Nearly a third of job seekers have admitted to ghosting a potential employer ahead of a job interview, research finds. What can you do to ensure it doesn’t happen to you?
Have you found a great candidate, locked in the date for a job interview, sent the calendar invite, but are now worried they might turn into a no-show?
According to a 2021 US survey conducted by Indeed, this fear is often warranted, as 28 per cent of job seekers admitted to having ghosted a potential employer in the previous year. And with Australia’s talent pool continuing to shrink, this trend is alarming as half of Australian businesses still struggle to find skilled talent.
For those unfamiliar with the term, candidate ghosting occurs when a prospective hire either doesn’t show up to the interview or suddenly stops communicating with a hiring manager or recruiter midway through the process.
There are a multitude of reasons why a candidate may ghost, including a lack of confidence in their ability to fulfill the responsibilities of the job, they’ve taken up another position in a different company, or perhaps they didn’t feel as though they had enough information from the get-go and have now placed your business in the ‘non-employer of choice’ basket.
To prevent a candidate ghosting you, here are a few tips to keep in mind.
1. Ensure the job posting is detailed
Check that your original job posting includes all the necessary information about the role, meets market standards and is realistic in terms of experience required and responsibilities of the position.
The job market is highly competitive, especially in today’s economy, which means that most candidates expect acceptable pay and benefits. It’s important to be up front about both these aspects.
A job posting is the perfect time to showcase the company, so it’s a missed opportunity if it lacks details about your employee value proposition.
Read HRM’s article on how to write an attention-grabbing job advertisement.
2. Check the candidate has the right information
When you lock in the interview, confirm you’ve given the candidate all the correct information including the time, date, location or VC link, and let them know whether they need to bring anything with them.
This might seem like an obvious thing to do, but the cause of most ghosting situations is a lack of communication. Failing to provide all the details at the start of the recruitment process can breed frustration for the candidate.
3. Give the candidate a pre-job interview check-in call
As some candidates can opt to follow their natural flight response when facing a nervous situation like interviewing for a new job, consider organising a quick informal impromptu or planned pre-interview check in call.
Not only does this allow the candidate to voice any concerns or ask any burning last-minute questions, but it allows you to start building rapport with them prior to meeting face-to-face (or via video call).
Try to use this time to reiterate all the great things about the job at hand, how excited you are to meet them and that you’re keen to hear about their experience and suitability for the role.
This pre-interview could be as simple as starting with:
“Hi, Hope you’re well?
I’m just calling to check in and see how you’re feeling about your interview next week, and if there’s anything we could do to make the experience better for you?”
From here, it’s a good idea to dive a little deeper and try to accommodate the candidate’s needs by asking them if they require any assistance when attending the interview. For example, if the candidate is hearing-impaired, they might require the support of a signer, or if someone stutters or is neurodivergent, they might want to disclose that ahead of the interview. You also might need to provide information on accessibility for some candidates (e.g., advising them where they can find wheelchair access or disabled parking zones).
By taking these steps in the pre-interview stage, the candidate will be more likely to believe the company’s values align with their own and that there will be processes in place to accommodate staff from all walks of life.
4. Streamline the interview process
Are you making your prospective hire jump through hoops before they’ve even been officially interviewed? While candidates might’ve persevered with their application prior to the pandemic, in light of the current talent shortages and the Great Resignation, they’re less likely to do so nowadays.
Candidates have accrued increasing power, which means they’ll be unlikely to hang around and answer endless questions in the application process or complete any assessment tasks before they’ve sat down to talk with you properly.
When deciding how many rounds of interviews to conduct, this varies depending on the industry, company and role, but generally two-three interviews is suitable. In pre-pandemic times, more than three interviews might have been appropriate, but it tends to be unrealistic nowadays to think a candidate will persist with their application.
You can read HRM’s article on How many interviews is too many? for more information.
During the interview process, the HR manager or recruiter should assess whether the candidate has the relevant and transferable skills and experience needed for the role, and whether they will work well together with their team. This can be determined by introducing the candidate to their team members, or at the very least, to their direct report.
5. Re-evaluate the recruitment process
If you’ve noticed your company has been ghosted a few times, it might be time to consider it a red flag and reflect on the entire process.
Just like the “it’s not you, it’s me” cliche, it could be time to admit that the problem actually is your outdated processes.
Whether it’s investing in a new recruitment system or restructuring your recruitment and onboarding process, test and trial what works to ensure future success and find winning candidates who stay for the long term.
Michael Osmond is the Head of People at JobAdder.
If a candidate has ghosted your company mid-way through the hiring process, it’s worth reviewing your approach to recruitment. AHRI’s short course, Recruitment and Workplace Relations, can be tailored to suit your company’s unique needs.