Ghosting in recruitment: What is it and how to scare it off

Almost two thirds (65%) of UK adults have been ghosted during the recruitment process. This negatively impacts candidate experience and employer brand.

The majority (94%) of prospective candidates dropped at the interview process as part of the ‘ghosting’ practice, said it made them harbour negative feelings about the employer.

For 86%, it also left them feeling down about themselves, with 17% severely depressed.

But what is ghosting?

Ghosting usually refers to going silent on someone, by not replying to their messages. It typically happens on dating apps or by a crush when you triple text them.

As more technology enters the professional space, this term no longer only applies to dating. Now more than ever, recruiters and candidates are guilty of ghosting each other. In a tight job market, communication is the key to avoid this growing trend.

Your candidate could ghost you by not answering messages, ignoring your calls or even not showing up to an interview. How dare they! But candidates aren’t the only ones to blame. Sometimes recruiters can also be guilty of ghosting. This normally means ignoring calls or e-mails – leading to a vicious cycle of ghosting. Sounds spooky, right?

Mark Dexter, managing director at recruitment agency KDR, said he was surprised and saddened to hear that ghosting was so prevalent in the sector, particularly as talent professionals now have so many tools at their fingertips to respond to candidates.

“If it’s not an admin issue then, and more a case of not being bothered to offer feedback, then that is a very poor reflection on the industry no matter how busy people may be. As a minimum it can take just 30 seconds to send a quick email,” he said.

Dexter added that it is easier now, through platforms like LinkedIn and Glassdoor, for candidates to voice their dissatisfaction.

Though that may hold recruiters to account, he said there is no easy solution to put an end to it.

“I feel anecdotally that large parts of the industry are working to minimise the practice, but the sad fact remains that too many recruiters are measured purely on the end-result of filling a role and not on the equally important steps that get to that outcome,” he said.

Due to the detrimental impact ghosting has, talent acquisition software provider Tribepad, which conducted the survey, has launched a campaign calling on recruiters and HR to end the practice, particularly given the current challenges of the job market.

CEO Dean Sadler commented: “The whole planet has been upended in the past 18 months and it’s inevitable that the impact of that is far-reaching. The HR and recruitment industry is under intense pressure with the job market contracting and expanding at an incredible pace.

“Nonetheless, the practice of ghosting applicants, at potentially one of the most stressful times of their lives, is having a significant negative impact on the individual, and how brands are viewed.”Though ghosting is a common practice on dating apps, 25-34-year-olds, the demographic that use the apps most frequently, find ghosting in recruitment the most difficult.

Over half (53%) of this age group said it took them weeks or months to get over the experience of being ignored post-interview.

So, how do you prevent ghosting?

Meaningful and reliable communication is the key to stop ghosting. Building a good relationship with each candidate at every stage of the hiring process will help you. Candidates want to know that you value them as individuals and that they are your priority. If they find these stronger relationships through other recruiters, then you may find yourself getting stood up for an interview. (See what we did there? Stood up, ghosting, dating? Never mind).

Be positive, transparent and honest with your candidates and they will most likely treat you with the same respect.

Ensure your candidates feel valued by checking their CRM records each time you contact them. Past call recordings, detailed notes and data will help you provide a personalised communication for each and every contact, with CloudCall’s features.

Interested in finding out more about our solution to ghosting in recruitment? Sign up for a demo here.