While you cannot control all the factors that lead to ghosting, minimizing the amount is critical
Candidate ghosting has become so bad that a client just told me that they had an 89% ghosting rate for interviews! Think of that, for every 100 people who make it through the initial screen and are invited in for an interview, only 11 show up. Not only does that destroy the goals for efficiency and budgeting, it completely deflates the recruiters. As the client puts it, “ghosting kicks the heart out of the recruiters.”
But does ghosting hurt your employer brand? Does it have an impact on how candidates view your company and the prospect of hiring future employees? Unfortunately, the answer is yes!
Let’s look first at why ghosting happens. Some of them you can control, some of them you can’t. And ghosting can happen at any stage of the recruiting process. You can reach out to candidates who applied and never get a response; candidates can disappear when asked to take an assessment, they can fail to show up for an interview, and they can no-show on their first day of work. What’s happening?
You can probably trace your ghosting back to one, or a combination, of the following:
- Candidate Received Another Job Offer. It’s unfortunate the candidates lack the professional courtesy to tell you that they are no longer available for your opening, but they often don’t. If this happens, you may want to look at your process and identify ways to shorten it so you don’t lose good candidates.
- Automation Made the Process too Impersonal. In our quest to automate the recruiting process, we have lost a lot of the personal interaction that makes a candidate feel wanted and welcome. Candidates are becoming doubtful that the job opportunity is real! If candidates aren’t connecting with you face-to-face, insert recorded video into your process to add a human face and voice to the process.
- Unemployment Benefits Are Providing Sufficient Income. In much of the U.S., the combination of federal and state unemployment benefits is close to the income a worker would receive for an hourly job. When they add in their commuting costs, food costs, childcare and other expenses associated with work, the difference isn’t enough to make the move. While supplemental benefits are expiring, salary pressure may require a review of starting wages.
- Covid Fears Are Still Present. While vaccines have reduced the fears of many people, some individuals are still wary of being in crowds, dealing with the public, riding public transportation or entering indoor spaces. Emphasizing safety measures and being transparent about infection rates can help address those fears.
- There Are Too Many Unknowns. For many candidates, they are offered a job before they have met a single person, set foot in the company or had a chance to connect to their co-workers. Even if the job will be 100% remote, accepting a job with so many unknowns feels risky and unsettling. Having co-workers, hiring managers, department heads, human resources and others record informal introductions and messages can help candidates feel connected.
But how does ghosting hurt your employer brand? It hurts you because people talk to each other, and when they do, one or two impressions are made:
- Yours Is a Company that Can Be Blown Off. If a potential candidate hears that a friend applied for a position with you, and didn’t bother to follow through, it tells them that you are not a valued employer. Candidates rarely drop out of an opportunity with their employer of choice. If you are being ghosted, your reputation will suffer.
- You Are Lacking as an Employer. Many individuals will be reluctant to admit that they dropped out of a job opportunity because they were scared, disconnected or unwilling to work. The ghosting candidate will often justify their action by attaching a negative attribute to your company such as, “I’ve heard they don’t treat people well,” or “It’s a really political environment,” or something similar. These attributes may be completely untrue but they become part of the conventional wisdom and, ultimately, part of your employer brand.
Most talent acquisition teams think of ghosting as an efficiency and productivity issue, but the impact on employer brand can be more detrimental and long lasting. While you cannot control all the factors that lead to ghosting, minimizing the amount is critical. The most effective solutions often include video.
Video can create a personal connection, even when it is recorded video that is used for multiple candidates. A recruiter introduction video that is sent to all applicants, who make it through the initial screen, can help candidates visualize the person shepherding them through the process. A hiring manager message telling candidates that they are looking forward to learning more about them can encourage candidates to complete screening tests and recorded interviews because they believe that someone is eager to see the results.
Recorded messages from the head of learning and development can reassure a candidate that they will have the training they need to succeed. Co-worker videos that are short introductions about their favorite foods or sports teams can humanize individuals and create a connection.
If you want to see the impact that video has on you, watch this 30 second clip.
Your employer brand is your reputation in the marketplace and you can influence it by the information you share. All of the efforts you make to minimize candidate ghosting will strengthen your employer brand and help build the reputation you need to succeed.
This article was originally written for HR.com and can be found here.