Ghosting in the Workplace and How to Prevent It

A recent phenomenon in the world of recruiting is the practice of ghosting – where a new hire or candidate suddenly halts all communication with the company and the recruiter. They never show up to an interview or even notify anyone that they have changed their mind. Calls to the candidate go unreturned while hiring managers scratch their heads trying to figure out what happened.

Ghosting can occur at any point in the process and includes candidates not showing for interviews, new employee training, orientation, or even the first day of work.  

Ghosting is not only embarrassing for the hiring manager, but it can cost the company money in lost time that could have been spent on a candidate that would have taken the job.

Why is ghosting so common now?

There’s a lot of speculation about why this trend is happening so frequently now. Simply put there are more jobs available for candidates to choose from. With unemployment numbers at an all-time low, job opportunities feel more certain to candidates. If they have the least little bit of unease about a situation or potential job, it’s easy for them to decide to walk away and find something else.

Relationship building – or rather the lack thereof – also play a role in this. With technology being the primary mode of communication now, it offers less opportunity to build relationships with those in the hiring and interviewing pipeline. While we may be more connected through social media and texting, those connections are more tenuous and tend to feel less authentic. This decreased sense of relationship leads to a lower sense of loyalty or at minimum a decreased feeling of responsibility to communicate with the other person.

How to prevent ghosting

While you may not be able to prevent it completely, there are several steps you can take to reduce the chances that your company will be ghosted by a candidate.

Frequent communication

Regular communication with the recruiter, even on a daily basis, is one of the most important steps to building the relationship with those involved in the job search and reducing your risk of being left high and dry by a candidate. The recruiter is your link to the candidate and the one who will help you sell the job. Make sure that the recruiter has all of the information necessary to sell the job well and has confirmed that the candidate is ready to leave their current job if an offer is presented. Find out from the recruiter what the candidate is looking for in a job and make sure these are things you can offer and highlight to the candidate throughout the interview process.

Once the interview is over, stay in touch throughout the process to keep the recruiter updated on where the candidate is in the pipeline. Let them know exactly when they should expect to hear back from you and make sure that you can move the process along as quickly as your human resources department will allow. Many times candidates report that the process took too long and they found other jobs in the time that they were waiting to hear back.

Provide opportunities for the candidate to experience the culture

Telling is one thing, but when someone is about to make a big life change, like starting a new job, it can help them tremendously to let them see and feel how the new company fits. Show the candidate around the physical workplace. Introduce them to the people that they might be working with if they get the job. Let them see the space that they will be working in. In some cases of ghosting, anxiety over going into a brand new situation and not feeling fully comfortable with what they’re about to embark on can be a trigger for abandoning the process. Go out of your way to show, not tell, the candidate what their life will look like after they make the move.

Remember the ball is in their court       

Current statistics show there are more jobs available than there are people to fill them. With more jobs, your candidates have more options available to them. In the past, many candidates were vying for very few open positions. Candidates now are shopping for the best offers from different companies and will not wait around for long, drawn-out processes.

Be sure to share all of the perks

Knowing that other employers are likely interviewing your candidate and offering them attractive packages, make sure that your offer is competitive and thorough. When sharing the perks that the company offers, be sure to include details about the office culture. Casual dress? Flexible hours? An employee lounge with a video game set up? These may sound menial and trivial but when a candidate is comparing packages between two potential employers some of these little things could be what tips the scale in your direction.

Ghosting will probably never go away completely, but with these tips, you should be able to establish relationships with your candidates and recruiters that will help reduce the number of no-shows that you deal with when you have job openings.