Why Your Candidates Are Ghosting You (And How to Prevent It)

Even if you aren't familiar with the term ‘ghosting’, you’ll have no doubt experienced it. Ghosting is used to describe a situation where someone suddenly ‘vanishes’ or stops returning your calls, emails or texts.

A recent study by Indeed showed that 28% of candidates ghosted recruiters in 2021 – a big jump up from 19% in 2019. And while Covid-19 has had a major impact on the way we recruit, only 4% of candidates ghosted for reasons relating to the pandemic. So why do candidates ghost and what can you do to prevent it? Let’s dive in…

Why do candidates ghost recruiters?

Ghosting candidatesCandidates fall off the radar for many reasons, here are some of the most common…

  • They’ve accepted another job offer40% of candidates ghost when they receive another job offer. If a role with a  higher salary or more attractive perks comes their way, they’re likely to take it and never look back.
  • Communication has been poor – Whether you’re waiting on your client for interview feedback or simply too busy to get back to candidates individually, there’s no good excuse for ignoring them. If you don’t keep in touch, how can you expect them to feel like a priority?
  • The hiring process is too long – No matter what the market looks like, a lengthy time to hire causes candidates to get impatient and lose interest. But in a candidate-driven market, timeliness is even more crucial! Move slow and your candidate could ghost.
  • They decided the job wasn’t the right one 53% of candidates ghost if the job they are put forward for isn’t a good fit for them. Instead of communicating the problem, they’re more likely to ghost.
  • They’ve been ghosted before – The saying goes “what goes around comes around” and the bad news is 77% of candidates have been ghosted by an employer or recruiter during the hiring process.

How to prevent candidate ghosting

So what can you do to prevent your candidates from ghosting you?  

1. Create a great candidate experience

Research tells us that 40% of candidates think it’s acceptable to ghost an employer. It’s clear to see some damage control is needed if you want to prevent candidates from ghosting. A major step to overcome the problem is to create a great candidate experience.

It’s all about staying in your candidate’s good books: If you say you’ll email or call them on Monday – do it (even if you don’t have jobs for them)! Uphold your end of the bargain and support your candidate throughout the recruitment process. This will build the loyalty and trust you need to make sure your candidate sticks with you.

2. Encourage candidates to voice their concerns

No matter how hard we try, there’s no guarantee that every candidate's experience will be 100% positive. Maybe they aren't happy with the interview process, or suddenly they decide the role isn’t a good fit after all. Whatever the problem is, the first step to overcoming it is to get clarity on the situation – but this is easier said than done!

People naturally shy away from awkward conversations – sometimes we’d rather say nothing at all (and ghost) than bring up a problem. So to get your candidate to open up, you need to make sure they know you’re available to listen to any problems they have.

Be approachable, empathetic and a good listener. Regularly ask your candidate questions like “how are you finding the process?”, “is there anything extra I can do?” and tell them directly you’re always available to hear them out. That way, you’ll be able to counter the problems that come up instead of wondering why your candidate disappeared.

3. Educate your clients

candidate-short-market-min (1)No matter how much effort you put in as a recruiter, clients will always play a part in ghosting. Whether they fail to give candidates feedback or take too long to make a job offer, after all your hard work sourcing a candidate the last thing you need is your client to jeopardise your chances of securing the placement.

To overcome this, you need to establish some ground rules and clarify what’s acceptable in the current market. The best way to do this is to educate your client on the candidate-short market and the importance of timeliness.

Use recruitment statistics and data from your CRM to show just how in demand candidates are. Knowing every candidate you send their way is likely to be interviewing for many roles simultaneously will hammer the message home. Once they understand the challenges the market is facing, and how ghosting can impact their hiring process, they'll be more inclined to help counter the problem.

4. Tighten up your processes

Candidates ghost for many reasons, and it’s true that you might not be able to tackle all of them. But if you tighten up your processes and create a seamless recruitment experience, they’ll be far less likely to. Is there a certain point in the hiring process when candidates tend to ghost? The data in your CRM can help you identify any gaps in your process that need fine-tuning. 

Maybe it’s after you’ve created your shortlist, or when candidates are waiting for feedback? Knowing exactly when they drop off, you'll be able to proactively tackle the problem by setting set up automated triggers in your CRM to remind you to touch base with your candidates or creating automated email campaigns that do some of the hard work for you. Whatever it is, if you tighten up your processes then less candidates will fall through the cracks.  

To find out more ways to stay close to your candidate and manage a job offer from start to finish, download the eBook below. Managing Candidate Job Offers

Beth Williams

Awesome Aussie Beth is an experienced recruiter and Growth Executive here at Firefish. She has a huge love of the industry and a real passion for helping recruiters to change the way they recruit.

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