Who You Gonna Call? How to Stop Ghosting in its Tracks

In our series for Indeed’s Ghosting Week, we’ve explored how, when and why job seekers ghost employers during the hiring process. Now it’s time to stop ghosting in its tracks. In this final post, we’ll take everything we’ve learned and transform it into action — offering easy-to-implement, research-based strategies you can use to prevent ghosting.  

You may be thinking, “Isn’t ghosting the job seeker’s problem since they’re the ones doing it?” Not so fast. Although 70% of recruiters assume candidates ghost because they receive another offer, job seekers tell us this is only true 40% of the time. So what other factors influence their decisions, and how can employers turn these on their heads? 

Focus on clear, open communication 

Communication is a building block for any good relationship, especially between employers and candidates. Both sides seem to realize its importance: 63% of employers believe better communication can help reduce ghosting, while job seekers name communication problems as one of ghosting’s biggest drivers

These sentiments are stronger among Gen Z and Millennial job seekers than they are among older generations. Nearly one third of ghosters age 18-34 say they did it because they weren’t comfortable telling the recruiter or hiring manager they were no longer interested in the position. Only about one fifth of job seekers age 35-44 say the same. So what does all of this mean for employers?

Communicate early and clearly: Prioritize clear, open communication from day one of the hiring process. Make sure job seekers have all the information they need, including whom to contact with any questions or issues. Thirteen percent of ghosters say they disappeared because they didn’t know how to remove themselves from consideration, but the number jumps to 15% for the 18-34 age group. Employers can, and should, work to change this.

Focus on the candidate: Listen intentionally to candidates to understand their wants and needs. Encourage job seekers to ask questions and speak candidly about any changes in their interest level. And while timelines for responses should be communicated, don’t pressure candidates if they aren’t quite ready to commit. Of course, kindness also goes a long way; ensure that communication is friendly and attentive.

“Some recruiters seem in a hurry, not listening when you answer a question … [and are] not very personable,” explains one job seeker. “That’s when I stop responding to that recruiter.” 

Be empathetic: Let empathy guide the way you communicate with candidates — even those who ghost. Many people just don’t feel comfortable speaking up. Unless you ask, you’ll never know the whole story, and some job seekers say they’ve ghosted because of their physical or mental health. 

For example, one woman ghosted on a warehouse job after learning she was pregnant before her first day. She may have assumed nothing could be done, leading the employer to assume she was unreliable. But if the employer had made her feel comfortable speaking up, perhaps they could have found…

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