Business Advice

How the talent shortage is serving up a trend of candidate ghosting

- November 29, 2021 3 MIN READ

Most businesses have more than a few frustrating “ghosting” stories – after regular contact with a candidate, suddenly all communication goes dark. In the current market, where the talent shortage looms large and qualified candidates are at a premium, ghosting can be especially tough to swallow, writes Aaron McIntosh, Managing Director, APAC, Bullhorn.

According to research by Indeed, 83 per cent of employers have experienced ghosting. Our own surveys and interviews with thousands of recruitment professionals reveal that it is likely on the rise.

What can businesses do about ghosting?

Ghosting occurs for a number of reasons. Often, candidates discover midway that the role isn’t a fit, they find a better opportunity elsewhere, or a busy or demanding home life puts their job search on hold. Notifying recruiters or businesses of these changes isn’t always a top priority.

These causes – which have been exacerbated by the pandemic – are often outside of the your control. Our survey of 2,000 global candidates found that half of candidates report that complications related to the pandemic are the top cause of difficulty in their job search process.

The cause of ghosting

However, there is one major underlying cause of ghosting that both businesses and recruiters can address and improve: poor candidate placement processes. Ninety per cent of candidates say they wish the process of working with recruiters was more streamlined. A full half of candidates report abandoning a job or placement midway through the process because it took too long.

Additionally, regular communication can be an effective safeguard against some instances of ghosting. Candidates cited insufficient communication from recruiters as the top reason for a poor candidate experience, followed closely by the belief that their needs weren’t prioritised by the recruiter.

Build a rapport

Although ghosting often happens through no fault of the recruiter, candidates that value their relationship with their recruiter may be more inclined to stay in touch. Agencies that can free up recruiter time to spend on relationships may be in a better position to convert more potential ghosting cases into placements.

To address these cases, businesses must focus on providing a streamlined candidate experience and clear communication about the job and its benefits and criteria. Organisations that set expectations early on and provide a positive candidate experience have less to worry about from ghosting.

What can recruiters do to contend with ghosting?

Recruiters must address the fact that some percentage of candidates will suddenly disappear by increasing the intake of qualified people. This necessitates sourcing at scale: bringing in a larger number of candidates by automating the initial engagement and pre-screening to ensure a consistent pipeline of candidates to move forward with.

This, in turn, depends on choosing the right technology. The root of ghosting is often poor communication, leaving candidates in the dark about where they’re at in the process. Automation offers an effective way to keep candidates in the loop and ensure that they’re engaged throughout the early stages of the process.

Put tech to use

Automation also plays a key role in recruiting at pace. This is key for meeting client expectations and ensuring that candidates remain engaged – especially if they are juggling multiple opportunities simultaneously. By automating “busywork,” recruiters can claim back valuable hours and ensure that they are delivering the best possible experience for candidates.

Recruiters must also work to accommodate the rise of mobile recruitment apps that enable candidates to “self-serve” at several key steps of the recruitment process. If a candidate expects to be able to play a part in interview scheduling, shift scheduling, profile management, and onboarding, they may become frustrated with inflexible processes and ghost. This tech is particularly relevant for high turnover, shift-based industries like retail and hospitality.

Candidates may also ghost a recruiter when they realise a role is a poor fit for them. Recruiters need to put in additional effort to put the right roles in front of candidates, demonstrating that they understand the things the candidate finds important. A scattered, impersonal approach is far more likely to result in ghosting, whereas a detailed, up-to-date database of candidate profiles, detailing their job needs and preferences, reduces the chance.

Ghosting is here to stay

Ghosting is likely to remain a thorn in the sides of recruiters, but technology-forward agencies focused on providing a positive candidate experience will be in a good position to weather the storm.

The rise of ghosting presents a valuable opportunity for recruiters and businesses to re-evaluate whether they are being as straightforward as possible, offering the best to their candidates, and delivering a smooth candidate experience. Above all, the best way to avoid ghosting is to connect the right talent with the right opportunities, as people are far less likely to walk away when their perfect job is within reach.

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