How Dick’s Sporting Goods is Eliminating Candidate Ghosting

Dick’s Sporting Goods (DSG) found themselves struggling with candidate ghosting in their volume hiring process. As it got increasingly harder to fill reqs and adequately staff their retail locations they went looking for a solution to eliminate ghosting in their application and onboarding process.

We sat down with Rick Jordan, a Senior Director of Talent Acquisition, at DSG to learn more about the way they approached changing the dynamics of their hiring process to limit candidate ghosting.

“Candidate ghosting is the result of the market versus how engaging your process is. When someone ghosts us, it’s because they found it easier to pursue the process somewhere else.”

– Rick Jordan

With this viewpoint, as they were exploring options, it was mission-critical for them to create a solution to enable a high-touch, scalable, and personalized experience for every applicant.


The Set-Up

When Dick’s Sporting Goods reached out to learn more about what we do here at Grayscale they wanted to address some very specific issues in their high volume hiring process.

They were seeing a record numbers of candidates disappear throughout the hiring and onboarding process. Instead of just finding more candidates to put in the pipeline, they wanted to take a proactive approach at understanding why they were falling off the radar in the first place.

“We believe people are core to our business. Our goal is to build really solid relationships with everyone we interact with, so how do we automate that?”

Their hypothesis was that by leveraging automation, they could significantly limit the amount of ghosting they were seeing.

They studied their reporting and came to a few conclusions. Let’s break these down.



  • Lack of speed. When it comes to keeping candidates engaged, they are looking to move. If you’re too slow to respond they won’t stay engaged and will pursue a process they find captivating.
  • Confusing or complicated processes. If you’re making too many asks, or not giving enough direction, candidates will get lost in the process and move on to a place where they feel seen.
  • Misaligned market compensation. Candidates are looking for competitive salaries to match their worth. If it’s possible, revisit your compensation structure, though this is usually the hardest force to work against.

Dick’s realized the two things they could quickly and easily change to help minimize ghosting were speed and process. So they got to work!


The Solution

After reviewing some data points, they sat down to simplify and refine their high-volume recruiting process as a whole. They developed three main goals.

  • DSG wanted to find their own perfect balance of leveraging automation while sticking close to their human-centric roots
  • They wanted to assess every ask of their applicants and trim the process down to include only the highest value requirements
  • From there, they wanted to move as many necessary but lower value tasks into onboarding, or on the job training to help simplify the process and keep candidates engaged

When it came to finding the right balance of automation and humanization, they wanted to use tech to accelerate the process, not remove the human elements.

For them, this project became about getting really clear on the exact things they needed to know about candidates. No more filler questions or mindless hoops!

It was time to transform high-volume hiring through creating the simplest process they could.

With an end goal of reducing their ghosting, they made sure the updates they were making to the process enhanced the experience, in place of extending it or convoluting it.


How They Built It

  • Dick’s Sporting Goods uses data to encourage engagement and lean into the platforms their candidates are more accessible on
  • They aim to leverage automation to enhance in-person, 1:1 interactions, instead of to replace them
  • Dick’s Sporting Goods intentionally worked with the local teams to roll out this process for a seamless and streamlined candidate experience

When it came to reimagining a system where candidates moved seamlessly through the process, they decided to let data be their guide.

They sat down and reviewed their major drop-off points, their time-to-fill, their application expectations, and the engagement metrics around the communication formats they used.

As they teased out what this could look like, their goal was to create a system that allowed them to create more intentional relationships with their applicants.

From there, they took scissors to the process, and worked with their local hiring managers to create and implement changes to optimize for efficiency and humanization.

It looked something like this:



  • Dick’s Sporting Goods believes automation should enable your human interactions not distract from them
  • With team being a core value of their company, they strive to create meaningful conversations in the hiring process
  • When creating new systems and processes, they ask, “what would help our hiring managers do their jobs better?”

As Dick’s Sporting Goods has upleveled their volume hiring process, they have seen a significant drop in their candidate ghosting!

During this time of revitalization, Rick Jordan kept one thought central.

“I’m thinking about how I can make the application process as easy as Apple Pay! How do we make our process feel as easy as auto-populating all the important information at checkout. What can we do to make it easier, so we don’t lose the sale?”

When it comes to auditing and iterating on these processes through time, DSG uses the data in their systems to continue testing and refining their processes for perfection.