Ghosted By A Top Prospect? How To Strengthen Your Hiring Process

By Larry Dolinko

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After a lengthy hiring process, you’ve finally found the right candidate for you and your company! There’s just one problem: they haven’t responded to your calls or emails. In other words, you’re being ghosted.

While ghosting is a term more commonly associated with relationships, it is happening more frequently during the interview process. Companies across different industries are experiencing radio silence from promising candidates at all stages of recruitment. From no-shows for scheduled interviews to prospective hires who won’t respond to job offers, this behavior can be extremely frustrating. Not only can it lead the position to remain unfilled, but in some cases, it could even require you to start the hiring process all over again.

While employers have traditionally been the party most guilty of ghosting or not following up with candidates, the tables have turned in recent years. With unemployment hovering at historic lows, job seekers will find themselves with more options. Their growing confidence in the job market can lead them to be more non-committal about new opportunities and not fear the repercussions of participating in this ghosting behavior.

If ghosting has started to take a toll on your company, it might be time to make some changes to your interview process. Although you can’t stop every candidate from disappearing, here are five ways you can keep ghosting in check:

Focus on employer branding

To help minimize your chances of getting ghosted, you need to ensure you are attracting the right candidates from the get-go. Since 59% of job seekers spend 30+ minutes researching a company throughout the hiring process, your employer brand is key.

Between your website, social media, press, and employee review sites, prospective hires should have a strong, accurate impression of your company before they even apply for the job. This will help create a sense of excitement and urgency about working for your company, which can help prevent ghosting at both the early and late stages of the interview process.

Shorten the interview process

With job seekers interviewing with multiple companies, employers who move too slowly in the hiring process risk missing out. If you are taking a long time to respond to applicants, schedule interviews, or make a final decision, your top candidates might ghost you for an employer who has a shorter interview process. To avoid this situation, check out these four ways to speed up your hiring process.

Be transparent + ask for feedback

A lack of transparency about where a candidate stands or why they are being asked to complete certain tasks during the interview process might lead them to vanish without a word. To help create a better candidate experience, be clear about the next steps at all stages of the interview process. Explain how many applicants are in the running, when a decision will be made, and how they can expect to hear from you.

At the same time, it’s important to make the effort to ensure professionals can be transparent with you. Even if you don’t have an update, keep in touch with your candidates and encourage them to give you feedback. Asking them how they feel about the role, whether they have any concerns, or need any clarification about the role, are easy ways to keep them engaged throughout the interview process.

Ensure all interviewers are on the same page

In order to decide whether to move forward with an opportunity, the candidate needs to feel that they got an authentic, well-rounded view of the role as well as the company. It’s impossible to do this if they are receiving mixed messages or inconsistent information at each touchpoint of the process. As a result, all parties involved in hiring and onboarding—from talent acquisition to human resources to the hiring manager—need to be aligned on the role, the vision of the company, and company culture.

Personalize job offers

With so many options in today’s market, some job seekers feel confident they can blow off an offer in order to find a “better” opportunity. That’s why it’s critical that you make your job offer feel personal and unique to the individual candidate. In addition to being able to emphasize why they are the right person for the role, you should also be able to explain why your company and this role matches their specific career needs and goals.

While these tips can help you proactively combat ghosting, you can’t prevent everyone from dropping out of your interview process. The silver lining is that candidates who do not have the decency to tell you they’re not interested are not the people you want to hire. The right person for the role will respect your time and be enthusiastic about moving forward in the process!

About the Author:

Edward Fleischman is the CEO of The Execu|Search Group, a leading recruitment, temporary staffing, and workforce management solutions firm headquartered in New York City with additional offices throughout the U.S. With over three decades of experience, Edward regularly advises employers on strategic senior-level hiring, structuring of compensation packages, and human resources issues.

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