A term typically used in dating, “ghosting” happens when the person you’ve been seeing stops responded to all communication with no explanation. They suddenly stop returning calls, texts, or emails. It’s as if they disappeared — hence the name.
But ghosting is not limited to failed romances. These days, the number of companies reporting candidates ghosting them is on the rise.
Of course, ghosting has been part of the job search world for a long time. In the past, companies ghosted candidates without thinking about it. A job seeker would put in many hours for interviews and preparation — and then, if the company decided the candidate wasn’t a good fit, they’d drop the candidate and move on with no explanation.
What goes around comes around it, seems. Now that the job market is improving, candidates are giving it right back to employers. Job seekers are bailing on scheduled interviews. They aren’t showing up to their scheduled first days. Some employees are even quitting without notice — just walking out the door one day and never coming back.
According to some estimates, 20-50 percent of applicants and workers are ghosting their employers. What’s a company to do? After all, the job market is tight, and companies still need to hire.
First and foremost, treat those you’re interviewing the way you want to be treated: with respect. Searching for a job is hard. It’s an emotionally painful process. If you’ve ever been without a job yourself, you know how it feels.
Be transparent. If you already have a hire in mind, don’t needlessly lead a candidate on. If you are putting the position on hold, tell them. If the candidate isn’t the right fit, let them know. If you aren’t sure when you plan to call back, be honest.
Remember: You’re building a relationship with everyone you interview. Just because they’re not a good fit for this job doesn’t mean they won’t be a fit for a job in the future. The candidate may even know someone who is a better fit — but you won’t get that referral with a negative candidate experience.
If you work to build a relationship with every candidate, even if just as a LinkedIn connection, you’ll build a company that people want to work for.
If you’re experiencing candidate ghosting, it’s time to look in the mirror. Are you running the kind of place people want to work for? How do you treat the candidates you interview?
The cutthroat approach to hiring worked when the market was tough for job seekers. Now that job seekers are back in the driver’s seat, a new game plan is required to win the best talent.
A version of this article originally appeared on Copeland Coaching.
Angela Copeland is a career coach and CEO at her firm, Copeland Coaching.