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Unraveling the Candidate Ghosting Trends

5 Strategies to Ghost-proof the 2023 Hiring Process


Written by HRCap, Inc.

December 14, 2022



The term ghosting is a term typically used in dating when a person stops communication with another party without any notice or explanation, which usually suggests that they are no longer interested. This phenomenon has taken root in the recruiting and hiring industry, with job candidates not showing up to scheduled interviews or even on their first day of work.


An Indeed 2021 survey shares that 28% of job seekers ghosted an employer in 2021, while in 2019, it was only 18%. Though not exclusive to Millennials and Gen Zers (collectively known as MZ Gen), this phenomenon is predominant with the MZ Gen, as 50% of Millennials and 50% of Gen Zers both admitted to having “ghosted” an employer, according to Randstad US 2020 Compensation Insights Survey.


However, employers are also guilty of ghosting, with only 27% of US employers saying they have not ghosted a candidate. Although this is common practice for employers, due to the high number of applicants for one position, it seems to be a unique and rising trend for job seekers. Why are job seekers ghosting, and is there anything that employers can do to prevent ghosting from happening?



Reasons for Ghosting

With the number of unemployed persons per job opening at 0.6 in October 2022, the current job market favors job seekers. This can explain why job seekers are less nervous about ghosting an employer because there are more opportunities. Although this may encourage ghosting, it is not the sole reason job candidates ghost potential employers.


1. Inaccurate Job Description


One reason that job seekers ghost potential employers is that the job description does not match the actual job. A Robert Half recent survey has found that 23% of job applicants ghosted a prospective employer because the job wasn’t what they expected. If the job responsibilities are not written out accurately, job candidates may feel they have wasted their time.

2. Poor Communication


Another reason job seekers ghost employers is infrequent communication from recruiters and hiring managers. 51% of workers are frustrated when there is a lack of information, while 30% are disappointed that employers do not acknowledge receiving their applications. This waiting process leaves job applicants anxious about where they stand in the job search process and causes them to lose interest in the company. In a Robert Half 2016 Study, 23% of candidates lose interest in a company if they don’t hear back within one week after the first interview, while another 46% lose interest if they don’t receive feedback after one-to-two weeks post-interview.

3. Negative Interview Experience


Candidates who experienced poorly conducted interviews may feel there is no need to respond to the recruiter. Surprisingly, 31% of candidates said they ghosted because the recruiter or hiring manager was rude or lied to them about the position.

4. Better Opportunities


Alternatively, candidates may ghost an employer because they have received a better job offer with higher compensation and benefits from another company. In a CareerBuilder study, 66% have ghosted hiring managers because they have found a job with higher wages or better benefits.

5. Negative Reputation


The final reason why job applicants may ghost a prospective employer is because of the negative reputation that the company has. After interviewing, candidates research the company and find information on company review sites, such as Glassdoor, that share people’s perceptions of the company. 26% of ghosting candidates reported they ghosted their employer because the company has a poor reputation or negative online reviews.



Strategies for Preventing Ghosting

Although it is impossible to stop ghosting altogether, reducing the frequency by taking proactive steps can improve the hiring process.

1. Construct Accurate Job Descriptions

Employers should provide a job description that will entice job seekers and provide accurate information on the role. According to LinkedIn’s 2019 report, candidates list the following as most important to them in a job description: compensation (61%), job qualifications (49%), and job details (49%).


Job descriptions must be written by gaining direct input from the hiring manager and team members working with the prospective employee. After constructing a proper job posting, everyone in the hiring process must be aligned on the same job description to ensure consistency throughout the candidate’s interview process.

2. Improve Communication

Recruiters and hiring managers should provide timely responses and let candidates know their position in the interview process. 85% of the 13,000 job seekers surveyed from North America, EMEA, and APAC regions say consistent communication is the highest driver for satisfaction with the recruitment experience. By consistently communicating, employers can put candidates’ minds at ease and improve the perception of the company.

3. Improve Candidate Experience

Companies must consider improving the candidate experience by streamlining the hiring process and ensuring hiring managers and recruiters are trained to provide the best service possible. Providing a better experience will also result in better reviews that can improve the company’s branding and reputation. However, the opposite holds true: 72% of candidates will share their poor interview experience online, while 55% of job seekers report avoiding certain companies after reading negative online reviews.



4. Provide Competitive Compensation

Due to inflation, the cost of living has risen, further complicating working professionals’ financial situations. As of November 2022, the consumer price index for food is 10.9% higher than in October 2021 and is predicted to continue to increase.


That said, companies should continuously research the market industry and provide a competitive package with good benefits to attract and retain employees.


5. Maintain Unique Corporate Brand and Reputation

Building an efficient hiring process also allows companies to create a better, positive reputation among future job applicants. 50% of candidates said they wouldn’t work for a brand with a poor reputation. Therefore, employers need to keep up to date with company reviews to see how they can improve their branding and reputation. By maintaining a unique corporate brand and strong reputation, companies can attract applicants who are less likely to drop in the recruitment process and more importantly, genuinely interested in the company’s values and work culture.



Conclusion

Though ghosting may be a generational trend, it may be pointing towards a symptom of an inefficient recruitment process that is lowering the company branding. Companies should properly assess and streamline their hiring process that will better attract and retain talent.



Employers should also engage the right stakeholders committed and invested in providing services that align with the brand reputation. To build a successful, unique brand, the entire company needs to be invested and engaged in building its workforce.



Source: HRCap, Indeed, Randstad, BLS, RobertHalf, Fast Company, PRNewswire, Monster, CareerBuilder, Business, HRDive, HCI, ERS, Glassdoor



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