Ghosting: The Latest Job Seeker Trend You Need to Know About

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It’s another reimagined word that’s worked its way into our vernacular: ghosting. In most cases, ghosting means someone slowly disappears in order to end a relationship. But it seems ghosting is also becoming a habit of job seekers. They’re backing out of the hiring process without giving much reason.

In fact, a recent CareerBuilder survey found 55 percent of job seekers will drop out of the hiring process if they haven’t heard anything from the employer in two weeks. Another 51 percent of job seekers say they keep looking for a job even after receiving an offer. In many cases, they never respond to the offer.

Of course, your job seekers have the right to leave the hiring process whenever they want. This ensures employers are treating them with respect and meeting their expectations. But when ghosting becomes a job search habit, there’s a good chance your job seeker will miss out on a great opportunity.

As a career services professional, you need to find out what’s going on with your job seekers so you can help them land — rather than ghosting — their dream job. Start with these three tips:

1. Get job seekers’ feedback

If you ask a job seeker why they ghosted a company, they might give a vague response like they ‘weren’t feeling it.’ But if you want to be able to help them find better fitting jobs, dig deeper. Ask them specific questions about what happened. Start with common job seeker complaints and make sure you’re not accusing your job seeker of doing something wrong.

For example, the aforementioned CareerBuilder survey found 82 percent of respondents expect a clear time and consistent updates from the organization. Unfortunately, employers don’t always provide this information.

Ask job seekers if they felt they had all the information they needed to succeed in the hiring process. Follow up by finding out what else they wanted to know. Create a list of critical information from their answers you both can look for when perusing listings in the future.

Also, work with your job seeker to help them develop template emails and conversations they can use to ask for more details. If they have an example of a way to get information that they want, they’ll be more likely to use it instead of dropping out of the hiring process.

2. Schedule more informational interviews

Once you have a better idea of what’s pushing job seekers away from companies, you can refine the list of what they’re looking for. Together, work to find a short list of organizations that meet most of these criteria, reminding your job seeker that no employer is perfect.

Then, encourage them to set up informational interviews with current employees at the company. When a job seeker applies for a job, they know the hiring process can be a big time commitment. So as soon as there is a bad sign, they jump ship not wanting to invest any more energy. An informational interview, however, is a short but valuable one-time meeting.

Not every interview will lead to peaked interest in an opportunity. But the ones that do will create a strong bond between your job seeker and the company. And they’ll have acquired answers they need to move forward in person, increasing their confidence that continuing with the hiring process will be worth their while.

3. Show them the employer’s side of the hiring process

The hiring process is tough for everyone and, often, job seekers don’t understand the challenges employers and hiring managers face. Being in the dark about the other half of the equation makes it easier for them grow impatient and quit the hiring process abruptly.

Carefully explain all the steps companies have to go through before they can extend a job offer. When an organization has to go through each assessment phase with multiple job seekers, the time adds up. In fact, the aforementioned CareerBuilder survey found that nearly one-half of employers say it’s taking them longer than ever to fill open positions.

While employers still need to make the hiring process more efficient, job seekers can benefit from having more realistic expectations. As long as the organization is respectful and showing genuine interest in your candidate, it can’t hurt to stick it out a little longer during the hiring process.

Want more ways to reach your job seekers? Find out what strategies best engage college students. Read our blog post here!

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Val Matta
Val Matta
Val Matta is the co-owner and leader of business development at CareerShift, a comprehensive job hunting and career management solution for companies, outplacement firms, job seekers and university career centers. You can connect with her and the CareerShift team on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, LinkedIn.