How to make your hiring process immune to ghosting

A headshot of a young woman in a floral shirt smiling at the camera.

It’s a competitive job market. Tens or hundreds of candidates vie for the same jobs, and companies want the best of the best to fill their ranks. Yet three in four jobseekers have been ghosted by a company after an interview, and 28% have ghosted potential employers.

Ghosting has less to do with Halloween and more with vanishing into thin air. Whether it occurs in the dating world or job recruitment, ghosting is the halting of all communication from an individual without a reason or follow-up.

Even though communication between applicants and employers is easier now than ever, candidate ghosting is rising. It’s the number one challenge for talent acquisition teams around the world.

No one wants to spend time and resources on candidates who drop out of the hiring process without a goodbye. The overall recruitment cycle slows down when promising candidates disappear. This puts stress on hiring managers who can’t fill open positions and can cost revenue for understaffed businesses.

To stop — or at least reduce — candidates ghosting you, it’s essential to understand why it happens so you can formulate a strategy to counter the behavior.

Why candidates ghost employers

The most attractive characteristic of ghosting is how easy it is. Whether a candidate forgets to reply to an email or purposely ignores the communication in favor of a more desirable job posting, all that’s involved in ghosting is doing nothing. Hiring processes are becoming increasingly virtual, and candidates may feel less emotionally invested. They can ghost guilt-free.

It’s also easy to apply to multiple job postings. Features like LinkedIn Easy Apply mean candidates can submit themselves for consideration with one click. However, it’s easy to forget about the application, especially if the company that posted the job doesn’t send a follow-up until much later.

Today’s job seekers want jobs on their terms. A recent Robert Half survey found that nearly half of applicants dropped off the hiring process because the job wasn’t what they expected. Another 8% ghosted because the company implemented a mandatory return-to-office policy.

A pie chart showing the reasons why candidates might ghost your hiring process: mandatory return-to-office (8%), job not what was expected (43%), received another offer (18%), poor interview process (31%)

You can’t control other companies — or your company policy — but there are ways to reduce candidate ghosting. It all starts with communication.

Review your communications

Like in many areas of life, communication is key to the success of your recruiting process. It begins when a potential applicant sees your job posting and is interwoven throughout recruitment up to the final offer letter and beyond.

You should pay specific attention to three dimensions in your communications with candidates: touchpoints, tone, and tailoring.

Touchpoints

Candidates who ghost you aren’t engaged with your hiring process. Increasing the number of touchpoints with candidates keeps them informed about where they are in the process and makes it less likely they’ll forget they’ve applied. When 70% of candidates don’t hear back after applying for a job, more touchpoints mean you’ll stand out.

Consider communicating with applicants when you receive their application and every time their status changes. Candidates should be made aware when they move to the next round of a process.

Even if they won’t be considered further, let them know so that they won’t be left hanging. This is also a great way to show you appreciate the time they put into the process. It is a professional way to close the communication loop without alienating the candidate from future applications.

Tone

Each candidate is a potential future colleague. Be professional and respectful in your communications with every applicant, not just those who seem like the best prospects.

Taking the time to craft a well-written message to candidates that make them feel like people, not application numbers, can also improve their engagement and make them less likely to ghost.

Maintaining multiple touchpoints for hundreds of candidates simultaneously doesn’t have to be a chore. When using Knockri’s automated interview process, candidate communications are automated with your custom copy to keep applicants interested and on track. Manage expectations, create personalized touchpoints at every stage of the process, and mitigate ghosting by keeping candidates engaged.

Book a demo today to learn how Knockri can help you keep in touch with every single candidate without having to babysit your inbox.

Tailoring

Tailoring your messages is about more than getting the candidate’s information right — though spelling their name correctly is the bare minimum. Tailoring also means knowing what your applicant pool expects and tailoring your messaging and process accordingly.

For example, if your applicant pool values diversity and inclusion, mention your company’s DEI initiatives on the job posting. Read up on various talent groups like Zillennials and the LGBTQ community to learn their perspectives and ensure your hiring process is as inclusive as possible.

You can also minimize the risk that a candidate will ghost you in favor of another offer by managing their expectations. Include an overall timeline and next steps in your communications, so applicants know where they stand.

Change how you think of applicants

Shifting your mindset to think of candidates as customers or business leads can help create a more efficient process with better communication. Good customer service means timely responses, professional and friendly language, and creating an experience based on goodwill.

Show candidates you see them as a long-term investment, not just a resume or an application number, and they’ll put in the effort in return.

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