Tired of Losing Your Best Candidates? Stop Ghosting Them

Advice for Recruiters: Stop Ghosting Candidates

Today’s job hiring process can take longer than it requires for candidates to stick around. According to the 2018 Recruiting Benchmark Report by Jobvite, the average time to hire is 38 days. If you’re not regularly communicating with candidates throughout the process, they may move on to an employer that actually does.

One culprit of job seeker drop-off is “ghosting.” You may be familiar with the term as it’s related to relationships. Ghosting is disappearing from communication. There’s no good-bye or explanation, just an abrupt end to responses.

There are lots of reasons you might need to cut off communications with candidates. There might be a change in priorities. Maybe the position you were recruiting for has changed. You may have received different referrals that are better fits for a position. You might just feel plain overwhelmed and think that you don’t have time to keep up communications with lower-level candidates.

If you’re ghosting candidates, even when your reason is supposedly justified, you run the risk of a candidate ignoring you when you decide to restart the conversation. Plus, there are other repercussions, like damaged reputation and a dwindling talent pool. Here’s why you should avoid ghosting candidates and how to keep communications afloat and effective as you work with multiple candidates.

3 Reasons Why Ghosting Candidates Is Never a Good Idea

Even when you’re 100% sure you no longer want to pursue a relationship with a candidate, it’s never acceptable to ghost them. Here are 3 reasons to keep in mind.

  1. It’s disrespectful. If you want to maintain a good reputation as a recruiter, you should be empathetic to the people you’re dealing with. The person you ghosted might warn their contacts about the company you’re recruiting for, which can narrow the talent pool in the future.
  2. Circumstances may change. You may ghost one candidate because a decision has been made to hire another. What if the candidate you present an offer to turns it down? You’ve damaged the relationship with your next-best candidate because you ghosted them.
  3. You want to keep a strong talent pool. Once you’ve put in the time to get to know a candidate, you can save time in the future when a position they’re a fit for opens up and they’re still in your pipeline. Ending a relationship on good terms, rather than ghosting, increases the likelihood that candidate will stay in your talent pool and be open to a future opportunity.

Yes, it can be hard to tell a candidate they’re no longer what you’re looking for. But having that conversation can mean the difference between maintaining solid ties and a good reputation in your industry, versus angering a candidate and tarnishing your reputation. Keep the following in mind to avoid ghosting candidates.

How to Avoid Ghosting Candidates

Reputation is everything for businesses these days. With the U.S. Department of Labor reporting unemployment was at just 3.5% as of February 2020, candidates have more job-seeking power. You need to show candidates you appreciate the time they’ve spent with you so far and maintain relationships with them. You never know when you can benefit from those relationships in the future.

When you know you want to move on from a candidate, use these tips to avoid ghosting them and to gain a new connection instead.

  1. Let them know you’re no longer interested. Keep the note short and sweet. Let the candidate know you’re grateful for their time and will be in touch with future opportunities, if they’re open to that.
  2. Offer to stay connected. Provide the candidate with a way to stay in touch, whether it’s your email address or your LinkedIn profile.
  3. Maintain the relationship. At least once or twice a year, it’s a good idea to check in with your network to see where they are in their careers, what types of opportunities they’re looking for and what their availability is. That makes your job as a recruiter easier and gives you the opportunity to connect candidates with other hirers in your network, which is a professional networking win all-around.

Avoiding ghosting can all be done over email. Some form of communication is better than zero communication. Be polite, honest and respectful to maintain relationships and your reputation.

What About Accidental Ghosting?

You should also avoid accidental ghosting. When you’re still interested in a candidate, you need to keep them engaged, especially during long hiring processes. If they don’t hear from you because you’re still waiting on internal processes to move along, they may assume you’ve ghosted them and may move on themselves. Make sure you:

  • Are prompt to respond when a candidate you’re interested in messages you
  • Reach out with frequent updates about the hiring process
  • Give candidates clear timelines and expectations – for example, how long a background check takes to be completed
  • Provide information, like company news, to keep the company at the top of candidates’ minds during the hiring process

It also helps to have open conversations with candidates to see where they are in their job search process and if they’re talking to other companies. That way, you can be more proactive in your communications and avoid accidental ghosting.

Have You Been a Victim of Ghosting?

If you’re part of a small business or are an individual who has experienced the negative effects of ghosting during hiring, HiConsulting Services can help. Our small business services include human resources and hiring services that respect candidates and maintain a positive reputation for your business.

For candidates, if you’ve experienced frequent ghosting during hiring processes, we offer career coaching services that can help you identify why. Contact us for a free consultation.

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Interested? Contact us to learn more about our terms and services.

Hillary Kuenn is an ambitious, responsible and compassionate leader. I’ve known Hillary for several years and have had the opportunity to work with her, both under her guidance and in a collaborative capacity. She’s not one to settle for mediocrity, is consistent in her attention detail, and extremely intentional in implementing a clear vision and strategy as a business development manager. Hillary is also a great coach, providing encouragement and motivation, but also an objective opinion when you need to hear it. I highly recommend Hillary if have the opportunity to work with her. She is a business changer.

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