Are there ghosts in your recruitment machine?

The growing trend of ghosting has become something of a hot topic in the recruitment industry. With that in mind, we thought we’d take a brief look at what ghosting is and suggest a few ways you could prevent it from happening to you. After all, finding the perfect candidate is difficult enough (although it doesn’t have to be, if you call on us) so why let ghosting make the recruitment process even harder?

‘˜Ghosting’ is originally a dating term used to describe somebody who abruptly ends all contact – especially electronic contact – with the other person in the relationship, seemingly without explanation. It’s actually such a popular phenomenon that the Merriam-Wester dictionary lists ghosting as one of their ‘words to watch.’

Where recruitment is concerned, ghosting is exactly the same. If a candidate doesn’t show up for a job interview (without any reason why) or accepts your job offer but then you never hear from them again, you’ve been ghosted. However, there are several proactive steps you can take to stop the ghosts materialising.

Fine tune your job description

Make the job you’re offering and the experience and qualifications you’re looking for as clear and in-depth as possible. Don’t just sketch out the briefest of job descriptions – outline the role and responsibilities, mention the daily tasks, include some company background, and sell this opportunity to the candidate just as enthusiastically as you’d sell your services to a new client. If you can genuinely engage your candidate’s interest, they’ll be far less likely to be a no-show when interview day arrives.

Stand out from the crowd

When a prospective candidate applies for a job, it’s because they were motivated enough to make the effort. After all, going to the trouble of sending you their CV isn’t something they’d do if they weren’t serious about their intentions. But it’s unlikely you’re the only employer they’ll be reaching out to, which means you’ve got to hold their attention and prove you’re the employer they really want to work for.

How do you do that? By using your website and social media to spotlight your business in the most effective ways possible. Let the candidate see you’re an employer who supports and values your team members and offers them the best opportunities. Show them that your business is a place where they can fit in comfortably and thrive. In the always competitive hospitality industry, it’s important to prove you’re the best employer if you’re going to attract the very best candidates.

Lead by example

Nobody likes to feel side-lined and if a candidate suspects they’re just another cog in your recruitment machine they’ll be far more likely to turn into a ghost. In fact, ghosting works both ways. In a recent survey conducted by the US agency Clutch, 23% of candidates who abandoned their job applications claimed it was because they’d been ghosted by the company they applied to1.

So, when somebody applies for your job, respond promptly. If they’ve made it to interview, talk to them directly whenever possible and establish a rapport that shows how seriously you’re taking their application and encourages them not to let you down. Schedule interviews mindfully (statistically, mornings are the best) and ask for their confirmation, which gives them the immediate chance to decline and avoid becoming a ghost. At all times, stay polite and compassionate. You’re a busy recruiter, but never be too busy to give each candidate a few moments of your time.

As far as the recruitment process is concerned, keep it thorough but succinct and never leave candidates hanging around. After all, good candidates are snapped up fast and they won’t wait three or four weeks for an interview, or spend a fortnight turning down other opportunities while you’re still making up your mind. Answer their emails, calls and texts as quickly as you can, be honest about timescales, and let them know when you’ll be in touch with a decision.

Finally, always make sure you close the communication circle. If somebody you interview doesn’t make the final cut, let them know your decision and do your best to give them constructive feedback. It’s not just courteous, it’s good PR that will hopefully encourage them to apply for another role in the future. Also, even though they didn’t get the job, their experience with your business will have been as positive as possible and that almost always translates into good word-of-mouth. Where hospitality is concerned, that’s invaluable.

Always have a back-up plan

Sometimes a ghost will accept your job offer and then mysteriously fail to appear on the day they’re due to start work. That’s why it’s important to have a No.2 choice, someone you’re confident could replace them without having to go through the whole recruitment process again. It’s also another good reason why you should stay on top of your communication etiquette, so your No.2 choice will be more likely to say yes if you ever find yourself facing that crisis.

Of course, the very best way to avoid ghosting is to work with a recruiter who’ll keep the recruitment process fast, friendly, painless and efficient and do all the ghostbusting on your behalf. That’s where our expert team comes in. Contact us on 020 7580 4398 or email and we’ll help you recruit and retain the perfect staff for your workplace and ensure that ghosting never gives you sleepless nights.