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Ghosting a growing problem for employers, jobseekers

Adam Zuchetti
Adam Zuchetti
14 May 2019 2 minute readShare
Robert Half offices

The problem of being left in the lurch by someone “dropping off the grid” is a growing one for both employers and jobseekers alike, according to a recruitment firm.

Ghosting — the term used to describe someone cutting ties without warning or explanation — is a growing issue in the nation’s recruitment market, said Robert Half Australia director Andrew Morris.

“While it’s not always possible to identify the exact reasons why employers alienate job candidates with poor communication during the recruitment process, possible explanations include avoidance of delivering bad news, sudden changes to recruiting requirements, or keeping candidates as a back-up option in case other preferred candidates fall through,” he said.

“Yet from the jobseekers’ perspective, ghosting by employers means they miss out on valuable feedback related to performance and suitability, time and effort is wasted, and their confidence sometimes takes a hit.”

According to Mr Morris, businesses leaving job candidates in the lurch can be a dangerous move in the modern world.

“In a digital age where more candidates are sharing their experiences using online review sites, offering no response to candidates after an interview could have long-term consequences, such as developing a poor company reputation and inability to attract top talent,” he explained.

But the same goes for jobseekers as well, who may not consider the impacts of them ghosting a prospective employer.

“Similarly, candidates who ghost companies could suffer damage to their professional reputation, which could negatively impact their career if the hiring manager becomes the face of another company the candidate later applies to,” Mr Morris said.

“By simply keeping communication lines open and maintaining transparency, employer and candidates alike will avoid burning bridges they may wish to cross in the future.”

Biggest fears of jobseekers

Mr Morris’s comments come as Robert Half commissioned independent research into the major frustrations that jobseekers have while on the hunt for a new job.

It found that two of the three biggest gripes of job hunters relate to the flow of information from prospective employers.

Slow feedback was the most complained about issue by the 1,000 respondents, with 53 per cent nominating this as a major frustration. Poor communication from hiring managers was also a problem for 44 per cent.

Some 46 per cent also nominated delayed decision-making as a major problem they experienced.

Tips for both employers and job hunters

The recruitment process can be made a little easier for both sides by following a couple of simple steps.

  • Establish next steps: According to Mr Morris, a jobseeker should never leave an interview with seeking confirmation that the hiring manager has all the information they require, and without clarifying the next steps in the hiring process. This will set expected time frames and action points for both parties.
  • Follow up: Rather than leave things open-ended indefinitely, if one party has not heard from the other within those pre-established time frames, there is no harm in giving them a call to follow up. Mr Morris urged jobseekers to follow up an interview 48 hours later with a simple thank-you note to demonstrate their ongoing interest in the position and to help them stay top of mind.
  • Make it clear the search is ongoing: Far from being seen as big-noting themselves, Mr Morris said that it can be good for job hunters to mention to hiring managers that they are applying and interviewing elsewhere, if that is indeed the case. “[This] lets the employer in question know they’re not the only business competing for talent,” he said. But the same could be said for employers in letting candidates know they are conducting other interviews.

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Ghosting a growing problem for employers, jobseekers
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Adam Zuchetti
Adam Zuchetti

Adam Zuchetti is the former editor of MyBusiness and a senior freelance media professional, specialising in the fields of business, personal finance and property. In 2020, he also embarked on his own business journey – inspired in part by the entrepreneurs and founders he had met through his journalistic work – with the launch of customised pet gifting and subscription service Paws N’ All.

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