Job Ghosting Explained

Job ghosting has become a problem

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Job ghosting is sweeping the nation. Certainly at September’s HR Technology Conference and Exposition, everyone was talking about. Survale clients are complaining about job ghosting. And we recently announced a new module designed to minimize it.

But what is job ghosting and why does it happen?

Job Ghosting Definition

Recruiting used to be easy! You posted your jobs and people wanted those jobs. You read a few resumes and boom! Someone gets a job they want, someone gets the employee they need and everyone is happy. It really wasn’t easy but at least as a general rule, you could assume people actually wanted and needed the job.

Job ghosting is a new phenomenon wherein candidates accept offers and never show up on day one. Gone. No notice, no explanation, no trace. Like a ghost.

Job ghosting has become a problemI’ve talked to dozens of recruiters, industry analysts, Survale clients and EVERYONE is haunted by ghosting. Hourly, salaried, low skill, high skill – all categories of employment are seeing ghosts. In fact, a recent Indeed study found that 76% of employers have been ghosted within the last 18 months. And nearly half feel it’s worse now than ever before.

Of course the corollary to the candidate ghosting phenomenon is the fact that 77% of job seekers say they’ve been ghosted by a prospective employer since the onset of Covid-19, with 10% reporting that an employer has ghosted them even after a verbal job offer was extended.

So job ghosting appears to be a two-way street, but the truth is that candidates are fed up and many feel quite justified in accepting a job and disappearing before that first day

Obviously, ghosting is bad practice on both sides and there is plenty of blame to go around. Employers who don’t provide outstanding candidate experiences and communicate openly with candidates will always hire less desirable candidates and pay too much for them. And candidates can dramatically hurt their chances of long term employment in their field by disappearing before day one.

Why All the Job Ghosting?

Look, we’ve all been tossed around a bit by this pandemic. Recruiting organizations in many industries have contracted and have been asked to do more with less. And then, to do even more with even less.

Many job seekers were laid off and received enough stimulus money to allow them to take their time returning to work. The riskiest jobs from a public health standpoint tend to be at the low end of the wage scale, so why be in a hurry to get back to work?

Ultimately, many at the low end of the wage scale took a beat to re-evaluate the value of their labor. So when many resolve to return to the workforce, those minimum wage jobs seem a bit more insulting when you’ve been dropped like a hot potato and then begged to return to a perceived highly dangerous job with the same low wage.

Add to that the fact that many employers have been slow to treat job seekers well in the recruiting process and no one is feeling too bad about not showing up if they change their mind, have a panic attack about going back to work or simply get a better offer in a competitive labor market.

Of course this is an oversimplification of several unprecedented trends that have converged as we navigate a novel pandemic and economic downturn. And even if I had the definitive answer as to why ghosting is a thing, it wouldn’t be the correct answer for your company and your jobs.

Stop Seeing Ghosts!

As employers strive to improve their candidate experience, Survale’s Candidate Feedback Platform has become a popular way to understand what’s working and what’s not with the hiring process. As candidates move through each phase, they get pulse surveys at every step of the process and organizations use this data to optimize the candidate experience.

Survale recently released SurvaleStart, a new module that allows employers to engage new hires between the time they accept an offer and their first day of work. SurvaleStart also gathers information from new hires about their experience during this “last mile” of the hiring journey. Now organizations can engage and support new hires as they progress toward day one, AND get crucial data that can help them understand and optimize that part of the candidate journey. 

For more information about SurvaleStart, click here.

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