‘My candidate had 3 start dates and she didn’t turn up to any of them’.

The Rise of Ghosting in the Recruitment Industry

Ghosting, the practice of ending a personal relationship with someone by suddenly and without explanation withdrawing from all communication was once a term exclusively used in the dating world but is now fast filtering into the workplace, much to the frustration of the recruitment industry.

It’s a common practice for consultancies and internal hiring teams to report applicants not turning up for job interviews, successful candidates failing to arrive for their first day or in some extreme cases, candidates completely vanishing off the side of the earth. This worrying trend has been highlighted in research conducted by Robert Half where a staggering 1 in 4 people have backed out of the decision after accepting the job.

The consequence of this is wasted time and a drain on resource. In some cases where organisations have appointed a candidate, only then to be ghosted, are left confronted with heavy workloads and no one to do it. This can also be very damaging to a potential candidate’s career path, where their reputation can be placed under question. A sudden change of mind after accepting a role, can have repercussions for the future. With a generation of people more comfortable breaking up by text, navigating through the complexities of multiple offers or not taking an offer can end in a bit of a car crash situation where the rejected employer can get very hurt, if the situation is not handled appropriately.

Andrew Fragnito-Day, Manager at Nelson Chambers recalls a situation where a qualified Criminal Solicitor and friend of 10 years approached him to find a new role as she wanted to relocate to London and find a position as a Criminal Duty Solicitor. Andy recalls that "she went through the screening process and I found her an interview for a firm in Shoreditch which she interviewed with and after rearranging several second interviews, was offered a very good salary for a Duty Solicitor which she accepted straight and agreed to suitable start date. All perfect.............or so I thought! I called her 5 days before her start date, all set and ready to go. The client called me on what should have been her 3rd day to say she never turned up, she emailed me to say due personal reasons could she start the Monday – I spoke with the client and they agreed with this. The 2nd start date came up, but my candidate didn’t turn up again. The client then calls me wanting to end the situation, but I convinced them I would speak with my candidate and find out what's going on. She told me her Mum was mis-diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and it took a personal toll on her health. I convinced this firm in Shoreditch to allow one more start date, they agreed, and I spoke with the candidate the day before her start date. 3rd Monday comes again and guess what, the candidate doesn't turn up again.

Safe to say the relationship with the firm was tarnished and my friend didn’t have the courtesy to explain her actions to me".

But is this cultural shift the fall out from the digital world we live in now, where communication is not always face to face but on WhatsApp, email and online social media platform? The anonymity social media allows, perhaps gives rise to the laissez faire attitude of a younger demographic. But it is key for consultancies to engage with modern methods of communications, to ensure they have an omni channel approach across traditional and digital mediums to guarantee they are engaging with the younger workforce.

This generational shift goes some way in explaining the trend but is also linked to attitudes towards business relationships. Cultivating emotional intelligence in the hiring process eliminates the factor of ghosting as the hiring process is no longer transactional, but a collaboration. Consultancies which offer great experience and quality of service within the process will remove the risk of this happening and ensure a smoother negotiation.

The key to limiting the damage of ghosting is to follow these key rules

  • Maintain regular communication with potential candidates
  • If you’re unable to contact a candidate after a few attempts and think you’re being ghosted, then put in place a contingency plan and consider other applicants.
  • Speed up your recruitment process
  • Don’t leave candidates waiting otherwise they will go elsewhere. In today’s digital world, people are used to having instantaneous access to information and making instant decisions. The faster your recruitment process is the quicker candidates can assess whether they are a right match.

At The Chambers Group we can help you navigate through finding your next career without the fear of ending up in any complicated situations, or damaging your reputation with the market. If you are unsure of how to approach speaking with a specific firm, we have great insight and can help with a smoother negotiation due to our unique position as specialists in our field. If you would like to speak to us, please contact one of our team on 01702 334933 or email us at info@aj-chambers.com