Vanishing Candidates: the Nightmare of HR Departments

“Ghosting” from candidates is increasingly becoming a rather common situation in recruiting. This is, promising candidates who just “disappear” from the process. Bad references about the company and unmet salary expectations are usually the main causes.

The “we’ll call you with an answer” that recruiters promise to candidates is not always fulfilled. And even less now, when the tables are turning, and more and more applicants leave the process at the last moment often without any explanation.

Until recently, the term ghosting (ghost effect) was applied to the disappearance of a person from a relationship, overnight and cutting all kinds of communication channels. But this phenomenon is also spreading to the business world, according to ample experience shared by recruiting companies.

Reasons behind ghosting

The main cause for this silent abandonment seems to be bad references about the company. “Just as companies in the past have asked other companies for candidate references to decide whether to hire him/her, now the candidate finds out as much as possible about the organization which is willing to hire him/her. Some even contact former employees through social networks to ask them about their experience”.

Other factors also may have an influence, such as verifying that their salary expectations will not be met, the lack of communication about their career evolution, or the lack of empathy with the interviewer, which extends to the rest of the organization. 

If it has always been very important to professionalize the selection processes and have a solid talent department focused on preventing the search for employees from taking too long, it has now become a critical issue in an increasingly scarce-talent avid environment. “If you don’t reinforce your commitment and don’t sell your company well to potential future employees, candidates will think long and hard before saying yes. Or, even worse, the candidate may join you, only to leave after a couple of months, wasting time and money, and generating frustration to everyone involved. In fact, in some very extreme cases, this practice goes further, and the new hire does not even show up to his post on his first day.

Oftentimes job ghosting is because, either candidates are not clear and have already opted for another company because any qualified profile is in high demand, or they expect until the end to increase the salary in their current company”.  In a case we recently had, involving the process of hiring a factory manager for a large company, he reached the final phase, they took him on and they had even negotiated the rental of an apartment for him, as this new job involved relocation. He had already signed the contract when he called us to say that he had received another offer from a different company, and he thought this new opportunity was more interesting and exciting. This frustrating outcome is not necessarily new, in our experience. What´s different is the frequency with which these situations are happening nowadays.

Candidates “calling the shots”

This practice occurs especially in the New Technologies sector, where there are plenty of offers and a real lack of qualified professionals. But with new generations reaching their professional prime, it´ll be increasingly happening in other fields where companies need to hire expert candidates, be it Engineers, maintenance technicians or tax advisers, etc. “The upper hand” in the recruiting process will lay more and more with the qualified (millennial) candidate, and that is often difficult for the company to understand.  

Companies need to realize how important it is to develop a strong brand as an Employer, based on building a fair, innovative, exciting, supporting, challenging, and rewarding working environment and making sure that is recognized throughout its business community, for more and more candidates are the ones selecting the companies in which they want to work.

Article written by Carlos Cámara, CFR Global Executive Search Spain
Photo source: Freepik

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