Introduction to Candidate Ghosting

Ghosting – a phenomenon that is widely popular in the dating world – has unfortunately made its way to the recruiting world.

As a recruiter, have you ever been through a whole recruitment process, interviewed your top candidate, and even sent out your offer letter, only to be met with silence from the candidate’s side? It was as if the candidate vanished into thin air without so much as a second glance? If yes, then unfortunately you have been ghosted!

Employers all over the world are noticing this emerging trend especially since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. As per a survey conducted by Indeed, 77% of employers accepted the fact that they have been ghosted by jobseekers between March 2020 and February 2021.

So, why do jobseekers ghost employers, and what can you do to avoid candidate ghosting in your organization?


Why Are Your Candidates Ghosting You?

Presently, unemployment is at a historically low rate in many countries, while the demand for skilled and qualified candidates is on a rise. Today, candidates hold more power in the recruiting process than they have ever before. Skilled and talented job seekers are no longer afraid to walk away from organizations that don’t align with their expectations and goals.

A report by LinkedIn revealed that almost 95% of employers have been ghosted by prospective employees and as high as 40% of candidates believe that it is perfectly acceptable to ghost an employer.

Let’s look at some of the biggest reasons why prospective employees are dropping their employers and refusing to respond to their messages:


You Don’t Communicate Properly or Take Too Long to Respond

One of the biggest reasons why candidates ghost recruiters is slow communication. Most job seekers apply to multiple positions simultaneously and thus, it is important to respond to quality candidates within 24 to 48 hours of receiving their application. If you take too long to respond, chances are some other organization will grab their attention and your messages will be met with nothing but silence.


You Have a Lengthy and Unstructured Hiring Process

Your recruiting processes play a huge role in deciding the applicant’s interest in your company. If you have a lengthy and unstructured hiring process, they will likely lose interest in your company.

Most talented candidates receive multiple competitive and lucrative job offers and they are usually off the job market within an average of 10 days. So they don’t have the patience to go through a longer and extensive recruiting process when they already have multiple offers and interview calls on their hands.


Personal Reasons

Sometimes candidates don’t intentionally ghost their employers but an emergency or some personal reason makes them do so. Recruiters often face situations where at the last moment, candidates don’t show up for the interview or fail to report on their first day after accepting the offer letter.

This can happen because of various reasons. Maybe they got stuck in an emergency or their loved one fell sick or maybe they had other justified reasons for not showing up for failing to respond to you.

As an employer, it is extremely important to be empathetic and give job applicants the benefit of doubt and keep the channel of communication open.


How to Effectively Combat Candidate Ghosting

Candidate ghosting can happen to any recruiter and it is almost impossible to avoid it completely. You will encounter at least a few candidates who will ghost you even if you do everything right. However, enhancing your approach and making some innovative changes in your recruiting tactics can help you greatly minimize and limit this problem.

Here are some of the tricks that you can use to effectively combat candidate ghosting:


Make Texts Your Best Friend

Just like in every other aspect of your work and life, communication is the key to effectively deal with candidate ghosting. Keeping candidates in the loop about the timelines of your recruiting process and being honest with them about your expectations can reduce the chances of them ghosting you. And the best way to do this is by leveraging SMS.

Text is a phenomenal medium. Over two thirds of job seekers say that it is perfectly acceptable for organizations to contact them through SMS. Moreover, texts have a significantly higher chance of being read and engaged with than email or phone.


Speed up Your Responses

Speeding up your responses is also a wonderful way to minimize candidate ghosting. 46% of candidates start losing interest in a company within a week of no contact. It’s vital that you respond to your top candidates as quickly as possible. Preferably, within 24 hours.

Enlisting the help of a candidate engagement platform like Grayscale can help you easily automate communication at mass, or seriously aid in manual communication using Grayscale templates.


Automation for the Win!

Leverage technology wherever possible in your recruitment process. Automating away the grunt work can help you focus on more high-level tasks, improve the candidates’ experience during recruitment, and ultimately minimize the chances of them ghosting you.

Grayscale enables automation at every step of the hiring process. Send intro texts when candidates apply, use our nudge feature to automatically remind candidates of uncompleted steps, automate scheduling via our Calendly integration, and send automatic interview reminders to increase your interview sit-rate.

Then after the fact, keep a pulse on candidate NPS scores with automatic surveys.


Do Timely Follow-Ups

To effectively deal with candidate ghosting, give candidates the benefit of doubt for not responding to you. It’s important to be compassionate and kind towards all your candidates and keep the lines of communication totally open.

If you don’t hear back from candidates, don’t hesitate to send a follow-up text. This is an effective way to let the candidates know that you are still on board with the hiring and are not planning to ghost them. This in turn will ensure that they won’t ghost you as well. Automate this step using Grayscale nudges.


Maintain Transparency and Give Candidates an “Exit” Option

Maintaining transparency and being totally honest about the terms of the recruitment process, your expectations, and other factors goes a long way in helping you avoid candidate ghosting.

Another great practice is to provide an “exit” option to the candidates yourself. For example, you text candidates something like, “If we don’t receive a reply to this message by the end of this week, we will assume that you are not interested in the position.” Doing this will help you avoid any confusing situations and stop candidate ghosting even before it gets a chance to appear.


Summing Up

Candidate ghosting is an emerging problem that is affecting recruiters all over the world. Although it is not possible to escape from completely, having an effective communication process, leveraging technology, and being compassionate and authentic with job seekers can go a long way in helping you combat candidate ghosting.

We, at Grayscale, have largely conquered the issue. Grayscale is designed to make hiring easier at every step. We leverage the most effective medium for communication and pair it with the most powerful automation suite in the talent acquisition world, and bake that all directly into your ATS.