When job candidates have ghosted you, did you blame them for the separation?
Now, did you ever think HR or hiring managers did something — or failed to do something — that prompted the ghosting?
It’s likely the process was partly to blame. And it’s a dangerous practice.
“Candidates understand that the way they are treated in the hiring process reflects the way they’ll be treated on the job. Top candidates who don’t feel respected or can’t see themselves being happy in the job are going to drop out for other opportunities,” says Don Gannon-Jones, VP of Content at Karat.
Why companies get ghosted
There are several reasons candidates remove themselves — usually by just not showing up or responding — from hiring processes.
- Wasted time. When employers take too much time between steps in the hiring process, or wait too long to follow up after one step, candidates feel ghosted — and will often reciprocate.
- Ridgid schedules. On the flip side, some organizations maintain extremely rigid interview schedules, allowing little time for candidates to free up schedules or prepare for interviews. “That tells candidates a lot about your workplace flexibility,” says Gannon-Jones.
- Gauntlet-style obstacle courses. Some employers try high-stakes interview questions and/or pre-employment assignments that demand unnaturally high and unexpected cognitive work. Then candidates perform below their capabilities.
- Pop quizzes. When candidates have to jump from one question to the next question in a limited time, they give shallow answers that don’t accurately reflect their abilities.
- Homework. Some organizations ask candidates to do a substantial task as part of the talent acquisition process. It favors candidates who have more spare time to spend on the task and weeds out those with existing jobs — or even multiple jobs.
- Bubbles. Other organizations still use “classic” computer science algorithms to test skills and knowledge, yet it’s something candidates haven’t used in ages and likely won’t use in day-to-day work.
Do better in 2024
We can all do better at engaging job candidates during the hiring process in 2024.
Here are five ways to keep candidates engaged throughout the hiring process — and avoid being ghosted by the employees you want to onboard.
- Cut the friction. LinkedIn researchers found that “respect for my time” and “length of overall time” were the top reasons candidates withdrew from the application processes. The researchers suggested two fixes: 1) Apply for a job at your company from time to time so you can experience sticking points, and 2) Remove unnecessary steps such as asking applicants to upload a resume and manually fill out a job history.
- Move quicker. HR teams and hiring managers don’t want to leave efficiency to chance. Before you start a search, create timelines on your end — exact dates to have each step completed, including follow-up with each candidate, regardless of their likelihood to move forward. “Our research shows that top-performing hiring managers complete their technical interviews nearly a week faster than their lower-performing peers,” says Gannon-Jones.
- Prepare candidates. In the LinkedIn study, candidates who gave five-star ratings to a recent recruiting process said they were prepped before they met with the organization. They received the names and backgrounds of the interviewers they’d meet with, a detailed agenda, and personal welcomes and escorts when meeting with multiple people in different areas.
- Broaden the schedule. Many job candidates can’t meet, interview or test during your regular business hours because they’re working. Try adding pre- and post-work time slots so candidates can schedule time sooner — rather than later because they need to arrange time off — to complete the hiring process.
- Give fast feedback. Candidates who get fast feedback — either on how an interview went or on what to expect next — stay engaged, according to the LinkedIn study. The best feedback comes the same day a candidate has an experience.
“While today’s labor market might be a more balanced labor market compared to previous years, top candidates have options,” says Gannon-Jones.
So you want to make the recruiting process easier for candidates to navigate this year.