Ah, 2021. The year that keeps on giving. We’ve got the Great Resignation, the Delta variant, all types of staffing issues. And—if that weren’t enough—candidates are ghosting employers in record numbers.
A February study from Indeed found that 28% of job seekers have ghosted employers in the past year—up from 18% in 2019. And 76% of employers have said that they’ve been ghosted in the year.
As anyone who’s had a candidate ghost them can attest to, it’s more than just a minor inconvenience. Filling jobs as it is has become a monumental feat these days. Investing all that time into finding and nurturing a candidate only for that candidate to just disappear is a waste of time—time, frankly, none of us have anymore.
But just because it’s happening doesn’t mean you can’t do anything about it. First, let’s take a look at why candidates are ghosting employers in the first place.
Why candidates are ghosting employers
Here’s the thing: there is no one root cause for the ghosting trend. There are a lot of factors at play here, each likely feeding into the next.
For starters, there’s the most common reason given for job ghosting: a candidate finds a job with better pay, benefits, and/or hours, and simply loses interest in the job they were looking into beforehand.
But that alone doesn’t explain what’s going on. Why now? What’s unique about this year?
One theory given is that ghosting has become more prevalent at every stage of life. Recruiters have been ghosting candidates for years. Ghosting a date is common practice. And with the workforce shifting ever younger, the candidates you’re interviewing have likely experienced ghosting before—personally and professionally. So ghosting—once a behavior considered deeply disrespectful—is now considered more normal.
Another possible reason is there are a lot more job opportunities out there now. There are a lot of job vacancies, and the advent of remote work has opened previously inaccessible industries and locations to candidates. So it’s much easier these days for candidates to be selective about the jobs they want.
Both of these arguments help explain another factor influencing the increase in candidates ghosting employers: it’s a response to poor communication. The hiring process is rarely as smooth, efficient, or as clear as candidates would like. And whether because ghosting has become more acceptable or because there are more job opportunities available now, candidates are showing that, when the communication breaks down, they’re less willing to just hang around and wait for a response. Hence, job ghosting.
There’s another reason given for the rising trend in job ghosting: candidates are finding that employers are not communicating their EVP (employer value proposition) effectively. In other words: they’re thinking the job is a good fit for them and discovering at the interview process that it isn’t.
Now let’s get to the fun part: what can you do about all this?
Improve communication at every stage of the interview process
One thing that’s clear from all of the above: the hiring process has a lot of room to be improved. Far too often, the process is needlessly long and gets bogged down in interdepartmental politics. Worst of all (for job ghosting, anyway), candidates tend to be kept in the dark about the status of their application and when they’ll hear back. All of these factors make for fertile ground for job ghosting.
Instead, try these tips to improve your hiring process and make it more efficient and appreciated by your candidates:
- Know all your pertinent information—salary range, location expectations, benefits—and so on before you start interviewing. Having to run things by management during the interview process just slows everything down.
- Consider ways to plug any leaks in the consideration process.
- Respond to all communications promptly. In fact, even if you’ve turned a candidate down, you should still try to respond to their communication as swiftly as you can (for example, if they ask for feedback). It helps improve candidate experience.
- Clarify to your candidates from the start what they should expect from the hiring process. If you know that it can take a week to get a response from management, let them know in advance that there are a few decision makers involved and getting a response from all of them can take time, but that you’re not ignoring them and you’ll definitely keep them updated. You never want them to think that you’re ghosting them.
Review your salary and benefits
This is a hard one, as making changes to the salary and/or benefits you offer is sometimes simply not on the table. But in general, you should have a good idea of where your offerings fall in the industry standard, and if they’re beneath them, consider raising them if possible.
And even if it’s not, remember that salary and benefits are not the be-all-end-all of a job. Highlight other factors about working with you that make you stand out. For example, the pay might not be great, but there might be ample opportunities for growth. Remember: your goal isn’t actually to get all the candidates in the world to run towards you and never ghost you again. It’s to make sure you’re attracting the right ones and that those candidates aren’t turned off by a poorly-communicated EVP.
So ask yourself honestly: why would someone work for you? And if that feels too theoretical, ask yourself why your current employees do work for you?
And then communicate that.
Tackle job ghosting at the root cause
The previous point leads right to this one.
Better communication and salary/benefits can only help you attract the candidates you want. But there’s another problem with candidates ghosting employers: a lot of the time, they’re ghosting you because they really aren’t the right fit for your jobs. And the problem isn’t that they’re ghosting you—it’s that your process isn’t weeding them out before you waste time interviewing them.
One often-suggested tactic is to put in place better screening tools to help better assess whether your candidates really are a good fit before you interview them. This approach carries with it a few risks, however. For starters, candidate screening doesn’t always offer the answers you need and can discriminate against non-white candidates. Plus, the more screening tools you put in place, the more daunting and time-consuming the hiring process becomes and the more you risk turning off candidates you want.
A better approach would be to tackle the problem at the root cause by showcasing and displaying your EVP to the world through social media. We’ve gone into this topic in depth before, but in short: social media and social media recruiting is the best way to raise awareness and grow the effect of your employer brand.
For example, here’s a great example of a post showing what your brand is all about:
Here’s a simple yet effective way to leverage your employees to help tell your brand story:
And here’s an example of a company showing the world what their company culture is like:
And they did it all with social media.
We can help you with more than just job ghosting
But using social media to effectively portray your EVP and reduce job ghosting is just the tip of the iceberg. Social media recruiting is a powerful tool that can help you grow brand awareness, speak directly to passive candidates, and build a pipeline of ready talent.
And if you don’t have the time to invest in social media recruiting done right—to effectively manage your job postings on social media, build powerful employer brand campaigns, and ensure every post is created according to social media best practices—then let us help you transform your social media presence into a strategic and powerfully-effective source of hire.
Wanna see it in action? Click here to check out a free demo of our platform.