As much as hiring managers hate to admit it, ghosting is a natural part of the process. It can be time-consuming and overwhelming to reach out to every single applicant for the roles you’re interviewing for. Not to mention that it can be hard to find the proper words to let someone down gently, especially if they’ve been eager about following up with you throughout the process. It sucks enough to be the bad guy, so why be the bad guy AND directly reject someone on top of it?
But there’s a new phenomenon that’s come about recently: candidates are starting to ghost employers at rapid rates—even after the offer letter is signed, sealed, and delivered. In fact, a recent study conducted by Clutch, a B2B ratings and reviews firm, found that a whopping 40% of candidates find it reasonable to ghost employers during the interview process. This statistic begs us to question: should you be changing up your hiring process, or is this a trend that you simply can’t control?
Why are Candidates Disappearing?
There are a few reasons why candidates are pulling disappearing acts during the hiring process, with the first being that the economy is really strong right now. Candidates don’t have to take every job offer that comes their way because they know that, more likely than not, there’s a better thing coming.
Another reason is sociological: ghosting has become a normal thing to do. Technology has made it super easy to stay connected with others, but it’s also made it super easy to disconnect. Instead of telling someone you don’t want to see them again, you can just ignore their messages. It’s changed how people handle relationships, romantic or not, so why wouldn’t this behavior spill into how they job search?
The bottom line is: candidates are ghosting and they’re increasingly unafraid to do it. Here are four ways that you can keep your candidates engaged throughout the hiring process so that they won’t want to ghost you.
1. Decide Who Your Best Candidates Are—and Stick to Them
It’s important to weed out the candidates you know you’re not interested in early on in the process so that you can focus your efforts on only those candidates you’re most interested in. Once you’ve identified your top candidates, be sure to follow through with each and every correspondence you have with them. Think about it: if other hiring managers are courting them, what can you do differently that’ll keep candidates engaged during the process?
(In case you’re wondering how we can help you out with this, our Talent team will provide you with a curated shortlist of top candidates for every position you post on our site, so you don’t have to waste another minute sifting through dozens of applications.)
2. Upsell The Position
Candidates aren’t just looking for jobs—they’re looking for opportunities that will help them grow both professionally and personally. What is it about the job that can appeal to someone who has greater ambitions one, five, and 10 years down the line? What resources can your company offer to your new hires to help them reach their goals? Spice up your role descriptions to attract the best candidates, and think about the types of perks that you can throw into their benefits package to sweeten the deal. A small salary bump or extra benefit can determine whether or not the candidate will actually sign on the dotted line.
3. Be Vocal
Sensing that something’s a little off with a candidate? Just ask them. It may be frustrating to have to press for extra info from someone, but the sooner you know that a candidate is no longer interested in working at your company (and why, if possible), the sooner you can move forward with your hiring plan. After all, they may be having a hard time articulating the fact that they have cold feet and may not know what to say without making you upset.
4. Accept It
It’s not easy to be ghosted, especially when you’ve invested so much time and effort into a candidate. But there may be a silver lining after all. Every candidate is going to provide you with some valuable lessons to help you refine your own hiring strategy. Even though restarting the hiring process after a candidate ghosts you is probably the last thing you want to do, remember that you’re looking for the right fit—which can sometimes take a little extra time!
The best thing that you can do is know that candidates can—and perhaps will—ghost you, so do your best to make it less likely for them to want to do so. If you’re communicative, receptive, and mindful of candidates’ needs during the job search process, you’re golden.
Ever wish you could find top candidates and follow up with them without breaking a sweat? Don’t just daydream—join Planted today and start building the rockstar team your company deserves!
Karina Parikh is Planted’s Content and Community Manager. After spending four years in New York working in both traditional and digital publishing, she recently returned to her hometown of Chicago, where you can probably find her eating (or thinking about) deep dish pizza.