After 3 out of 7 candidates flaked out interviews (that were booked AND confirmed prior) in one day, a recruiter connection of mine took to LinkedIn to pose the question, “are we as a society becoming flakier?”
Recruiters and employers are well-aware of the phenomenon of candidate “ghosting” — in fact, according to Indeed, 83% of employers have reported experiencing it. But this recruiter lamented how it’s increasingly becoming more and more common… not just in recruitment, but even with work, friends and family, ghosting has become the norm. “Why do we as a society find it so hard to commit to the plans we make?” he asked.
Bailing at the last minute, or cancelling 30 minutes AFTER you were supposed to show up despite confirming yesterday that you’d be there, or being a no-show/no-call/no-notice… this behavior is increasingly more common, and incredibly inconsiderate. In terms of interviews or employment screening, the recruiter or employer blocked that time out of their day just for you – time that could’ve been spent on other important matters. It’s also inconsiderate to the other potential candidates who may have missed out on an interview due to the employer or recruiter investing in you. Even more astonishing is a candidate ghosting on what is supposed to be their first day of work. The recruiter and employer have put time and resources into recruiting and the hiring process, and now they have to start all over because you chose not to be up-front about your reason not to follow-through, and instead just vanish.
Why is this all of a sudden a “thing”? Granted, ghosting has been happening for a long time, but has seen a surge in the past few years. It started in the world of online dating, and has transcended into nearly every realm of life. But why is it happening so much?
In the recruitment world, it puzzles recruiters and employers why a candidate would go through the trouble of applying for a job and/or going through most of the hiring process, only to ghost. Candidates see it as “the tables have turned” — whereas they used to apply for jobs and never hear back from the employer, or reach out to a recruiter on a job and not hear any feedback — they are now in control. We are in a candidate-friendly market right now, and candidates are keeping their options open (in other words, you’re not the only fish in their sea). Candidates aren’t desperate, and if they decide the job isn’t right for them, or if they receive another offer after yours, or decided the salary/benefits aren’t enough… they are prone to just drop you right then and there without expending any more of their effort or time on an explanation.
You can’t change a behavior that has become almost the “norm” in the recruiting industry, but recruiters may be able to help reduce the likelihood of themselves or their client experiencing it — if you build a solid relationship with the jobseeker founded on transparency and trust, it may make it easier for the candidate to feel more comfortable explaining they had a change of heart about a job or company. If you provide the candidate with feedback and open communication, it’s more likely that they will offer you the same. In other words, hold yourself accountable and treat others the way you want to be treated.