February 3, 2023

Why do both candidates and recruiters ghost?

The reasons overlap but are also inherently different.

“Ghosting” was a bigger term in hiring and recruitment discussions pre-pandemic. It seemed to hit its peak around early 2019, and since then we've replaced it with other discussions around “The Great Resignation” and “Quiet Quitting” and the like. But even as it’s gotten less attention in the business journalism and LinkedIn discussion worlds, it’s still happening. It’s always happened at some level. It’s worth briefly asking: why? And not just one direction, but why in both directions?

Why do recruiters ghost?

Simplest answer here is that they’re often asked to do more with less, and contingent recruiting is on the chopping block – and increasingly will be axed in 2023 if inflation and potential recessionary conditions exist. That means recruiters are spending a lot of time on tasks and not as much time on strategy, and the tasks become overwhelming enough where they miss a call or two or five because they’re pulled into top-of-funnel scheduling hell, or they’re pulled into meetings demanding to know why certain key roles haven’t been filled yesterday. More and more with less resources = potential for ghosting.

Some recruiters are jerks, and some manage their time and calendars badly. But that’s a small slice of the bigger picture. The real issue is time.

Why do candidates ghost?

There are a lot of potential reasons why candidates ghost, and it does vary by person. In general, candidates ghost for a few core reasons:

  • They’re moving at a fast pace and deciding between different employers. They expect transparency and clarity around culture, responsibilities, hiring process, and compensation. When they don’t think they’re getting it, they bow out.
  • If they’ve been in several hiring processes, they know it’s possible that they could do 3-4 interviews with a company and never receive an official rejection. That’s a form of ghosting. Or they could do those 3-4 interviews and receive a generic two-line rejection email. So they know companies will do the same thing to them, and as a result, they feel OK just ghosting during the process.
  • There is some element of the supposed “millennial mindset” that might be more prone to “ghosting” because it’s common on dating apps, and older people love to speculate that millennials are less professional than previous generations. That could be true, but it represents a sliver of the context here.

So, where do we net out?

It seems as if recruiters ghost because of time issues, and candidates ghost because of a lack of respect and transparency.

The way to theoretically “solve” the gap here would be to get recruiters more time, and provide candidates more context and transparency on the role and the process they’re currently pursuing.

The “easiest” business path to getting more time for recruiters would be:

  • Hire more recruiters

That one probably isn’t happening in 2023.

Second option would be:

  • Automate more top of funnel work.

That is happening, but it’s not really at scale yet, and automated processes will probably get to HR and TA silos slower than sales, marketing, and operations. And, it creates another problem: an automated process might provide more updates to candidates (good), but it might also alienate candidates if it’s clearly automated. Who wants to talk to bots at a company they may soon invest 50+ hours/week in?

Our path to “close the gap” at Greetr is a bit different:

  • Give recruiters more resources to personalize their approach and contextualize the process more.

We came to that conclusion after working with partners, observing recruiters, building out hiring processes, and speaking with both those in TA and Millennials/Zoomers about their thoughts on how companies hire.

If we could give recruiters more functional time and resources, and at the same time provide candidates more transparency and context, we could fix the bugs of modern knowledge work hiring. That’s our current journey.

Interested in learning how Greetr helps employers deliver an amazing candidate experience that is game changing? Visit Greetr.io and see Greetr in action yourself.

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