Why You Should Never "Ghost" Your Job Candidates
Employers are learning that the practice of “ghosting” potential hires – when job seekers go through the interview stage only to hear nothing from a recruiter or hiring manager ever again (even after they have attempted to follow up) – can backfire and have highly visible consequences to your company's reputation and employer brand.
During periods of high un-employment, when candidates are typically easier to attract, interest and hire, employers have made ghosting common practice, since responding to those who didn’t make the final hiring cut may not be too high on a ‘to-do’ list.
To be fair, candidates are also guilty of ghosting employers, such as when a candidate commits to a job interview and doesn’t show up, accepts a position and then doesn’t arrive for the first day of work, or goes AWOL for no rhyme or reason – these are all forms of such behavior.
There are negative consequences of such practice and alternative ways employers can search out employee matches without potentially damaging their company's employer brand and reputation along the way.
The perils of ghosting and best practices to consider instead:
Candidates may be customers. There are cases in which candidate prospects are patrons of companies they are applying to for work. If such folks interview at your organization, send thank you notes and never hear word from you again, this experience can be so offensive that they may be turned off from your management, entire brand, and/or visiting your properties ever again. Bottom line? Jeopardizing customer loyalty is a bad idea.
Risk to online reputation. Company and employer review sites are online outlets for interview subjects to comment on particular organizations. If your organization ghosts potential hires, you increase the likelihood of receiving a negative review on such platforms – influencing other candidates (potentially ideal ones) – who may have considered applying to you for work but changed their minds as a result of hearing negative things about your hiring practices or company culture.
Loss of future referrals. Perhaps the candidate you just ghosted was referred by an existing employee? He or she might take it personally to learn that the person referred was treated in a less than kind fashion. Employers need to protect their internal candidate referral pipeline, as it is a valuable source for new talent.
Instead of ghosting, employers should...
Stay transparent. In our tech-savvy world, it’s easy to confirm whether your emails and texts are successfully delivered to your recipients. Therefore, it doesn’t pay to ignore a candidate who reaches out to thank you for your time during a job interview, or to ascertain your interest in hiring him. Such blatant disrespect can translate to heavy losses in brand reputation and future recruitment efforts. Mutual respect between potential candidates and employers breeds a more professional, if not harmonious work atmosphere as well.
Be courteous. The time it takes to respond in kind to candidates who were interested in working at your organization is minor, in response to the lasting effects of ghosting. Remember, such folks may have taken time to upgrade their resume and research your firm to impress you. A polite and tactful rejection note or email saying, “We’ve decided to move in another direction for this role,” is much better than the ‘no response’ response.
Provide a timeline. At each step in the hiring process, be sure to tell candidates what the next steps are and what they can expect from you, whether that's another interivew or a job offer or rejection.