July 10th, 2018

What is Employee Ghosting and How to Recover from Job Abandonment

When the economy went south a decade ago, thousands of workers lost their jobs and began diligently looking for work. At the time, it was not uncommon to hear from these job seekers that they were frustrated because they never heard back from an employer or recruiter who initially expressed interest. Now, the shoe is on the other foot. Instead of the job candidate trying to track down the elusive recruiter or hiring manager, it is now the hiring manager or recruiter who can’t seem to find the job candidate. Welcome to very real world of employee ghosting. Here’s what it is and let us explain how to recover from job abandonment.

A Costly Trend

A LinkedIn article says that the practice of a candidate ignoring any attempts at contact – ghosting – is happening in most industries, including finance and accounting. The problem can range from a job candidate simply not showing up for a scheduled interview to not appearing on the first day or work after accepting a position.

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Ghosting is not only frustrating for employers and recruiters, but also an expensive time-waster: The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) reports the average cost-per-hire for companies is $4,129 while the average time to fill a position is 42 days.

Experts say that the ghosting employees may be unaware of the problems they’re causing as many may be young and not understand how job searches are conducted or what is expected of them. In addition, some simply may change their minds and want to avoid conflict or uncomfortable conversations with human resources.

Since it appears that ghosting isn’t going to evaporate soon, it’s key for human resources to take some steps to ensure that candidates don’t disappear or renege on their commitment. Some ways to do that include:

  • Hedging your bets. Don’t hone in on one or two candidates and cast aside all others. Always be interviewing – considering candidates for other roles or interviewing several at one time. This can be especially critical for positions that may have a higher turnover rate or where market demand is high. Keep a file of potential candidates that can be tapped when you get your first inkling someone may be ghosting you.
  • Communicating clearly. Be transparent from the beginning that if the candidate isn’t interested in a job, you won’t be offended. Tell the candidate that you’d rather he or she were honest with you, as you plan to be honest with him or her. If candidates don’t like the company, the job – the wall color – tell them you want them to speak up and you won’t be angry. Emphasize how you value honesty.
  • Walking the talk. Some of the candidates you interview may have had a past experience with an employer who promised to keep in touch – but didn’t. If you say you’re going to call, do it. If you say you’ll keep the candidate apprised of the applicant process, do it. You don’t want to tempt the candidate to disappear because he or she feels you did it first.

How to Recover from Job Abandonment? Know when to let go.

Finally, try to look at the positive side of a ghosting employee. When a job candidate fails to communicate, to act professionally and to follow through on commitments, it’s a pretty good indication that such behavior would have eventually made itself known in your organization. While it’s annoying to experience that behavior with a job candidate, it’s would be much more disruptive to have such a worker within your ranks.

Afraid of employee ghosting? Ajilon – aka the job abandonment ghost busters – can help.



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