Ghosting can occur in many parts of the candidate/employee lifecycle. Three points in time specifically stand out to me - the applicant, the candidate, and the new hire – where HR partners, recruiters and hiring managers can make some changes to minimize their chances of being ghosted. What is common between all three of these? The importance of timely communication!
Online job boards make it so easy for people to just click and apply. When I get an applicant from one of these sites that look good, I'm excited, but not that hopeful. I'll usually call or email but not hear back. However, the sooner I reach out after they’ve put their application in, the more likely I am to get a response. I put my email address in the job postings, so if someone takes the extra step to apply and send me an email, I'm more likely to reach out to them because they've explained that they're serious about their search and interested in the role I have posted. It’s common to be ghosted in the applicant process because at this point people have no skin in the game because they’ve never interacted with you.
Someone who's applied does return your call or email. How are you going to keep them engaged throughout the process? I can easily tell if one of my candidates prefers phone or email. I can tell if they do better with multiple one-line emails going back and forth, or if they will read/process one longer email with everything they need to know. Since candidates are driving the bus in the current market, it's important for HR Reps/recruiters to adapt to their candidates' communication preferences. Timing of feedback is another important aspect. If you leave a candidate floating out there for over a week with no feedback after an interview, they may already be on to the next opportunity.
The New Hire
What can you do now to minimize the chances of being ghosted once someone has shown up for their first day? In the industry I work in, manufacturing, it's definitely a candidate driven market and there is a skills shortage in my area for machinists and mechanics. People care about more than base pay, and they need to offered a great place to work and other perks because otherwise they will have no problem going down the street to the competitor for 25 cents more an hour. To limit your chances of being ghosted, really evaluate what your employee value proposition is and how you're explaining that to applicants and candidates, and then how you're walking the talk once they start. Another important aspect is to build a relationship with that new hire starting on day one. People are less likely to ghost someone they know well and respect.