You spend hours fine-tuning a job description, review resumes until your eyes hurt, and hold so many interviews you can barely remember them all. Finally, you find the right person for the job and send them an offer, only to get completely ignored. It’s not just a stressful situation in the dating world — ghosting is one of the most frustrating experiences for employers today, especially in high-turnover industries like food service. Let’s take a look at what causes candidate ghosting and discuss some proven strategies for preventing it.
What Is Candidate Ghosting
Candidate ghosting refers to when someone applies for a job and then simply stops communicating with a potential employer. It can happen at any point in the hiring process. People often apply then don’t respond to interview requests, schedule an interview and don’t show up, or go to the interview but then ignore a job offer.
If you’ve experienced this, you might find a little solace in the fact that you’re not alone. In fact, 76% of employers have been ghosted in the past year, and 47% of candidates admitted to ghosting potential employers at some point in their job searches.
Only 4% of job seekers hear back from employers within one day of their application, according to Indeed. That’s astonishing, especially considering how frustrating it can be to wait for a response. Still, only 37% hear back within a week, and just 44% get a response within two weeks. When you think about the fact that many of these people apply to several jobs at once, need to secure a steady income to provide for themselves and their families, or simply value quality communication skills in a potential employer, it’s no surprise they find opportunities elsewhere. They might ghost you when you finally reach out since you essentially ghosted them for too long.
However, while failing to contact applicants in a timely manner is one of the most common causes of ghosting, there are many more. Here are a few of the reasons why applicants might exit the hiring process early:
- A frustrating application process with several time-consuming steps
- A lack of quality, consistent communication throughout the entire hiring journey
- Not being able to have interviews at times that fit into their schedule
- Getting bad first impressions from interviews with managers
- Receiving another job offer sooner
Why It’s on the Rise
39% of employers say that ghosting has become more common within the last two years, but what is causing this trend? Well, we can take this back to the start of the pandemic. A massive number of businesses were forced to limit hours, lay off workers, or simply close down. Just as the country appeared to be returning to normal, we started to see another major shift in the workforce that has been called the “Great Resignation.” This made the situation even more challenging — seemingly hopeless — with an unprecedented labor shortage. Now, although people are returning to work, many of them are rethinking their career choices, essentially turning the Great Resignation into a “Great Reshuffle.”
All of these factors have contributed to a market that makes it feel like job seekers hold all the cards. There are nearly 11 million openings, and businesses are desperate to hire workers, but people are no longer job hunting. They are “job shopping.” Job seekers can easily apply to several jobs within minutes and take the best offer or choose to go with whichever employer contacts them first. This means the rest of the managers get ghosted because applicants have already gone elsewhere or simply forgot they even applied due to the sheer number of companies they considered.
How to Prevent Ghosting
Preventing ghosting and no-shows for interviews begins by rethinking how we view applicants. When someone shows interest in one of your opportunities, you should think of them as “leads” in the same way a sales team treats someone who books a meeting with them. You need to impress job seekers just as much as they need to impress you — possibly more due to the current state of the job market. Here are some tips for when a job seeker completes an application and turns into a lead:
- Reach out quickly with the next steps and what to expect.
- Maintain consistent, personalized communication to keep them engaged.
- Try to weave in content about why they should work for you.
- Identify high-quality candidates who are most likely to actually show up for interviews.
- Schedule interviews ASAP at times that fit their schedules.
- Follow up promptly after interviews, even if you just thank them for their time.
- Provide an estimate for when they’ll hear back from you.
- Make your decision and quickly extend an offer to your ideal candidate.
It might seem like extra work, but putting in the effort will save you time and frustration due to candidate ghosting. And, with any luck, your leads will convert into top-performing employees!
What to Do When Ghosting Happens
Don’t just pack it in and call it quits on a candidate when they ghost you, although it is certainly tempting to do so. You still have a chance to make the most of a bad situation for it to pay off in the long run.
For instance, what if another position opens up in a few months, and you’re willing to give them another chance since they’d be a good fit? It’s likely they’d be open to the opportunity by then, especially judging by the high rate of 90-day turnover in the hourly workforce. Consider sending them a polite email thanking them for their application, asking if another interview time would work better, and mentioning that you can reach out to them about future opportunities, if they wish.
Email Template to Send After a No-Show
Subject line: [Company Name]: Application Follow-Up
Hi [Candidate Name],
I wanted to reach out to see if you were still interested in the open position with us. Does another interview time work better for you? I’m happy to set something up for next week since I believe you’d be a good fit for the position and would enjoy working with the team here.
If I don’t hear from you, I’ll have to move forward with another candidate, but feel free to reach back out if something changes. I can also keep you notified about future openings, if you’d like.
How Sprockets Helps You Overcome Ghosting
What if I told you there was a simple tool you could add to your hiring process that reveals the best candidates in your applicant pool? It’s called Sprockets, and people who use it save 37% time on the hiring process while boosting 90-day retention by 43%. You’ll know who’s worth interviewing in the first place, helping to eliminate the possibility of candidate no-shows. The platform even makes it easy to run campaigns that re-engage past applicants (even those who may have ghosted you) to get them interested in new openings.