Recruiters should be spooked by the job ghosting trend

If candidates are suddenly going quiet on your company partway through the selection process, this could be a sign that it isn’t impressing an increasingly selective talent pool
May 11, 2023

Ghosting – a term that became popular on the online dating scene to describe the unilateral ending of all contact without warning or explanation – is increasingly cropping up in recruitment.

It used to be jobseekers who would complain – with some justification – about HR teams that ignored them, despite their carefully considered applications. But now employers are sharing their frustrations at candidates who cut off contact with them even after getting to an advanced stage of the recruitment process.

Aviation services provider Swissport is the latest business to become a victim of such ghosting. Its chief people officer, Chris Rayner, told The Telegraph that only 2.4% of all its job applicants in the UK had become employees in the first few months of the year, compared with a usual conversion rate of about 9%.

Swissport suspects that many vanishing candidates are unemployed people with no intention of joining the firm. It believes that they’re merely seeking to show the authorities that they’re applying for jobs so that they can remain eligible for benefits. But this is far from the only reason why a promising candidate might go missing partway through the process.

Job search platform ZipRecruiter has found that many jobseekers aren’t shy about cutting off contact with recruiters. Its survey of 2,550 workers has found that 22% had ghosted a prospective employer during the application process. Respondents aged 18 to 34 were the most prolific ghosters, being three times more likely than over-55s to indulge in the practice.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business has published similar statistics: 37% of small firms reported being ghosted by job candidates during the selection process, while 36% said that they’d been left in the lurch by new recruits who didn’t show up for their first scheduled day of work.

The reasons for ghosting

There are several plausible reasons why a candidate might go quiet on you during the selection process. For instance, it’s possible that they’ve found another job or simply decided, having obtained more information about your firm and the role on offer, that it wouldn’t be a good fit.

While this practice is no more than than an occasional irritant to most recruiters, some employers have become more regular victims of ghosting. These firms would be wise to work out why that is.

For instance, they should ask themselves how the rewards they’re offering stand up against those of comparable employers in their market. Does the role offer the flexibility that many candidates are coming to expect as standard? Are the perks and benefits competitive?

Ghosting could also be a sign that candidates are spotting a red flag. If the recruitment team is failing to make a good impression in the first round of interviews, don’t be surprised if this deters applicants from going any further. Similarly, with the proliferation of employer review sites such as Glassdoor, it’s easier than ever for prospective recruits to peek behind the curtain and find out what it’s really like to work for an organisation.

Remember that recruitment is a two-way street

Employee ghosting also serves as a timely reminder that recruitment is a two-way street. As much as the onus is on the candidate to convince the employer of their credentials during an interview, the recruiter should also treat this process as a chance to show what it has to offer.

Businesses should be looking to make a memorable first impression on candidates and to build on this throughout the selection process, rather than relying on applicants’ initial interest in the role to keep them engaged.

It is also true that, given the state of the UK employment market, candidates can afford to be more choosy. Although the number of vacancies has fallen slightly in recent months to 1.1 million, the total still far exceeds any pre-pandemic figure. With the number of unemployed people per vacancy standing at 1.1, competition for talent is fierce.

Just as ghosting proliferated in the world of online dating as more people joined it, job ghosting has followed a similar trajectory. The abundance of choice for candidates means that they are more able and willing to cut and run whenever a better opportunity arises.

This is particularly problematic for businesses operating in an extremely tight labour market. Finding the ideal candidate is proving a real challenge for those firms. Conducting a recruitment process that results in a large amount of ghosting is a waste of their time, energy and resources. It can be crucial for them to act decisively as soon as they have identified a strong candidate.

By selling the company and its culture to candidates and offering a competitive package, businesses can exorcise their ghosts and prevent the best talent from vanishing into thin air.

Original Article: Raconteur

Frustrated even after getting to an advanced stage of the recruitment process. For all your recruitment challenges – contact our HR & digital recruitment specialist Gareth Allison on 02920 620702

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