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Hiring Managers – Please Stop Ghosting Your Candidates – Notes From An Outplacement Consultant

Ghosting.jpgAs an outplacement consultant, I work with a number of great candidates who are in job search. They put their heart and soul into finding their next opportunity.

We work together on getting their resumes polished, their LinkedIn profile optimized and their interview skills sharpened.

I am almost as excited as they are when they land interviews. We debrief afterward, talk about follow up strategies, and then wait for a reply back from the hiring manager.

Too often than I care to mention, these great candidates hear nothing – crickets – Paul Simon singing the Sounds of Silence.

They have been ghosted.

For those of you who have never been ghosted, here is a quick explanation from Wikipedia:

 is breaking off a relationship (often an intimate relationship) by ceasing all communication and contact with the former partner without any apparent warning or justification, as well as avoiding or ignoring and refusing to respond to the former partner's attempts to reach out or communicate.

When it comes to interviewing, this means that you never hear back from the hiring. Something went sideways but you never know why – zero feedback.

Tim Sackett (who writes a great blog that I strongly encourage everyone to follow) gave these reasons why an interview candidate got “ghosted”.

There are a number of reasons that recruiters and hiring managers ghost candidates and none of them are good! Here’s a short-list of some of these reasons:

– They hated you and hope you go away when they ghost you because conflict is uncomfortable.

– They like you, but not as much as another candidate they’re trying to talk into the job, but want to leave you on the back burner, but they’re idiots and don’t know how to do this properly.

– They decided to promote someone internally and they don’t care about candidate experience enough to tell you they went another direction.

– They have a completely broken recruitment process and might still be going through it believing you’re just as happy as a pig in shi…

– They think they communicated to you electronically to bug off through their ATS, but they haven’t audited the process to know this isn’t working.

– The recruiter got fired and no one picked up the process.

The sad fact is that candidates get ghosted all the time. I can think of two times this past week alone that my candidates have got the silent treatment. In researching this article, I found a CareerBuilder study that said 60% of candidates who did not get hired in their study never heard back from the company. This definitely is a problem.

Let’s be as direct as possible – Hiring Managers – It Is Never OK To Ghost A Candidate – NEVER.

Besides being unprofessional, it shows a complete lack of humanity.

Hiring managers – I realize that you are busy, overworked and understaffed. This still does not excuse you from being courteous enough to give feedback to a candidate that took the time and effort to want to work for you. We are living in an age that has so many electronic tools available that should give you several ways to get back to your candidates. Oh, by the way, this also includes recruiters.

Hiring managers, by stopping the ghosting of candidates you will reflect well on both you and your organization. This may not seem like a big deal until you start seeing your company show up on Glassdoor. Or worst case, you get a reputation in the market as being a place that does not treat their people very well. This is a very big deal now because we are in a full employment economy where candidates have options and leverage,

What can candidates do to stop this?

I am afraid that the options are limited. I found a number of articles with advice saying that candidates should send back a pointed criticism to the hiring manager or they should go viral about their experience. This is too much bridge burning for me.

The best advice that I can provide is to forgive but don’t forget. Give the hiring manager the benefit of doubt (they were not intentionally trying to be insensitive) but also remember that that company is most likely a lousy place to work. Also, let anyone else that you know who will be interviewing with the ghosting company about your experience. This negative word of mouth is justice being served.