The Key for Employers to Not Get Ghosted in 2020
Ghosting has become a hot topic and buzz word in the executive search and recruitment industry, especially in 2019. On the LinkedIn Talent Blog, an article on ghosting cracked the Top 10 Most Popular LinkedIn Recruiting Stories of 2019.
The definition of “Ghosting” according to Dictionary.com is the practice of suddenly ending all contact with a person without explanation. This practice has been translating into the executive search and recruitment process and has become a significant issue for hiring managers as they seek top talent.
With the unemployment rate in Canada remaining at a 43 year low, top candidates are being heavily recruited to fill open positions as the applicant pool, at times, is not sufficient. Top candidates with the skills, competencies and personality traits are in high demand and find themselves with ample opportunity and choice for where they want to work. In addition there are more open roles then there are people to fill them. What this means for employers is that during the hiring process something better, or seemingly better, may come about and the candidate with a great deal of choice will go quiet or in other words “ghost” employers.
It has become the responsibility of employers to keep top candidates engaged and interested at every step of the hiring process.
Communication is key
It all comes back to communication. There is no such thing as over communicating. Put yourself in the candidates shoes and communicate in a manner that will keep them informed of what is happening in your hiring process. Most employers do not communicate well with top candidates on their timelines and expectations for the role, and as such candidates will simply move on to the next opportunity.
Communication during the application process
If a candidate applies for a role and doesn’t hear back for a few weeks or even months, they will move on to another opportunity that has been in touch. Avoid ghosting at the application phase with top candidates by reviewing applications and getting in touch with qualified candidates right away. Let me know that they will be considered for the next phase in the hiring process and what that looks like at your company. What is the timeline for interviews, what can they expect, how could they prepare, when is the estimated start date. Arming your top candidates with this knowledge will keep them informed on what they can expect. It will take away any question marks they may have about the expectation of the process. The more question marks a candidate will have the more likely they will ghost.
Whether you do this with a personal email or a phone call, or if you offer a way for your candidates to track their application status, they need to be informed from the get go.
Communication during outreach
Once you’ve been in touch with a candidate, and have been back and forth setting up times for next steps, it is recommended to communicate with personal touches as well. If you found out that they are big hockey fans, perhaps reach out with an article or video that you think they may enjoy. Creating a personal relationship with your top candidates will make it harder for them to ghost you. If they are no longer interested in the role or have come across something else, if you have built trust and a personal rapport, they will feel a need to communicate with you.
In addition these touch points keep them engaged and helps to shine a light on the culture and what they can expect if they work at your company.
Communication during the interview stage
Remember that communication is a two-way street. Make sure that you are not only communicating to them about the role and company but find out what their goals and career aspirations are. Once you can find out what they really want out of the role, both personally and professionally, you can communicate in a way that showcases how your company can offer them what they want.
Ensuring that there is an alignment with the candidate and what you can offer them will keep them engaged and interested in the role. They are likely talking to other recruiters, and learning about other roles elsewhere so ensuring that you communicate your value proposition as it relates to them is key.
Communication during the offer stage
fter your final interviews with your top candidates, let them know when they can expect to hear from you. Articulate a clear timeline and stick to it. Hold yourself accountable and be true to your word. If they know when they can expect to know if they have been selected or when they will receive an offer, they will be less likely to accept another one in the meantime.
After you’ve decided on your top candidate, getting ghosted at this point, after investing so much into the candidate and the hiring process can really sting. Make sure you do everything you can to communicate clear expectations of the offer and the timelines. Making candidates wait without knowing, or pushing the timeline week after week, can make it easy for candidates to accept offers elsewhere and ghost. It is far too common for employers to get busy and ghost candidates for weeks at this stage.
Communication before the start date
Ghosting can still occur after an offer is signed. Candidates may receive other offers after signing an offer with you. They can go quiet and not show up on their start date.
It is crucial that you start the onboarding process before the candidate starts. Any paperwork for benefits or payroll can be sent and completed in advance of their start date. This will not only get them more invested in their new role but it will also make their first day less about paperwork and create a more positive experience. Assign them a mentor, someone that they can ask those small questions to in order to help them navigate the office environment. Send them the employee handbook in advance, to help them get a sense for your culture, processes and prepare themselves for the first day. Send an informative FAQ sheet or include it in your employee handbook to ensure they know the dress code, lunch on the first day, time of arrival, agenda of their first day etc.
At the end of the day it is all about communication and preparing candidates for what lies ahead. Communication is the key to not getting ghosted. Creating a consistent pattern of communication, will create an expectation for candidates to to communicate anything that may arise or any changes during the hiring process and reduce the probability of getting ghosted.