Ghostbusters: 7 Steps to Combat Disappearing Job Candidates

It's HR Tuesday!

Lately, employers have been noticing that there’s something strange in the neighborhood: candidates are disappearing mid-hiring process, never to be heard from again. So who you gonna call? The Solution Center…Click to read more in a new window….

Many of our Solution Center Members are calling us asking how they can combat the ‘ghosting’ trend. CEDR previously aired a podcast on ghosting in the workplace…Open podcast in a new window…, which focused on candidates and current employees who abandon their positions.

Here, we’ll do a deep dive into the underworld of candidates ghosting. The truth is that as a hiring manager, you only have so much control over whether a candidate will ghost you or not. What you can control are these seven steps to make sure your candidates don’t show up dead on arrival:

  • Cast a wide net. If you have 50 applicants, and pick 15 to offer a phone screen to, only 5 will schedule the call, and only 2 will answer the phone. Similarly, don’t limit your job ad to a narrow geographic area, or overly limit candidate qualifications.
  • Accelerate your timeline. It’s possible you are losing candidates if you are taking too long to move them forward in the process. If one of your competitors is moving candidates forward within 2 weeks, and your timeline is closer to a month, you could be losing good candidates on timeline alone.
  • Cross check your offers. Compare your job ad…Click to learn more in a new window… and benefit offerings to your competitors. Ask yourself: what can I do to get an edge? Comparing wages…Click to learn more in a new window…, benefits, schedules, and even the tone of the ad can help set you apart.
  • Job specific screening questions. It’s easier than ever for candidates to push out a high volume of applications with a generic resume, and to prepare generic answers to almost any interview question you can dream up. Try to refine your interview questions…Click to learn more in a new window… and train yourself to listen to whether the candidate is interested in your job, or whether they just want any job. Be sure they’ve looked at your website, and can speak to specifics about your ad.
  • Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. Keep searching and moving candidates through even when you have a promising candidate in the pipeline. Even the perfect applicant can fall apart at the end of the process. Keep gathering resumes and screening applicants until your position is filled.
  • Reevaluate your own red flags. Candidates are looking for red flags from you as the employer, just as you are looking for red flags from them as the candidates. For example, if you are calling them outside of what is typically a normal business hours, they might assume that you are expecting them to be available as an employee 24/7. The reality might be that you are calling them after work as a courtesy to them, because you know they are currently employed. Communication and perception are key, so even a simple text or message via Indeed to ask what the best time to call would be, or using a tool like calendly.com…Click to open calendly in a new window… to allow candidates to select their own times to connect can help your employer image during the hiring process.
  • Ask for more up-front investment from your candidates. Let candidates show you they’re committed before investing too much of your time. So for example, if you are normally emailing folks to get them in for an in-person interview, try an initial phone screen. Candidates who are truly interested will be responsive at each stage. If you see a candidate starting to fall off the radar, you may avoid being ghosted by allowing them to have self-selected out of the process. You may even choose to tackle the issue head on with a phone screen question such as: “If we move forward in this process, we both will be investing a lot of time and energy. Mutually respecting each others’ time is something that’s important to me. Can you tell me why we should make that investment in you as a candidate?” A genuine candidate will be able to speak to their sincerity organically, whereas a future ghost may struggle to verbalize an answer.

While not guaranteed to solve all of your frightening paranormal hiring anomalies, utilizing the steps above will help you bust at least a few ghosts, and will certainly get you one step closer to finding the right candidate for your team.

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