Research Highlights

Feeling Ghosted? Your Hiring Culture May Be to Blame

May 25, 2022 - Valery Caputi Lopez

How often has this scenario happened to you: you’ve been speaking with a candidate, they’ve passed the first-round interviews with flying colors, and you’re excited to invite them to meet with the hiring manager. But then they don’t respond to your phone calls or emails.

Guess what? You’ve been ghosted!

According to a recent survey conducted by Brazen and Talent Board conducted by Brazen and Talent Board, candidate ghosting is the top challenge talent acquisition teams face today. Among the survey participants, 37% cited candidate ghosting as a major obstacle in attracting and sourcing qualified candidates. So why are candidates ghosting employers, and what can you do to minimize it?

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What is Candidate Ghosting?

Candidate ghosting is the phenomenon in which a job applicant unexpectedly drops out of the recruitment process without notifying employers of their decision. Ghosting can occur at any stage of the hiring process: after screening and interviews rounds, after receiving an offer, and even after accepting the job. A 2021 survey from Indeed found that the vast majority of employers--76%, in fact--experienced candidate ghosting within the previous year.

Why are Candidates Ghosting Employers?

Candidate ghosting can result from several factors. One potential reason is that a job applicant has multiple offers and only responds to the one they accept. Newer entrants to the workforce and those still enrolled in universities may also be less familiar with professional etiquette, and therefore may be less inclined to inform employers of their withdrawal from the recruiting process.

However, there are other indications that a negative candidate experience plays a large role in the likelihood of candidate ghosting. Talent Board research has found that some of the other reasons for candidate ghosting are due to an employer's poor hiring culture: inefficient interviewing and screening processes, lack of timeliness in receiving a job offer, and poor onboarding experiences. In fact, data from the 2021 Talent Board Candidate Experience Benchmark Research found that candidate resentment increased 75% in 2021. This is yet another reason why developing a positive candidate experience–including personalization and efficiency–is so important to attracting and retaining qualified candidates.

How Can Talent Acquisition teams reduce the likelihood of candidate ghosting?

While there is no silver bullet that is applicable to everyone, the short answer is to hold your company accountable for its hiring culture and take steps to improve the candidate experience where needed. Organizational cultures can be difficult to change, but even a few of the tweaks below can make a BIG difference.

Think Better Tech

To start, talent acquisition teams can incorporate recruiting technologies into the initial job application, screening round, interview process, and onboarding or job training in order to speed up the timeline. Reducing the amount of time it takes prospective employees to apply for a job, schedule an interview, and hear back with next steps or an offer will reflect favorably on your recruitment process as well as build your company up as a reputable employer with a positive hiring and workplace culture.

Over-Communicate

Another way to cut back on ghosting is to maintain an open dialogue with job candidates about other opportunities they are exploring so you can ensure that your hiring timeline is consistent with when they might be receiving offers from other companies. At the same time, be transparent about your hiring process, job requirements, interview questions, and timeline (perhaps sharing some details in your job postings) so candidates know how many steps to expect and how long it might take. Keeping everyone in the loop means you are less likely to miss out on a stellar future employees.

Personalize the Journey

Other ways to reduce candidate ghosting include using recruitment strategies that personally connect prospective employees with recruiters, developing a human connection. Virtual hiring events like career fairs through campus recruiting, online info sessions, and informative webinars are excellent tools to use in your overall recruitment strategy as a way to personalize and humanize the job hunting process for candidates and bring your core values to light, in addition to expanding your applicant pool. These can also help to initially assess candidates for culture fit, interpersonal skills, and soft skills so you can feel even more confident about advancing them to first-round interviews—and so they can feel confident about your company culture and future employee experience, too.

Remember the Golden Rule

Finally, follow the golden rule: treat others the way you want to be treated. According to the 2021 survey from Indeed, 77% of candidates have been ghosted by employers during the COVID era (in some cases, even after they've received an offer), which may further contribute to candidates’ willingness to ghost employers. Fostering timely and respectful communication with candidates at every stage of the process will not only improve the candidate experience, but also give you a competitive advantage over other companies vying for the same top talent.

Want to know about more challenges talent teams are facing today? Download the full report from Brazen and Talent Board here.

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