[3-minute insight]

Feeling frustrated with candidates ghosting you? Here’s another reason why they do it and what you can do to start reversing the trend.

My previous post ‘Do You Need to Call Ghostbusters?‘ delved into the real reasons why candidates ghost. However, it works both ways and it uses the law…

Of cause and effect.

What you send out, comes back.

the Law of cause & effect

Another reason for the trend of candidates ghosting potential employers (effect) comes from decades of employers ghosting their candidates (cause). Over time, this has created a message of:

‘We don’t care’

When 75% of job applicants are not hearing back, not even the twittering of crickets, which side is perpetuating the behaviour? Years of ghosting candidates has convinced a generation they’re not cared about. The law of cause and effect says:

“Well if you don’t care, why should we?

Subsequently, employers are feeling the pain of sins past and present.

I briefly mentioned, in my previous post, how ghosting is learned behaviour. I’m not condoning it, it sucks to be on the receiving end so what can you do?

It’s going to time and effort to reverse the global candidate ghosting trend. However, every organisation has to start somewhere and it begins with giving job applicants a reason to care by creating a human connection with them. The first point of which being…

The moment you receive their application.

Searching for work is stressful, time-consuming and can be mentally and emotionally draining for candidates. They may be needing the work to afford to live or are miserable in their current position. Either way, they’re not having any fun so acknowledge their pain by showing empathy.

Using automated application responses is common practice, but they all follow a similar, and frankly dull, format. A job applicant applying for several positions will be seeing the same repetitive responses, so make yours stand out.

Humanise automation with wording which says ‘we care’ and which reflects your organisation’s personality. The job application process can feel cold and sterile so add warmth by softening any generic language. This will help candidates to be seen as a person, not a number in your system.

A few examples:

  • Use their name. This is the most humanising thing you can do, it says: ‘We see you as a person, not a number’.
  • Thank them for their time. They’ve researched your organisation and have spent time on their CV to get you to notice them. Repay them the courtesy.
  • Say that you’re looking forward to reading (not reviewing) their application and finding out more about them – as a person, not just a skillset.
  • Let them know you appreciate how tough looking for a new job can be and therefore you’ll them know the outcome by xxxx.
  • Explain what happens next, such as when interviews will be conducted and how long your hiring process is expected to take. Keep them in the loop, they will appreciate it.
  • Acknowledge that technology isn’t perfect and if they’ve not heard back by xxxx they are welcome to call in and enquire. Provide them with the name of who they can contact with any queries and offer appropriate contact details.

Of course there will be applications which don’t make the grade so explain you understand how disheartening this feels and what to expect from you if they’re not successful.

When a candidate sends you an application, they’re knocking at your door, don’t leave them standing there…

Invite them in.

Candidates ghosting isn’t a behaviour that is going away overnight. However, if you can take measures to reduce the risk at the very beginning of your relationship with them and continue this throughout your hiring process, you’ve got a good chance of them sticking with you.

Samantha Lynne
I help business owners & hiring managers streamline candidate interviews to make right-first-time hires for the long-term.