In today’s vernacular, when we “ghost” someone, we stop answering phone calls and texts and just vanish into the ether without goodbyes or explanations. In the employment world, a similar phenomenon has recently attracted attention as candidates engage in the same behavior with prospective employers.
This behavior has been becoming more of a hot-button issue throughout this year. Employers are increasingly aware of the possibility that a candidate might not show up for an interview or an employee might suddenly pack up and leave almost as soon as they start a job. In the context of at-will employment, there’s nothing at all illegal about ghosting. Employees and candidates are allowed to end the professional relationship at any time, for any reason. But ghosting still strikes employers as unprofessional, and in some cases baffling.
The scariest fact of all is this behavior feels new. We’re just emerging from the shadow of the great recession, a period in which employers held the cards and employees often jumped at any job offer that came their way. This no longer seems to reflect the power dynamic, for a host of reasons. First, job offers are more plentiful than they were ten years ago, and with unemployment continuing to sink to historic lows, fewer people are looking for more open positions – meaning candidates have greater choice than ever.
To avoid getting ghosted by prospective candidates or newly-hired employees who don’t appear when they’re scheduled to start work, raise the value and meaning of the position they are pursuing. If you treat the relationship as tenuous, cheap, meaningless or fleeting, don’t expect the employee to stay engaged throughout the hiring process and into the start of their work. Candidates and employees will take your open position and your relationship as seriously as you do.
If you offer a salary that isn’t up to par with other businesses in your region or industry, expect your candidate to move on and take a better offer when they find one. Finding employees that will make a difference – and ensuring their skills and expertise feel valued in the job offer – is critical to closing hiring decisions quickly.
Whether there was a miscommunication or a change in expectations during the hiring process or the onboarding process, maintaining constant communication helps prevent cases of job abandonment. Candidates who know what’s expected of them and what they can expect from you are more likely to stay engaged throughout their time interacting with your business.
Make sure to keep connections open so candidates can reach out to you when they have questions, and be as honest and helpful as possible in your interactions. Personalize communications so candidates don’t feel like they are receiving the same cookie-cutter message as the rest of the applicants who are pursuing a certain opportunity. Keeping the lines of communication open makes it easier to avoid issues throughout the hiring process – and makes it easier to identify issues that do arise.
Make sure your job posting and your earliest interactions by phone and email show respect and appreciation for the candidate. This may mean ensuring that your offer is above, not equal to, the average market rate for the job. And it may mean emphasizing the importance of the job and how it contributes to the broader goal of company success.
Respect breeds respect. If you want to receive it, show it. Start by respecting the company and the position, and follow through by respecting the candidate and the time she’s willing to invest by submitting an application. For more, contact the staffing team at Executive Alliance.