From phantom no-shows to ghastly response rates, a poorly managed hiring process can soon turn more trick than treat. Plus, candidate practices these days can send chills down your spine and remind you that the talent attraction profession can be dark and full of terrors.
Drama aside, one particular demon seems to have risen above the rest to terrify us all:
The Ghosting Candidate...
The term ghosting first emerged in the dating world, with the advent of dating apps like Tinder and Hinge that normalised talking to strangers and rewrote the rules of etiquette. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary (yes, it’s in the dictionary), ghosting is defined as “the act or practice of abruptly cutting off all contact with someone by no longer accepting or responding to phone calls, instant messages, etc.”
Among Millennials and Generation Z-ers the practice of ghosting is prolific. The easier alternative to rejection is to cease communication, liberating one of the pressures of explaining why a breakup is on the cards or disinterest has taken hold.
Now, much to the dismay of talent acquisition professionals everywhere, this practice has found its place in the employment world. Hiring managers, recruiters and human resource professionals are finding themselves ignored by candidates who elect to cease all forms of communication. And it’s a freakishly common occurrence. And this is occurring at all stages of the candidate journey, even right up to the stage of the job offer, through to the day they’re due to start. These candidates have the supernatural ability to upset both talent attraction specialists as well hiring managers. But the question that all HR staff have on their minds, is what can we do to stop candidates ghosting us?
Here are five boogeyman-busting tips that recruiters and talent attraction managers can take this Halloween to help turn your candidates from elusive poltergeist to Casper the friendly ghost.
1. Allow Candidates to Dictate the Recruitment Content
Candidate ghosting can be reduced dramatically if you change the way you view the candidate – consider them like you would a customer! We are in a disruptive age of customer-centricity, and the pressure is on businesses to be agile and view their customer and employee experiences as holistically as possible. Your candidates are also your customers so the impact of a bad candidate experience goes beyond not meeting your hiring KPIs — it impacts your sales as well. According to ManPower Group’s study, Add to Cart: Candidates are Consumers Too, 54% of respondents said the candidate experience directly influences their choice to buy or pass up a company's products or services. Clearly, a poor candidate experience is a grave problem. Those organisations that are able to sustain top-quality experience throughout the duration of the recruitment process understand the need to form a human connection and create a candidate engagement program with the same level of care as client-facing initiatives.
To do this, you need to give them what they want. According to our analysis of over 1,000 questions on the PathMotion platform, we found that candidates want highly specific answers that address their unique concerns. These range from questions such as, ‘What is the age limit to begin a graduate programme?’ to ‘What are the strengths that EY are looking for in assurance jobs?’ to ‘I am Muslim woman and I want to serve my country [in the British Army]. Would I be singled out or discriminated against?‘. Each candidate comes with a specific background, experience and expectations which dictate content that they want available to them. With your recruiters inundated by queries, answering these specific questions can be challenging. But by embracing AI-driven candidate experience technology and a host of digital recruitment channels, individualising the candidate experience is achievable and scalable.
2. Increase Responses by Catching Candidates on their Preferred Channels
Generation Z has inspired the adoption of omnichannel marketing. Over half of this generation cited social media as their top channel of influence – out-competing websites (that includes your career site) for the most preferred source of information. To remain competitive in the war for talent, your company must increase its visibility across social media channels and leverage it as a source of social proof. By combining the exposure that social media affords with the immersive nature of storytelling, you can build, develop and sustain candidate engagement — for example, share a video of an employee talking about their day-to-day
Interestingly enough, the way you leverage social media platforms also counts for something – not all social media platform features are created equal. And one prime example of this is the Facebook messenger chatbot. The open rates on this platform are a whopping 80%, with a comparatively impressive click-through rate of 20%. This paints a strong case for the use of chatbots both on social media and via recruitment channels . Chatbots represent the future of recruitment owing to its high success in the sales and customer experience realms. And in the spirit of considering the candidate as a customer, the use of chatbot to convert candidates is essential in creating the candidate engagement in the format that they prefer.
Whether you implement the use of a candidate experience platform that is integrated on your careers site or better still, integrated with your Facebook profile, you’re sure to deliver key content via a medium that offers little competition.
3. Build an Authentic Relationship
Lacking or inconsistent communication runs the risk of ruining the interaction you have with candidates – making your relationship into the level of dysfunction in the Addams family— that is, candidates and hiring managers alike are unsure of where they stand. You must nurture candidates through all stages of the application funnel, from pre-application, where your employer brand does the talking, right through to conversion, or the acceptance of a job offer. Meaningful communication sells the role and provides ample opportunity for candidates and hiring managers to come to a joint decision about suitability.
Not convinced? Consider this stat: When surveyed by CareerArc, nearly 60% of candidates reported a poor experience with an employer or recruiter. Now that’s scary!
By enabling candidates to develop relationships with existing employees at each stage of the candidate journey via a candidate engagement platform, for example, you ensure personalisation which breeds an authentic connection. Ultimately, you build a candidate experience that is compelling enough to convince candidates that you’re just their type and convince them to hit apply and join your team.
4. Revamp Your Job Descriptions
Sometimes a job description can raise the hairs on the back of candidate’s necks. They tend to communicate very little about what the role actually entails, especially in relation to your organisation. After all, a business analyst could be number crunching at one company or strategising at another. Plus, job descriptions do little to communicate the employer value proposition (EVP) save a few short bullet points after a lot of technical jargon.
It’s witchful thinking to assume that corporate messaging authentically delivers the information that candidates want to know about the role and company they’ll be joining. Avoid spooking candidates by connecting candidates to employees. Direct interaction with employee advocates can complement the job description, give candidates a better idea of the day-to-day, and manage their expectations — and keep them in the funnel. This also allows you to weed out candidates who are looking for something different and ensure that your churn rate isn’t actually stomach-churning.
5. Treat (Don’t Trick!) Candidates the Way You Want to Be Treated
The ghosting trend is not only a one-way occurrence. Hiring managers and recruiters are equally as guilty of failing to execute on follow-up emails and phone calls, relying on ceased communication as a response. Poor treatment of prospective employees means essentially eliminating them from the candidate pipeline. And many of these candidates would be great for a different position or even the same position with another years’ experience under their belt. It's possible that in your next recruitment round, these same promising applicants are now the optimal fit for the position you’re opening — but your lack of communication has got them cynical and hurt. After all who wants to sit three rounds of interviews and psychometric tests all over again, only to be met with silence? This becomes especially damaging when it comes to your internal referrals. When employees of your company, who are often experts in their field, refer friends and colleagues who are then subject to a poor candidate experience, the news of treatment they’ve received will come back around. And in the future, your employees will cease to recommend your company and will ensure that your behaviour is well publicised among their peers.
Keep that candidate pipeline intact, and make sure you turn down applicants with a respectful response — and encourage them to apply for other roles. Use talent pools to keep those applicants with great potential in the running, and leverage regular newsletters, phone calls and emails to keep them warm.
Candidates are exercising an even greater control over the recruitment process these days. Combined with the rapid growth of technology, the importance and impact of the human touch has never been more important for keeping ghosting at a minimum. With these tips, you can make candidates see what your company has to offer, and have them join your company, enjoy in your employee advocacy efforts, and maybe even tweet gems like #Squadghouls at your next office Halloween party.
Have a fang-tastic Halloween!