Candidate Ghosting: What is it and how to prevent it.

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November 13, 2019Hiring Recruiting

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Dating and recruiting have a lot of things in common.

In both, you get to meet new people, share new experiences and when it's time to make it official, you develop a relationship where two parties spend a significant part of their lives together.

But with all the good stuff, there are also some downsides.

The new forms of "ghosting"

In business, there are awkward interviews or the ones that don't happen at all because the other person doesn't show up.

Just as people today are often more comfortable with texting and interacting through social media and “ghosting” someone they no longer wish to date, the same is applies in business.

In today's strong candidate job market, a growing number of workers are "ghosting" interviews, blowing off work, or accepting offers but not showing up the first day and even vanishing from existing positions – all without giving notice.[^1]

While this behavior isn't something new, it's actually taken on new forms. Let's take a look:

1. Kondo-ing

The Marie Kondo method for ditching your clothes, kitchen appliances, cars as soon as they don't spark joy anymore also applies to relationships and careers.

2. You-Turning

In dating, some people may be too good to be true. You-turning refers to falling head-over-heels for someone, but you discovered something completely off-putting about them, like poor oral hygiene or a recent criminal record. In the hiring process, maybe the candidate discovered something about a business that is unappealing and doesn't align with their values.

3. Cloaking

Let's say you were all excited about your date but when you got to the bar, your match never even showed up. So, you nervously open the dating app and that's when you notice, you two are no longer matches. There's no way to ask, "Are you coming?" or contact them at all. They've just disappeared.

There’s a name for what just happened to you: "cloaking." It's worse than ghosting. It's like your match never even happened.

In recruiting, this appears when candidates disconnect hiring managers and recruiters from LinkedIn, Messenger, email, or any other app used during the connection phase.

The term refers to treating someone as a back-up option while you’re dating other people. You may not be that serious about your date, but you sporadically dip your hand in the cookie jar if you don’t have any better snacks in front of you.

When it comes to talent, candidates will pursue opportunities with you while at the same time, talk to other businesses just to see what's out there.

Best practices to manage this in the workplace

If you're a hiring manager and think you're getting stood up, fear not. With a tight process and personal communication strategy, you can lessen the odds that this will happen to you or your client.

1. Give them space

You want to give candidates enough space to first assess if they're even into an opportunity.

2. Make it about them

Especially for passive candidates you don't want to come on so strong that you scare them away. Get to know them first—what they want, need, where they are in the process.

3. Set the tone you're interested

Encourage open communication from the start. Be honest about the role and where a candidate stands throughout the process. Text or call when you say you will.

4. Think about the future

Always set a date to reconnect after a phone call, an interview, or any touch point to set expectations and timelines, and keep the conversation going.

In the end

Just like in dating, it's frustrating when someone stands you up. In business, while you can't prevent it from happening, when you run a tight candidate process and deliver an amazing candidate experience, you can decrease the odds that candidates will just leave you behind in the dust without explanation.

Get in touch and learn how we can help you run a better process and deliver a white-glove candidate experience.  

Veronica Feldmeier avatarVeronica Feldmeier