Don’t Ghost or Be Ghosted


According to a recent CareerBuilder survey in partnership with the Harris Poll, more than half of workers say their biggest source of frustration when looking for a job is poor communication. In detail, they highlighted that it either took too long to hear from the company, or the communications about next steps were vague, automated or not personalised.

At the same time, hiring managers report that a drop off in the hiring process is a problem for their company.

Why are they two missing each other? What causes the dreaded “ghosting” on either side, and how can this be remedied for a better job search experience that lands the right person?

It may sound counter-intuitive, but the answer comes back to humanity: putting empathy, gratitude and respect into the job application process. By remembering that the person on the other end is, well, a person, we can do much to make the hiring process one of open and honest communication. That translates to better retention rates, or at least, a respectful letter of rejection rather than dead silence.

In the practical sense, you can:

Share pay range at the start.

Many companies wait till the interview, some even the second or third interview, to share the pay range. That is far too late, especially as jobseekers are aware that the economic outlook is improving and with it, their expected pay packages. Recruitment consultancy Mercer Singapore projected salary increments to recover to pre-pandemic levels at 3.6% this year.

Pay continues to be a primary motivator to change jobs or stay in one, so it should be dealt with upfront. And of course, it helps to know if the pay you are offering is competitive, so you can get the applicants you need from the start.

Start the interview process immediately.

Don’t wait for a sizable “talent pool” before picking your candidates, as they certainly will not be waiting to hear back from you. In today’s age of mobile-friendly tactics and one-click apply, jobseekers apply for as many as twenty jobs in a single sitting with form resumes and quickly edited cover letters. You have to be just as fast in picking out likely candidates and contacting them.

According to a CareerBuilder survey, 38% of workers have experienced frustration with employers not acknowledging receipt of application. It is still acceptable to send automated emails or other AI tools, but try to make any messaging sound personal, as though it’s coming from a human in real time.

Give clear dates and times.

Be thorough in your follow-through – give a time frame in which a candidate can expect to hear from you, outline the stages of your hiring process, and detail what is required for the different assessments and interviews. Candidates are more likely to remain engaged when they know what to expect and when to expect it. As a bonus, it is also a good indicator that you are accountable and trustworthy as an employer.

Don’t slack once they accept your offer.

The time between hire and start date is critical, yet barely half of employers have a set communications plan in place for this stage, according to CareerBuilder research. Make sure your HR team can quickly run through all the steps, from background checks to tax benefits enrollment. Meanwhile, check in with the candidate every few days to make sure they know what’s expected of them and that they have everything they need. You’ll build trust and loyalty — and candidates are less likely to ghost before the start date.

Reject respectfully and directly.

Ghosting goes both ways. In the past, many companies “ghosted” candidates, so these people have learnt to “ghost” prospective employers too.

Stop this terrible cycle by giving people the courtesy of letting them know they didn’t make the cut. Every applicant you engage with becomes part of your valuable talent pipeline, whether immediate or not. When you show gratitude for their time and regret at the rejection, they will be left with a positive hiring experience and may apply again or refer qualified individuals.

Technology should be used to bring us closer and make us more accountable, not the other way around. Use your tech to source well, but always remember the human touch.