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Ghosting, A New Phenomenon

Wednesday, 02 October 2019

Nowadays recruitment can get a bit messy.  What with skills shortages, high employment, bare-it-all social media and ongoing political paralysis, it’s not surprising that job seekers are calling the shots and getting their own back on employers.

It’s called “Ghosting”, and up until last week I had never heard of it. Then I got thinking about our last year in recruitment.  Brexit has undoubtedly had an effect on confidence and it’s not surprising that employers are often hesitant to make decisions as a result.  We have seen numerous potential employment deals fall through after candidates who have been responsive and engaged through the recruitment process simply disappear.  The Americans call this Ghosting.  Recent research by the US news source The Recruiting Daily Advisor found that 58% of companies surveyed have experienced this spooky phenomenon.

It’s not the first time this has happened (even before it had a name).  In fact, back in leaner times, it was employers, inundated with desperate candidates, who were burning the bridges. However, the tables have turned, and the whole recruitment process from start to finish is being scrutinised and weighed up by the job seeker, who right now has the luxury of choice.

So, if your planning is poor, your adverts are badly written, your application response times are slow (that’s if you do bother to respond), your interview process is inconsistent and unstructured, your job offers are delayed and unclear, or your onboarding process for new staff is non-existent, then your brand as an employer will get tarnished, and you could miss out on recruiting the best talent for your business. Even if most of the process is well executed, one drop of the ball could have a disastrously negative effect on your success in attracting new staff.

To compound the problem, potential talent is being overlooked.  When interviewing and assessing candidates, many employers are making subconscious judgments (based on personal preference and values) about candidates’ body language, personal presentation, and a myriad of other behaviours.  Be aware of these pitfalls, and make sure recruitment decisions are based on a consistent assessment of candidates and not the opinion of just one person.

Every part of the recruitment process needs to be watertight, consistent and timely. Salary isn’t always the main motivator why people change jobs. Opportunity, work life balance, working conditions and development can also have a major sway on candidates’ decisions.  Taking the time to streamline and improve your recruitment process will not only help you to find the best people, it will also help to promote your brand as a modern-thinking and professional employer too.  

And…if we as employers get our acts together it might help exorcise a few ghosts as well!

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