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Ghosting in Hiring: Recruiters & HR Managers

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Ghosting of applicants by hiring managers and recruiters has become all too familiar in today's virtual world of talent acquisition and recruiting. Gone are the days of formal rejections by letter, email and telephone. Ghosting occurs when a hiring manager stops responding to emails, fails to show up for an interview, or disappears at any stage of the hiring process. Ignoring a candidate who is looking for a job is not only rude to the candidate, but it can also be detrimental to your company.

Why Ghosting Candidates Occur

There are several reasons why HR managers ghost applicants:

Lack of human touch: Due to the pandemic, talent acquisition and recruiting have shifted to a virtual environment. Gone are the days of a candidate shaking hands with a hiring manager after submitting a resume. Recruitment technologies and software applications have dramatically increased efficiency, but candidates have paid a price.

Discomfort with saying no: It's human nature to like saying "yes" because it's much easier than the alternative. It's common for one to spy on a candidate to avoid the discomfort of saying "no."

Feeling overwhelmed: When a hiring manager or recruiter has too much to do and doesn't have enough time in the day, it's easy to forget to respond to a candidate. In fact, the number of applicants per hire - i.e. the number of applicants until the position is filled - is 183.4, an increase of 83.4 percent compared to 2019.

Why ghosting applicants is so harmful

Ghosting is harmful to everyone involved in the hiring process. Here's why:

When days, weeks, or even months go by without a candidate receiving a response, it negatively impacts the hiring process and the reputation of the employer or recruiter. The following statistics illustrate the impact:

  • 72% of job seekers have shared their bad experiences online or directly with someone.
  • Nearly 40% of applicants would be less likely to buy a company's products, follow them on social media, or apply for a job in the future if an employer treated them poorly.
  • 55% of applicants decline a job offer after reading negative online reviews.

How to prevent an applicant from being ghosted

To prevent ghosting, make the hiring process more efficient by setting realistic expectations and communicating in a timely manner.

Set realistic expectations: Streamline processes by scheduling an automated email to be sent to applicants immediately upon receipt of their application. Why? 66 percent of job seekers expect companies to respond to their first application in less than 24 hours. In the email, outline the timeline and expectations for the hiring process. Specify a date after which the applicant should contact you to check status. This will reduce the number of applicants who contact you via email or telephone too early in the process.

Communicate promptly: Contact rejected applicants as early as possible in the hiring process. This can be accomplished with an email, a Linkedin message, or a phone call. Contact us as soon as it is clear that the applicant is not suitable for the position. The more time passes, the more frustrated and discouraged the candidate becomes with the hiring process and your company.

How to communicate a rejection

To politely reject an applicant, you should be professional, respectful, and friendly and focus on the following points:

Be positive: Don't use the word "rejected." Instead, communicate that the selection team has decided not to further pursue the applicant's candidacy. Even if they don't receive a job offer, 60 percent of job seekers are more likely to apply for future positions with a company if they receive feedback during the interview.

Avoid words that could be misunderstood: To avoid discrimination, avoid saying that you are looking for more qualified applicants. Think carefully about the impact your criticism or advice might have.

Communicate appropriately: A candidate may be rejected via email or LinkedIn until a formal interview has taken place. As soon as an interview has taken place, inform the applicant of the rejection by telephone.

To combat ghosting, transparency and prompt communication are key. IceHrm's tools streamline the process, enhancing candidate experience.

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