Being a Successful Recruiter – Don’t Get Ghosted by Your Candidates

When I was a young, I loved Saturday morning cartoons; Tom and Jerry, Popeye, Bugs Bunny, etc. The one cartoon that I especially enjoyed was Casper the friendly ghost. Casper wanted to be friends with kids and humans in general although his brothers wanted to be the staple kind and scare people instead of befriending them. Now, if you under the age of thirty you are probably saying huh? Who or what are you talking about!? I will grant you that, and you can go over to Google and look them up, but for this post, I will explain where I am going here.

Currently, the industry of hiring candidates is in a flux people are content mostly and have now, more than ever in my lifetime, have more choices and can and do and act with less shall we say scruples. Maybe it is because candidates have been mistreated for so long by the staffing and recruiting community over the years they feel a sort of comeuppance. Yes, folks, you do not get to blame this one on millennials as they are not the ones doing what the community is calling ghosting. I used to call it pulling a Casper back in the day which meant that candidates either did not finish filling out the exhausting application to the ATS or afterword did not show up for the interview. There are ways to protect yourself from this and your company or firm, and frankly, in my opinion, it is practices that you should have been doing all along. It’s ok though; Uncle Derek is to help so let’s look at some common ghosting points that generally happen out there and how you can avoid them.

The Application Process

This is probably the most natural thing you can control with your ATS, and if you cannot do this with the current one you have, you may want to consider an upgrade. People who are finding new roles are tired, frustrated, and angry. Adding to the pain of looking for a new position can be exhausting.

Adding to that frustration does not bode well in your favor. This makes it easy for them to apply, period. There is nothing in any statute that I know of that states that a person needs to fill out a lengthy application with all the information on their resume unless you are bringing them in for an in-person interview. Yes, that means online as well if you are doing video interview. So, why make them do all this work up front when they may not even be considered for the role? I have heard over the years, and yes being a job searcher myself, the shorter the process, in the beginning, to entice me to move forward with your company the better.

The ATS balanceTRAK does a great job of this straight out of the gate. The process is fast and straightforward. It is a win-win for both you and the candidate. They get to apply, and you get to see if this is someone that you would like to interview.

The Interview Process

Once a candidate has jumped through the hurdles of applying, they patiently sit and wait for that golden ticket to come in and meet with hiring manager. However, most companies, not all but most, have the recruiter do a screen with the candidate to determine fit, personality, and can they, in the recruiter’s scope of knowledge do the actual role that was posted. This is where the next disconnect is typically seen. The recruiter/screener either decides that the person is worth moving forward with or not. If they are going to move forward, they send the resume to the manager to wait for approval, or this is an immediate pass.

The first disconnect is the person that is a pass. They never hear back from you, ever. They have taken thirty or so minutes of their day to speak with you, and there is not even a courtesy email saying thank you for your time, but we do not see a fit. This is a punch of a button for you and consideration to them for their time.

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The second disconnect is a timing issue with managers. Once you send them over for review, follow up with both the manager and the candidate. Being busy is never an excuse. I would accept it from a manager, and if I was on site, I have no issue knocking on their door. Keep the candidate informed and upon finding out this information, good or bad.

The After Interview Process

The last, and in my opinion most egregious foul that our industry does is not communicating with the candidate(s) that did not get the role. This is sadly a more commonplace than you would think and it gives us a bad reputation. The candidate has not only given up an initial phone screen but has now taken, more than likely, hours out of their day to meet with the manager and the team. Sure, it is exciting to tell the person who was chosen that they are the “one,” but don’t forget to contact those that did not get the role.

There could be many reasons that a person loses out on an opportunity. Some call this a “silver medalist,” meaning that they may be suitable for possible upcoming roles. I have always said why to go through the process if you do not need too. All you would have to do is pick up the phone and call your silver medalists candidates. Keeping candidates in mind for further consideration goes a long way.

Well, there you have it. A little guide to help with the pitfalls of candidates ghosting you in this market and possibly future demands. After twenty years in this industry and testing all sorts of methods, I must say this is the best course of action you could use to limit the ghosts to Casper and not his brothers who want to disappear.           

Derek Zeller draws from over 20 years in the recruiting industry. The last 16 years he has been involved with federal government recruiting specializing in the cleared IT space under OFCCP compliance. Currently, he is the Director of Recruiting Solutions for Engage Talent. He has experience with both third-party agency and in-house recruiting for multiple disciplines. Using out-of-the-box tactics and strategies to identify and engage talent, he has had significant experience in building referral and social media programs, the implementation of Applicant Tracking Systems, technology evaluation, and the development of sourcing, employment branding, and military and college recruiting strategies. Derek currently lives in the Portland area. Now, he is the Director of Recruiting Solutions and Channels with Engage.

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