With so many applicants to pick from in the previous decade, few businesses recognised the need to effectively manage their rejection process, simply leaving job-seekers in the dark about their applications (ghosting) or why they did not receive the job. However, amid economic uncertainty in a tight labour market, this could harm companies.
Your team is ready; this pitch might result in a multimillion-pound deal. You’ve agreed on the presentation you’ll give, and extra care has been devoted to the values and diversity segment – as the potential client values these things. Your company does, according to your website. When you walk in, the new CIO greets you. They are, however, really harsh on you guys, especially regarding values and diversity. As a result, you do not get the job. You’re not sure why. Unbeknownst to you, the same CIO was ghosted by your CEO two years ago – and the damage is still felt…
Ghosting job seekers is a major problem that is becoming more prevalent. It can have disastrous consequences for candidates. However, what is sometimes neglected is its negative impact on businesses, particularly professional services companies.
Value-driven organisations rightfully place a high value on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) activities in order to recruit and retain the finest personnel and create an atmosphere in which everyone can reach their full potential – and, to be cynical, to be in sync with their clients.
However, all too frequently, corporate leaders jeopardise their hard-won DEI image by failing to see how important the small things are. A classic example of this is ensuring that recruiters – and interviewers – follow up with applicants following any contact with your business.
When it comes to ghosting, the stakes have never been higher. In the past, an unhappy applicant might have made a social media post naming a specific business that had neglected to share the conclusion of an interview. However, most people remained silent out of fear of being labelled troublemakers.
Companies are now routinely named and shamed online. And it’s not a good image if a prospective customer looks into your business, is impressed by your principles and DEI policy, and then discovers a flurry of social media posts from candidates complaining about being ghosted.
On the other hand, recruiters frequently find themselves on the receiving end of ghosting from prospects who forget to return calls, prioritise a rival interview invitation, or even refuse a job offer. And, with applicants having their pick of employment in the aftermath of the pandemic, such tactics have increased.
Things that are annoying, harsh, short-sighted, and time-consuming for recruiters become even more so for prospects when done the other way around. Ghosting will make anyone doubt themselves and heighten any impostor sentiments.
And the issue isn’t confined to inexperienced applicants. There have been horror stories about top executives applying for positions like Strategic Director or CHRO. All have reported being ghosted by organisations that purport to promote DEI or defend a set of principles that their recruiters – and those interviewing candidates – clearly do not share.
Application ghosting is especially widespread, with many applicants having below a 5% response rate. Ghosting after an interview is even worse since you are now in the region of rejecting someone you have met. This is especially true if the candidate has invested time in several interviews and examinations.
If a candidate has made it this far, the very least they deserve is some feedback on their performance; otherwise, it will trigger the impostor syndrome, which many people strive to keep hidden. But, unfortunately, the consequences for a diverse candidate can be much more severe, driving them into a downward cycle of self-doubt and despair.
There are straightforward steps leaders can take to rectify the situation, beginning with holding HR directors accountable to ensure that company processes are followed. They must then guarantee that everyone hiring in their company follows the process at each point, from a proforma note to every applicant at the forming stage through a simple rejection letter at the first interview and a feedback note to those who progress further along the hiring process.
Ghosting has the potential to have catastrophic consequences for individual candidates. In addition, the ramifications might be disastrous regarding the general brand and the possibility of stepping into a pitch and being confronted with the candidate your business ghosted last year!
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