Ghosts are Real. Here Are Six Effective Ways of Dealing With Them.

The candidate who went through three separate interviews then stopped answering the phone. 

The new team member who went out for lunch and never returned.  

The established employee who just stopped showing up. 

Do you feel like ghosting has become the new normal? 

This particular metric has never been officially tracked, which means no one knows the extent to which this has historically been an issue. After luxuriating in the boon of an employer-driven market during the Great Recession, however, employers are definitely noticing that the tables have turned.  

Some might say that ghosting is just giving employers a taste of their own medicine. Employees remember well the bitter taste of massive layoffs that thousands of businesses participated in during the last decade. Many are still recovering emotionally as well as financially from the lack of care and concern shown for them while stockholders and executives often profited handsomely.* 

Workers began to wonder why, if ‘at-will’ employment meant businesses were under no obligation to them, why should the rules be different for the employee? If they can be released without warning, why shouldn’t they also be able to leave without warning? 

Well, legally, they can … and they are.

This trend doesn’t need to leave you quaking in your boots, though. With a few simple changes, it can even be a golden opportunity to get ahead of your competition and attract the top talent your organization needs to succeed.  

Ghost Hunter for Hire: Brand Management

Strategic brand management is a holistic approach to marketing your brand not just to your target customer base, but also to current employees and future candidates, to your industry, and to the public at large. When you cultivate a strong company culture with clear core values and then project that out into the world, you begin to build an emotional attachment that will take your organization from just another commodity to being intangibly desirable.   

Emotional attachment leads straight to bottom-line value. 

The Betterteam Blog found that companies with positive brands get twice as many applications as companies with negative brands. 

According to CareerBuilder’s 2017 Candidate Experience Study, a jawdropping 83% of job seekers would be willing to accept a salary 5% lower than their expected offer if the company has a reputation as a great employer. 

These two statistics alone are sufficient proof that investing in a strong brand pays dividends through growing the pool of applicants, attracting higher quality applicants, and lowering the costs of talent acquisition. 

Creating a complete brand management strategy is well beyond the scope of this article, but there are several steps you can take to immediately improve brand perception and thereby reduce your risk of being ghosted.

Create a Candidate Portal

By devoting a section of your company website to the candidate experience, you can offer a glimpse of what it is like to work with your organization. A sense of warm familiarity can be created through a candidate portal that provides an opportunity to hear from their peers as well as from leadership. Walk them through what their experience with the company might be like. 

Remember to Say Please and Thank You

While technology has made it easier and more convenient to source talent, establishing a personal connection is well worth the extra effort. Demonstrating respect and appreciation to a candidate who has invested themselves into your recruitment process goes a surprisingly long way, even if they aren’t ultimately a fit. When people feel respected as individuals, they are much more likely to return the favor.     

Demonstrate the Behavior You Would Like

Once a candidate has entered the recruitment process, even if it’s just submitting a resume via a job board, responding in a timely fashion to let the candidate know where they stand and what to expect next can keep them committed to the process.  

Move Quickly

The job search is one of the most stressful experiences a person will have in their life. Candidates have low tolerance for a long, drawn out recruitment process that lacks communication. Make sure that everyone who needs to be part of the process is on board and ready to participate so you can move candidates through quickly. 

Provide Proper On-Boarding Support 

Once a decision has been made, get them on-boarded as soon as possible and start cultivating their sense of responsibility to their new team. Make sure the new staff member has appropriate support and guidance as they become acclimated to the team, the company, and their duties. Confusion, overwhelm, unclear expectations, and even feelings of isolation are all real reasons why someone might feel encouraged to ghost an employer they don’t feel connected to. 

Treat People With Respect 

The overwhelming theme on preventing ghosting is to treat candidates with the same respect you would want to be treated. This doesn’t change once the candidate becomes an employee. Many people report that they elected to ghost an employer regardless of the time they’ve been on the job if they felt like the work environment was toxic to their well-being. Poor behavior from co-workers, abusive treatment by leadership, or a job role that they feel a moral opposition to can create an environment conducive to ghosting.  

  The hiring process is rough on you, but it’s especially rough on candidates. Establish a culture where everyone is treated with respect and appreciation from the day they first come in contact with your organization to their final day on the job, and you will find quality candidates beating a path to your door.

Jessica Van Pelt at the Pegasus Agency expertly combines technical, business, web, and marketing acumen to match great companies with great people. Contact Jessica at (973) 876-3118 or email jvanpelt@thepegasusagencyllc.com to discuss your staffing needs.



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Jessica Van Pelt

The Pegasus Agency