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Is Candidate Ghosting Damaging Your Candidate Experience?

Ghosting: You say you’ll call, but you never do…

You might be doing your candidates, your clients, and your recruiting firm a disservice by ghosting job applicants. If you’ve never heard of this term, it means that you’ve effectively gone radio silent on an applicant without explanation. This can happen after exchanging emails or LinkedIn messages, after initial phone interviews, or after a lengthy interview process.

For the candidate, ghosting is stressful and frustrating. It leaves them in the dark and ultimately sours their relationship with your firm (and possibly your client, too). In fact, ghosting is one of the most common reasons job seekers report having a negative experience. A report found that a staggering 65% of people say they didn’t hear back from a position they had applied for, showing this is a common problem that needs to be addressed.

Why Ghosting Happens

As we’ve indicated, ghosting is a common occurrence among recruiters. Think it’s not happening in your recruiting firm? Unfortunately, you could be ignoring candidates unintentionally without even realizing it. 

You might have planned to follow up by the end of the day, but, well, things got busy and you forgot. You may have thought you set up that automated rejection email weeks or months ago, but it’s another one of those tasks that slipped through the cracks. You may have simply been too busy to explain to a candidate why they weren’t chosen for an interview or chosen for the job. With so many resumes to review, interviews to conduct, and paperwork to do, who can blame you? However, whether you’re ghosting intentionally or unintentionally, the results are the same: it hurts your brand.

Why It’s Detrimental to Your Brand

As a recruiter, your candidate experience matters. A good candidate experience improves the quality of your hires, decreases time to hire, and increases your job acceptance rate, which your clients no doubt appreciate. More than that, however, a positive candidate experience can help you prevent burning bridges and reduce bad word of mouth. This, in turn, can have a major impact on your employer brand and improve your bottom line.

What if you ghost candidates? Well, that experience is more likely to be negative. Those candidates are less likely to apply for future roles you advertise (and less likely to refer friends and colleagues), so you might miss out on great candidates. You might also notice more job seekers sharing their negative experiences with your firm online (like 72% of them do these days). The more unpleasant online reviews you have, the smaller your candidate pool can become over time, considering 55% of job seekers report avoiding companies and agencies with bad reviews. 

None of this bodes well for your client relationships, as they might become less pleased with your candidate selection. They may even start to wonder whether they should associate with your brand at all if things get bad enough. 

How to Stop Ghosting Candidates for Good

Now that you know there’s an issue to resolve within your firm, take the right steps to end candidate ghosting for good (and for the good of all involved). Keep these strategies in mind. 

Keep in Touch Early and Often

Especially if you have a particularly lengthy hiring process, it’s a good idea to keep in touch with candidates often as you move from one stage of the process to the other. For example, if you know you won’t have a decision made for another two weeks while you continue to interview other candidates, don’t leave candidates hanging all that time. Instead, send an email to update them on this timeline. Setting reminders in your calendar to follow up at certain stages in the hiring process can help ensure you continue to communicate on a regular basis. 

Be Transparent and Set Expectations

To ensure that no one at your firm is leaving candidates hanging halfway through the recruitment process, create a transparent talent acquisition strategy. A simple yet effective way to improve the candidate experience is to set clear expectations with candidates. Make it clear if you’re only going to respond to qualified candidates for an interview. Tell them your expected timeline for getting back to them. Let them know exactly what they should expect from the interview process, from start to finish. By keeping their expectations in check, it can help reduce frustration and disappointment. 

Automate the Recruitment Process

You have hundreds of job applicants in your ATS. How can you keep up with them all? It’s nearly impossible to create personalized communications for all candidates. That’s why taking steps to automate your recruitment process is the best way to make sure no one falls through the cracks. 

This can work in a few ways:

  • You can set up automated rejection emails and follow-ups, and even set up an email workflow to keep candidates engaged and keep communication flowing.
  • You can set up an AI chatbot and tech support on your website, so candidates can get answers to their queries without it taking up too much of your personal bandwidth. This means that, instead of hearing crickets when they try to get a hold of you, candidates can get near-human communication and answers to general questions right away. 
  • You can also consider automating other parts of the recruitment process, like resume screening and interview scheduling, so that you can add more time in the day to spend on personalized communications with candidates. After all, authentic, personable interactions can make or break the candidate experience.

Protect Your Brand

Enhancing your candidate experience can give you a competitive edge. Ghosting, on the other hand, can alienate your candidate base and hurt your recruiting firm’s brand. It’s good to remember that recruiting is a human sector, which means strengthening those candidate relationships is critical. After all, your firm is only as good as your candidate pool.

While you might be unintentionally ghosting candidates, the same thing might be happening to you, too. Discover techniques that will help prevent candidate ghosting. For more recruiter tips and best practices, visit People2.0’s Resources section.

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