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    • Ghosting: A Recruitment Story

    Ghosting: A Recruitment Story

    • 15 July 2023

    I fell in love.

    I’d recently come out of a long relationship and was thinking about taking some time for myself, when she appeared on my radar. She wasn’t my usual type, but she intrigued me. Excited me. I was lovestruck almost instantly.

    We talked about our future, how we complimented each other and all the fun that we’d have growing together. It was a great few months.

    Then it happened: Ghosted.

    Was it me? Did I do something wrong? Replaying conversations and scenarios in my mind, trying to find some semblance of reason between the feelings of inadequacy, disappointment and guilt, I still don’t know what happened and I often think back on the relationship to this day.

    We still have many friends in common. Often, social media will suggest content and connections that reignite the memories. There’s still overlaps in the Venn diagram of our lives that mean we’ll always be linked, but apart. Invisible.

    A victim of ghosting is left feeling alone, contemplating what could have been done to have avoided this outcome… and the answer may often be nothing.

    We can all agree that this is not a great experience, so why is the practice seemingly prevalent in today’s recruiting process?

    Completing applications, rewriting cover letters, attending interviews, assessments and discussing options with recruiters is a huge investment from both sides, though it is much more of an emotional investment from the candidate, as they bare their soul for the opportunity to find “the one”.

    For that investment to be reciprocated with silence is something we all recognise to be a bad experience – and a poor reflection on the employer/recruiter’s brand, too.

    Now, I understand that, according to some estimates, around 10% of candidates don’t attend their booked interview and don’t extend the courtesy of letting the recruiter know. This percentage is even higher in manual and low-skill markets. But that’s not a valid reason to offer the same experience to an applicant, surely?

    If a candidate has applied for a role, it is safe to assume that they are looking for a job. Additionally, there’s probably a good chance that the candidate has applied to similar sounding roles from the same or similar industry. The job you’re hiring for could be lost in an indiscernible heap of career opportunities.

    How do you ensure that you don’t blend into the crowd and that your opportunity stands out?

    Is your job description quite generic, compared to the same type of role at another organisation? Do you have any information about your company, its social media, its people, its beliefs and values?

    In your application process, do you still have that human touch? If you reach out to a candidate, do you do so as if they are a person or a resource? Is ATS your bible?

    Not everyone can get the advertised role, obviously. How do you let candidates know? Is it a variation of the impersonal, “You were great, but… We’ll keep you in mind if something else pops up” standard template email? Do you have a robust process to follow-up on those close-but-no-cigar applicants?

    All of these things can help unsuccessful candidates feel that there was value in the process and that there might still be a potential opportunity. It can also help build trust with successful candidates, who will relish that personalized, human approach.

    So, recruiters. If the candidate has invested in your process in good faith, done everything that has been asked and they are not the right fit at the right time, don’t be a ghoster.

    You never know when that person will be the perfect partner.