One of the most common People Management issues to arise within the past year or so is what we call “ghosting in the workplace.” For companies, that particularly means candidate ghosting. That’s the decision a candidate or new employee makes to intentionally not communicate with an employer. Examples include:
- Not returning an employer’s call to set up an interview after submitting a resume.
- Setting up an interview but no showing for the interview without explanation.
- Accepting an offer but not showing up the first day of work and without communicating to the employer.
- A candidate starts a new job and a few days later no-shows without communicating with the employer.
To get a deeper understanding of what takes place with candidate ghosting and the impact it has on business, read: “Ghosting: The New Workplace Headache.”
The Company’s role in
The idea of ghosting in the workplace is complex but nothing new. It started long before the recent trend by applicants in the workforce today, and in fact, has its start in companies ghosting applicants.
Unemployment hit its peak in October 2009 with a rate of 9.2% after the stock market crash in 2008. Between approximately 2008 – 2015, many companies were receiving hundreds of resumes and applications for very few open positions. With that, companies began to communicate less and less throughout the hiring process, whether from the overload of applicants or simply negligence. Fast forward and now, as companies began hiring again over the last several years, the lack of communication with candidates has, too a large degree, persisted.
Some of the unfortunate consequences of companies’ lack of communications during the hiring process has included applicants applying for jobs under the assumption that they may never hear anything back, not even an automated thank you for applying.
To say applicants have felt less valued in the process is not an understatement. And with less face-to-face communication and increasing dependency on digital communications, the hiring process has also become less personal. Employers’ continued lack of response to applicants has created an atmosphere where people have become used to the idea that little to no communication will be provided by an employer unless they are truly interested in them.
Unfortunately, this has played a part in “training” applicants on how to respond to potential employers. Now that the tables have turned and employers are desperate for qualified talent, employers are now the ones frustrated by candidates’ lack of communication with them.
When the roles are
Currently, the unemployment rate is approximately 4%, a 20-year low, resulting in more jobs available than qualified applicants. It has become increasingly more competitive and challenging for employers to find that right person for the right seat on their bus. In this current labor market, employers now find themselves in situations where many applicants do not return phone calls, emails, show up for interviews, or even their first day on the job.
Now that roles are reversed and after years of lack of communication from employers, applicants now have “control” since they have more job opportunities. Candidates do not feel the sense of urgency to respond or follow through with businesses as in the past. Many applicants often have multiple job opportunities, making it easier for them to only focus and communicate with job opportunities they are truly interested in.
How to minimize the effects of ghosting in the workplace
- Communicate. Communicate. Communicate. Create a process that includes clear expectations and communications during and after each step in the hiring process. This includes from the time an application is received up until an applicant is hired. Most importantly, communicate with everyone who participates in phone and in-person interviews throughout the hiring process, including those that you don’t plan to hire.
- Learn from your losses. Unfortunately, candidate ghosting during the hiring process has become more of the norm. It will happen. Applicants who exhibit signs of ghosting, such as a slow response to emails or phone calls regarding interview scheduling may be a signal that the applicant is not truly interested. Determine if the candidate is the right fit for your company or not and make the decision to move on. This will help improve your hiring decisions and process. Use those situations to better understand the employees you want working in the company – strong communication skills with both internal and external customers.
- Be transparent. As was mentioned in our previous blog related to ghosting, when you are transparent with candidates, you set the precedent and demonstrate your company values. When the company is honest with its applicants, candidates are more likely to be the same. And following the Golden Rule is just good for business: “Treat others the way you want to be treated.”
Moving forward, review your hiring process and communication processes with candidates. Setting clear expectations and demonstrating follow through in the hiring process will not only improve current candidates’ experiences, but create respect and trust within your company with current and future employees, and how they talk about your company to others whether they were hired or not.
Need help with employee communications or the hiring process? Close HR Connections is ready to help.