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The Recruit Game: Ghosting 👻

Updated: Nov 21, 2022

We’ve all been there before, you know where you submit your CV to a bunch of different companies, waiting for any sort of response that gives any indication that the company liked your CV, and then manage to make the recruiter pick up the phone for a quick chat. Or on the flipside of that, leading them to think you’re just not the right fit this time around and unfortunately, receive an automated email.

And even after you did successfully score that initial interview, and you're starting to feel pumped up about the company or the role, you are left hanging for days or weeks without any sort of acknowledgment of what the company thinks. Ghosting has become a real problem in the recruitment game these days, both for companies and candidates.

Many candidates have become worried about “ghosting”, the abrupt end of communication between parties without any sort of explanation. It is almost like companies and candidates alike think we are on OkCupid or Tinder. However, ghosting can have a very impactful effect on people, and it is important we find a way to overcome this together.

According to Insider, one solution could be to implement better hiring systems inside companies. With the constant changes in the employer/employee market, recruiters simply cannot keep up. They can easily become overwhelmed with thousands of resumes, with few resources on how to cope with the influx. They suggest that having tools in place, such as scanning systems that readily allow you to see relevant information can help with these problems. In addition, an email to thank a candidate for their time and efforts shows that companies do care and have intentionality.

Moreover, when people start to go through several stages, phone calls are key. A phone call really means a recruiter has taken the time to make it personal because calls take time, and an email is instant. Whether being rejected or not, this goes a long way with candidates. Sometimes a lack of internal structure really creates an easy opportunity for ghosting. With all the changes in today’s market, it's important for companies to step it up if they want to succeed.

Although before we go blaming it all on recruiters, candidates have also started ghosting back. An article in HR Brew cited a survey done by the people analytics company Visier. In their study, they questioned 1,000 UK employees and 1,000 US employees at large companies with at least 5,000 employees. 84% of job seekers had ghosted a potential or current employer in the last 18 months. writer Kristy Threlkeld wrote in her article that other reasons for candidates ghosting were related to salary offers, deciding the job or company just wasn’t for them or receiving a better offer from another company.

Now let's just think about that for a minute… It seems like regardless of the endless articles and data that show ghosting occurs on both sides, in general ghosting is being widely normalized as just “part of the hiring process”. How can we overcome this problem together?

As for recruiters, it's important that we try to make more time to implement processes that let candidates know and understand we value their time and effort. People are what make companies. By investing some time management and effective follow-up methods, in addition to timelines for letting candidates stay informed about each step, we can surely tackle some of these problems.

Job seekers, even though it may take longer, take charge. Don’t hesitate to follow up with the recruiter as well. If a few days have gone by, send a friendly email showing interest in the company and the role. That little hello reminder could just do the trick in getting a timely response. Remember: recruiters are busy people too and sometimes things slip through the cracks.

That being said, ghosting is a two-way street, however, it's time we take back the hiring process and make it a more positive experience for all parties involved.

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