Avoid the Job Candidate “Ghosting” Phenomenon

Job seekers today have many choices, and their behavior reflects it. As unemployment keeps hovering at historic lows (including veteran unemployment, which is much lower than the overall rate) the labor market will likely remain tight in 2019 and companies will continue to slug it out for the best hires.

A side effect of this statistic is “ghosting,” a term previously used for friends or a date who suddenly become unresponsive and don’t give a reason. This trend has taken flight within the recruiting world. Companies are filling job roles and seeing applicant falloff by failing to show up for work on their first day or even quitting shortly thereafter without giving notice.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job ghosting is on the rise. The rate of workers who quit jobs each month (usually to work elsewhere) is at the highest rate in 17 years. It’s forcing many companies to modify their hiring practices by nearly doubling the number of hires they make in the hope that one of them shows up for work.

Although the practice was somewhat more commonplace in low-paying service positions, blue collar and manual labor jobs, it has started to trickle upward. USA Today reports that while vanishing acts are happening across all occupations, it’s especially so for the construction, manufacturing, and truck driving industries, with up to 20 percent of white-collar workers in those industries now joining the ghost ranks as well.

So how can businesses avoid ghosting in the new year? Basically, it boils down to three C’s:

  • Communication
  • Candidate Experience
  • Culture

Communication: Let Candidates Know Where They Stand

What kind of touches do candidates receive throughout your company’s application and interview process? Must they hang on for weeks without hearing anything? If the answer is “yes,” expect to be ghosted. After all, why wouldn’t a candidate move on when it appears to them that your organization isn’t interested?

Job one is to let candidates know their application has been received. Tell them how long this stage will take and walk them through any next steps. Same with an interview. And if it’s bad news, don’t ghost them.

Candidate Experience: Roll out the Welcome Matt

Cultivating strong relationships and positive impressions at every phase of the hiring process is vital.

Is your company’s interview/office visit experience red-carpet worthy? Today’s job seekers have lots of options, so first impressions count. Are they greeted and offered a beverage, or do they have to wait in a lobby forever? Do you offer a quick tour of the office? If your candidate is a veteran, do you provide an opportunity to speak with other veterans working at your company? These small touches can make all the difference in forming a positive first impression.

Culture: Increase Employee Engagement

How would your employees describe your organization? What steps have you taken to ensure their loyalty? Cohesive corporate cultures give employees a positive environment where they can grow and learn. Do you offer opportunities for professional development?

Finally, act quickly if you’re hiring veterans. These candidates are highly skilled and get snapped up fast. Is your offer competitive enough?

If employees don’t care about where they work, they won’t care if they ghost you. Candidates who feel undervalued or get no updates will move on. Employers must remain vigilant about providing experiences that woo job seekers and turn them into loyal and happy employees.


by: Katie Becker