As recruiters we have all experienced the dreaded call from our clients.
Client: “The candidate isn’t here yet?”
Recruiter: “I am so sorry, they confirmed their attendance, and I text them this morning, let me call them and find out where they are?”
Recruiter then calls, texts, sends an email, DMs, checks their LinkedIn, WhatsApp’s, voice notes and sends a carrier pigeon, message in a bottle but to no avail. Zero response from the candidate that had faithfully confirmed their attendance to the interview and spoken to you about how excited they were to attend!
YOU HAVE BEEN GHOSTED
A recent survey revealed that a staggering 83% of candidates had ghosted potential employers. So why is this such a common trend?
Ghosting can happen at any given time during the recruitment process. The candidate may not attend the interview, stopped responding to contact following a successful interview, or they may have accepted an offer and then simply not shown up on their first day of work.
This behaviour is seriously frustrating not only for the recruiter but for the hiring managers. It is a waste of time, resources and can potentially damage reputations and business relationships.
Good Manner’s Cost Nothing
So, what is it that drives this behaviour have we really reached a time in our society where good manners have been lost as well as the ability to value people’s time. It is thought that the fear of confrontation plays a significant psychological factor, which then contributes to candidates choosing to ghost rather than have potential uncomfortable conversations, that can for many people trigger feelings of anxiety and stress.
It’s not tit for tat
Now the trend seems to be catching on with recruiters and hiring managers alike with some candidates experiencing ghosting during the application process. Not hearing back from recruiters or having to chase hiring managers for feedback. It’s all starting to feel a little bit like playground tactics of well if they did it to me, so I’ll do it back. It’s time for us to all, dare I say it, grow up and have an adult conversation.
Lead by example
Ensure that as recruiters you hold yourself accountable, effectively communicate with all candidates and applicants, No one likes to deliver bad news and I admit it’s my least favourite part of the job, but you need to treat people fairly and follow up on your promises. Make sure that people feel that you value their time. Building good solid relationships won’t stop ghosting entirely but it will help to identify if there is any holes in your communicative style and could help avoid it from occurring.
Remove the fear from the equation
Encourage open and candid conversations without judgement with your candidates and clients. If we know that candidates can be triggered by confrontation and if the fear of having difficult conversations is the root cause of the ghosting culture, then remove the fear. Ask open questions to the candidates at the point of screening to establish if they are considering other opportunities, do they have a preference, and don’t take offence if the answer is not your role.
At least you will know where you stand, and it will give you an opportunity to look at alternative candidates ahead of them potentially regretting your clients interview or offer. Or it could help you to decide how serious the candidate is about the opportunity in the first place.
Make it okay for your candidates to say no
As recruiters we make our money by placing candidates, we are salespeople, and ultimately, we tend to have a nature to push and not to take no for an answer. But this is can be counterproductive especially when trying to engage with candidates who are struggling to communicate and may find it too intimidating to speak to you on the phone especially if it’s not positive news. If that’s the case, encourage your candidates to provide you with open and honest feedback. Explain that you are happy to except that an answer by email or text and this is perfectly acceptable. Don’t try and force a conversation with candidates that don’t want to communicate. Best to move on and not waste your time and energy.
Feedback is so important, but so is consistency. It is important to establish good practice measures to your communicative style. Create checklists for yourself to ensure that you are consistent with your communication and try and treat each interaction with your candidates as an opportunity to confirm their status.
When confirming an interview: I personally verbally confirm their availability and at this point I check if they have reviewed the job spec and what research they have done. By doing this it again helps to confirm their level of commitment and interest.
I then email confirmation to both candidate and client, I ask for the candidate to confirm their attendance by receipt of my email.
Follow this up with a further call to confirm they are ready; do they need help with interview preparation. Have they effectively researched the company, read through their CV/the job spec and do they have any questions prepared.
Send a “get out” and good luck text the morning of, which could read “Hi just checking all is well for your interview today, if you are having any issues attending, please can you contact me asap so that I can rearrange or cancel on your behalf. Wishing you best of luck and look forward to hearing how it goes. Kind regards”
Follow up with a debrief call. This allows you to get a feel for the candidate’s initial gut instincts, do they have any concerns, what did they think about the company, text if they don’t answer straightaway.