How to Minimize Ghosting in the Workplace

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The latest trend in this talent crisis is here: Ghosting! Yes, the ever-popular dating app lingo has just crossed over into the workplace. And it is scary!

In the past year, there was a 10-20% increase in ghosting at work. (Source: Washington Post)

Not familiar with ghosting? The term started with dating apps. You would meet someone, start chatting or go on a date, and then without warning you don’t hear from the person again. They stop answering their phones. They don’t call or message you back. It’s like they never existed. And you have no idea why!

In the workplace, it happens when a candidate either doesn’t show up for an interview, doesn’t show up for their first day of work, or doesn’t come back to work without any notice or explanation. They’re just – POOF – gone.

Ghosting Isn’t New

As many in the workforce are quick to point out, this is just a new term for an old problem. Employers have already been doing this for DECADES. It’s just that now we have a name for it, and now the tables have turned. In the past, employers and human resource professionals had dozens, if not hundreds of candidates to choose from when recruiting for a position. Now, things are a bit different. Candidates are at a premium, and they now have the upper hand. It’s the old adage, do onto others, right? Well, that may not be all that far from the truth. But ouch, this hurts!

So is it a generational thing, or a product of the marketplace? Either way, we may have a thing or two to learn from it! While we don’t think we can completely stop ghosting from happening, we do think you can minimize how often it happens in your company. Use the tips below to lessen your chances of being ghosted.

Minimize Your Chance of Being Ghosted

In the past when an employee ghosted an employer, it happened more with entry-level jobs that involved less experienced workers. Lately, companies are starting to see ghosting on the rise with higher-level positions as well. Fortunately, there are things you can do to minimize ghosting at your company.

1. Don’t Ghost Job Applicants

If your company has been a “Ghoster” in the past, then you’re likely to be a “Ghostee” in the future.

It’s good business to make connections with your candidates by communicating with them, even if they are not a good fit. It builds your network, keeps your reputation positive, and helps for future hires. Plus, we want to be good citizens of our community and grow our positive footprint so people refer others to us! Not to mention positive reviews on social media like, Google, and Facebook are always helpful.

2. Establish a Connection Right Away

Take the mystery out of the application process. Candidates hate it! Call them within a week or two. Even if they do not get the position, they will appreciate the respect you’ve shown them.

3. Keep Building Meaningful Relationships

The key is to keep communicating. Some employers are taking this a step further by building their own job portals where an applicant can follow their application as it makes its way through the system. This lets them feel more in control of the process.

If you don’t have the budget and time to create your own job portal system, you can still send periodic emails letting the applicant know that they’ve moved on to the next phase of reviews. You can take this time to ask if any questions have come up and to start asking what times/dates work best for interviews.

Keep your interview times flexible. One reason a candidate ghosts an employer is because they already have a job and they’re secretly searching. They might not be able to interview during office hours.

As we all know, some applicants just don’t qualify, and you know they won’t be getting an interview. Don’t forget about them! Let them down gently through an email or a phone call, telling them they didn’t qualify, but that you’ll keep their application in case something else comes up.

Were you just ghosted? Reach out anyway.

It is very frustrating when you are ghosted, and it can look bad for all parties involved. However, we still think it is worth the time to reach back out to your ghoster and ask why. Perhaps there was an emergency or there was a misunderstanding, or if they didn’t like part of the process it may be good to get that intel for future candidates. For the employees who ghost, an exit interview of some kind could uncover potential opportunities in your organization. Give them a chance to express their discontent with a process or procedure. Whatever the reason, it’s in the best interest of the company to know! After all, knowledge is power. But, let’s face it, in some cases we will never know the “why,” but it behooves us to try.

Westphal Staffing’s Fight Against Ghosting

We work with our candidates to educate them on the importance of communication. Turning down a job or even an interview should be communicated, no matter the reason. We graciously accept the reasoning behind their decision, and show understanding if they desire to turn a position down. We know about awkward communications because we have them daily. It’s okay though because knowing is better than not knowing. We encourage our candidates and employees to communicate no matter the reason, and we do not judge them for it. A gracious and professional decline is always better than ghosting.

Westphal Staffing Can Help

We know you’re busy! Our job is to take the long and arduous process of scheduling, screening, interviewing, background checking, and onboarding off your plate. We know recruitment, you know HR; it’s a good marriage of resources and talent. Partner with us for a less stressful process of finding the best candidate for your job. From basic office to the C-Suite, we are your regional resource for professional positions.

Struggling with a hire in one of your offices in the U.S.? We’ve hired in Washington, Canada, Tennessee, Missouri, Minnesota, Georgia, North Carolina and many cities within Wisconsin. We take our partnerships seriously. Call us today to find out how.