicants and new hires often ghosts employers because they don’t consider it an ideal place to work. This realization can occur at different stages in the hiring process, but when it does, it spooks the applicant or new hire–and they ghost!

An example of this could involve an applicant who is interested in a workplace that supports collaboration and teamwork. If that applicant is sold on an employer that provides that type of workplace, but then feels left alone and unwelcome in the first week of employment, they will ghost. So creating expectations is important, but it’s more important to ensure those expectations are realistic.

Other Reasons Job Applicants Ghost Your Company:

There are many other reasons employees are likely to ghost a company.

  • They saw or heard negative reviews or comments about the company
  • They feel that the job opportunity is a lateral move and decide not to risk it
  • They don’t see evidence of continued professional development
  • They’re unsure of a company’s culture
  • They’re using the interview to secure a counteroffer from another employer

Finally, a lack of psychological or emotional incentives like work-from-home, unmonitored working, and minimal supervision may contribute to applicants ghosting your company.

How to Handle Applicants Ghosting Your Company?

There’s value in using a proactive approach to prevent ghosting, but eliminating it completely is not likely. So, here’s what an employer should do if a job applicant ghosts them:

  • Write messages. The first step is to write emails or messages that evoke a response. If employers are still interested in pursuing a job candidate after they’ve not replied, sending a series of quick voicemails or emails, ‘when are you available to discuss your offer?’, could generate a response.
  • Cut your losses. For some employers, it’s probably best to cut their losses if they send a message that requires a response, but the applicant fails to respond. Unless there are extenuating circumstances, a job applicant’s failure to respond may reflect a character flaw that would make them a bad hire.
  • Keep a record. It’s advisable to keep a record of no-shows and ghosts. Keeping this list may save you money, time, and hiring resources in the future.
  • Boost morale. Sometimes employees may feel demoralized when a new hire fails to show up for a position that has been vacant for a long time. So, it’s advisable for employers to look inward at ways to improve a team’s morale–in addition to the  improving hiring process.

Employers must communicate and build rapport with job applicants to create an effective hiring process that minimizes the chances of ghosting. However when  ghosting does occur, it’t a sign that there may be something wrong with an employers hiring process, work culture, or both. Ghosting is not something to be ignored.

ExactHire – Enhance Your Hiring and Recruitment Efforts

ExactHire helps employers bridge gaps in the hiring process by offering two different solutions:

  • ExactHire Full Service Hiring – our team handles all the work of promoting open positions and screening applicants, then–delivers a short list of candidates for employers to choose from.
  • ExactHire Applicant Tracking System  – employers use our software to efficiently run an in-house hiring process with minimal staff.

To learn more about how these two solutions may address you current hiring need, please schedule a short consultation with us.

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