Why Ghosting Candidates Is Never Good for Your Employer Brand
It may be an accepted practice in your business or industry, but leaving job applicants hanging has never done your company’s reputation any favors
Dictionary.com defines ghosting as “the practice of suddenly ending all contact with a person without explanation, especially in a romantic relationship.” Although the term originated in the context of personal relations, the term apparently applies to hiring and recruitment as well.
Now, while both employers and applicants do their fair share of leaving the other hanging, the latter– especially Millenial and Gen Z applicants– seemingly receive the most of the flack for the ghosting “trend”. This is expectedly met with plenty of furor, as about any job seeker will contend it’s employers who do most of the ghosting and have done so way before it was referred to as such.
The thing is, hiring isn’t only consuming on the employer end. It is just as much, or even more, of an investment of time, effort, and resources for candidates. Plenty goes into applying and interviewing for jobs, including long commutes and taking a leave of absence from current jobs, or foregoing other interviews as they chose the one with your company.
With that said, they at least deserve to be formally informed of the status of their applications– be it they were rejected, there was a freeze in hiring, or about anything else– and not be left to wonder what happened. And no, sending a “Thank you for applying. We will keep your resume on file for future openings” email weeks or months later is no way to make up for it.
These days, word spreads faster than ever
Think candidates’ being disappointed is the only consequence of ghosting? Think again, as even if you’re no longer communicating with them, they surely are with everyone else.
Numerous research has implied that only one out of ten people who have a good experience with a company usually bother to make a good review, while those with negative experiences almost always make sure to file a bad review. Additionally, clients (candidates are clients too– more on this later) who feel they’ve been “wronged” (this includes wasting their time via ghosting) have also been found to share their experience with at least nine, to as much as 20, other people.
This is important to remember in today’s era of social media, instant messaging, and the internet in general. Sure, it may even just be one or two candidates that you ghosted, but imagine their posting bad reviews about it on job boards which can be seen by thousands of other job seekers. Or talking about it on social media where their friends can spread the word by sharing the posts. Or telling their professional network about it directly and implying you are not a good company to apply to.
Indeed, even a single ghosted candidate can cost you at least dozens of others.
Candidates are clients too
It is well documented how it can be to the benefit of companies to treat job candidates like they do customers or clients. And yes, while it is understood that they are not exactly the same, there is a point as to why they at least should receive a similar amount of importance.
Like customers, candidates’ experiences with you begin when they come across your brand and do further research on your company to see if what you offer can address what they need (or in this case, fits their background, skills, and career goals.) A strong employer brand can help you stand out among your competitors– while a weak one marred by a reputation of ghosting other job candidates will have them turning to the latter.
Then there is the matter when job candidates are indeed also among your clients. Look no further than the widely regarded candidate experience study made by British cable and mobile provider Virgin Media. It reportedly found that about six percent of their rejected candidates who also happened to be their customers immediately switched to their competitor after having a bad candidate experience, amounting to $5.4 million worth of lost revenue each year until they improved their hiring process and treated candidates better.
Needless to say, it’s a small world, and candidates can be clients, be related to other clients, or work for the clients that you want to keep.
The way you hire is a preview of how you treat your people
According to a survey released by strategic employee onboarding software provider Silkroad Technologies and American employment website CareerBuilder, approximately 68-percent of employees believe their experience as a job candidate reflects how the company treats its people.
So as job candidates today are evaluating future employers from the get-go, it stands to reason that if you are a company that ghosts some of its candidates during the hiring process, you will likely also be seen as one that tends to ignore its own employees– be it when addressing their needs, receiving their ideas, or acknowledging their accomplishments.
It is important to realize that the sustained levels of unemployment and the difficulty to find skilled professionals have placed the power of choice in most candidates’ hands. Companies such as yours who want to hire the best possible people to fill their roles should never ghost candidates, even if those that won’t be hired anyway, because they have the potential to qualify in the future.
You’ll want to leave the impression that you have a caring work culture that they’ll remember when they reapply (or recommend others to apply) in the future.
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Kalibrr is a technology company that aims to transform how candidates find jobs and how companies hire talent. Placing the candidate experience at the center of everything it does, the company continues to attract the best talent from all over, with over 2.5 million professionals and counting. Kalibrr ultimately connects these talents to companies in search of their next generation of leaders.
The only end-to-end recruitment solutions provider in Southeast Asia, Kalibrr is headquartered in Makati, Philippines, with offices in San Francisco, California, and Jakarta, Indonesia. Established in 2012, it has served over 18,000 clients and is backed by some of the world’s most powerful start-up incubators and venture capitalists. These include Y Combinator, Omidyar Network, Patamar Capital, Wavemaker Partners, and Kickstart Ventures.