Odds are that your talent acquisition team has, unfortunately, experienced a candidate ghosting. When a person decides to ditch the hiring process without warning, recruiters or hiring managers are left wondering what happened. No-shows can occur across the entire recruitment process, from candidates not showing up for their first interview to candidates accepting a job offer but not turning up for their start date.

Ghosting appears to have increased amid the pandemic. An Indeed report from February 2021 shows that 28% of job applicants in the United States had ghosted a prospective employer over the past year. That’s up from 18% in 2019. However, it is important to remember that this is not a one-way street, with 77% of U.S. job seekers saying they have been ghosted by an employer since the pandemic began.

People ghost employers for a variety of reasons, including a negative candidate experience, other career opportunities, wanting to avoid conflict, and lack of loyalty to a company. But there are ways to keep candidates engaged and avoid no-shows:

  • Create a positive candidate experience
    Providing a positive candidate experience from day one plays a significant role in capturing the attention of top talent in today’s competitive job market. If candidates feel they were treated unwell during recruitment or if the process is tedious and frustrating by infrequent, inconsistent and impersonal communication, then they will be less inclined to follow through.

  • Stay in touch
    Check in with candidates and ensure they have the information they need when they need it. Ask them for their communication preferences – such as email, text, phone or social media – and adopt those. Be as transparent as possible. Let candidates know the hiring timeline and when they can expect to hear from the hiring manager. Regular and open communication with candidates (and existing employees) can avoid second thoughts from creeping in.

    This also goes for candidates that do not make it through the hiring process. Letting them know they did not get the job is not only the right thing to do, but it could also prevent a future ghosting experience if they turn out to be a good fit for another role.

  • Keep candidates warm
    Track coaches often tell athletes to run through the finish line, not just to it. Take the same approach with candidates: Keep selling the company, employer brand, and team even after a candidate accepts an offer. Keep those lines of communication open and continue getting this new employee excited to join and ready to be productive on day one.

  • Make onboarding easy
    It can be stressful to join a new company – new hires are rearranging their lives, potentially moving, and maybe leaving a job. Recruitment technology solutions can help avert ghosting by streamlining the onboarding process so it is smooth and straightforward. Give candidates one point of contact to guide them through every step of the process and ensure resources are easily available.

Candidate ghosting has been around for as long as people have interviewed for jobs. Regardless of the status of the labor market, it probably always will be. While never easy to take, there are steps you can take to minimize the chances of ghosting. If it does happen, you can leave the experience confident that the candidate’s reasoning must be, “it’s not you, it’s me.”