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GHOSTING BY CANDIDATES: It Sucks, So Let's Make it Happen Early

Post-Covid. Summer of 2021. The tour you wish you didn't have a ticket for.

You thought the market would be employer driven coming off of 14% unemployment. You (we) were wrong. Ghosting

Here we are. The recruiters, the HR pros, the talent leaders. At our best, we like to think about candidate experience and, at times, even take action to make it better. If the internet has taught us one thing, it's that it's probably too easy to apply for a job you're not qualified for via technology. That means hundreds of applications—way too many to treat people with any modicum of respect.

So from a candidate experience perspective, the entry level action item is, "I told everyone who didn't get the job they applied for where they stood." To do anything else is a form of ghosting.

I gotta be fair to my recruiting and HR brothers and sisters. If people are applying for a hundred jobs a day through Indeed Easy Apply, I'm not sure they should expect that courtesy. 

Still, ghosting candidates is bad, and we'd like to avoid it.

Especially now that candidates HAVE THE NERVE TO START GHOSTING US.

It's true that in the post-COVID world, especially at the $20/hour, 40K and under range, candidates are increasingly ghosting good natured recruiters by not doing one of the following:

1) answering an initial note to talk,

2) showing up to phone screens,

3) showing up to live interviews with hiring managers, or

4) showing up to their first day of work.

It hurts, right? Every time a candidate ghosts us or a hiring manager, it's time to do what comes naturally, which is to blame COVID-period federal and state unemployment benefits for de-incentivizing millions of Americans from truly wanting to work. That reality means that those in the marketplace can act horribly as candidates, confident that another job is available the same day if they decide to pass on your scheduled call.

Getting ghosted by a candidate sucks.

But I'm here to tell you that they're actually doing you a favor, and your job when you recruit is to make someone who is inclined to ghost DO IT AS EARLY IN THE PROCESS AS POSSIBLE.

Why should that be the goal? Simple. Because the later they do it in the process, the more it hurts your business and your reputation as a recruiter.

With that in mind, I'm giving you the following 3 rules FOR PULLING THE GHOST OUT OF A CANDIDATE as soon as possible, if it exists inside them:

1--Give as many critical details that might make the candidate ghost you as early as possible.  Money, hours, and any other critical decision point should be shared with the candidate as early as you can. Don't assume just because you shared these details in a posting that they've actually read them (see note above about applying for 100 positions a day). If a candidate has the ability to ghost you, sharing details as well as hard facts is the best way to get them to do it early.

2--Make the candidate do some form of work to get to the next stage. What's up, automated calendar? If a candidate can't do something as simple as pick a time rather than you spoon feed them, they're probably a) not the candidate for you, or b) they were going to ghost you any way. Do some simple task for me, candidate. In later stages (but not too late!), taking the time to complete an assessment you have is a great way to see who's going to ghost you later and get it out of the way.

3--Challenge them to commit to showing up to the next step. Turns out, simply talking to candidates about showing up and how others have ghosted you is a great way to increase your show rate. It's behavioral science, if someone commits after you ask them for a specific commitment, they're much less like likely to blow you or your hiring manager off.

Let's say that four out of every ten candidates you interact with in this post-COVID environment has something in them that might lead to ghosting. You want to get that out of the way and DARE THEM TO GHOST YOU as early as possible. Remember, them applying and then never replying when you reach out is a form of ghosting. That's when you want it to happen, so get the party started right and give them the hard details in your first text/email and make them pick a time to talk to you rather than you serving them like a 100K waiter at the Four Seasons.

Ghosting by candidates is bad. Ghosting by candidates late is worse. 

Let's embrace early ghosting, then blame the government for this mess like we've always done (insert evil laugh).

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