Ghosting: A Recruiter’s Nightmare

We have all gotten off the phone with a candidate and said, “Wow, that conversation was awesome! I really hope he/she gets this position!” The candidate interviews, everything goes great, they get a job offer and you are over the moon for them. You call them up, “congratulations ____ would love to offer you the position!” which they reply, “Awesome! Yes, I am so excited and would love to accept this opportunity. Thank you so much for all of your help, I am definitely going to share your information with my friends!”
Well… that is what happens in my dreams at least.
[bctt tweet=”Have you been ‘ghosted’ before?” username=”ATCevent”]
In real life, I have been ghosted three times in the last two weeks (I know someone out there can one-up me). It’s easy to get upset and angry with the candidate. It’s easy to think, “Why can’t they send me an email, even, just saying they aren’t interested any more, found a different opportunity or something came up.” However, after my anger-subsided, I decided to ask myself, “What did I NOT ask my candidate in the pre-screen that could have prevented this situation?” After all, the best recruiters are able to develop a trust with their candidates, and if someone does not trust me enough to answer my phone call or reply to an email, I am at fault somewhere. Looking back, I realised:

shutterstock_422412229If a candidate is relocating for a job, family, lifestyle change, etc. I need to know why, when, how, what would prevent you from moving, how certain are you about relocating, do you see yourself in ___ in 10+ years or is this just temporary, is your family okay with the move, do you need to discuss this relocation with other people in your life before you make a decision?
Are these personal questions – yes. Are they necessary questions – absolutely. When relocation is involved, you can never know too much. The more you learn about your candidate and their relocation status, the more comfortable they will feel letting you know that Aunt JoAnn and Grandma Betty will never speak to them again if they relocate to Orlando, so this opportunity will not work at this time. No hiding, no misinterpretation, no ghosting.

Where am I on your list of opportunities?

How many other opportunities are you interviewing for and where, if anywhere, does this opportunity land on that list? If ____ is interviewing at 5 places, and my position is #5, I need to know and understand that. Nothing personal against me, this position just isn’t ___’s top interest right now. If opportunity 1-4 fall off, I need to know that this was ___’s last pick, and I need to know why.
If I can find out why this position is last on the list, maybe I can be honest with ___ and say, “hey, after listening to why you don’t LOVE opportunity ‘A,’ what are your thoughts on opportunity ‘B’?” and maybe ___ hates it, maybe he doesn’t, but at least he knows you’re on the same team now and that you want to help him find a position that is #1 or 2 on the list.

Building a connection

Outside of work, what do you enjoy doing? Do you have a dog? Do you like to read? Travel? Cook? I believe that engaging our candidates on a level deeper than job-related chit chat can lead to trust, understanding, and a way for your candidates to feel connected to you. I am not that great at this. I feel intrusive, a little weird, shutterstock_384173677 (1)and a bit like Buddy the Elf answering the phone with, “Buddy the Elf, what’s your favourite colour?”
But, the truth is, if you can get beyond surface layer, peel back the onion of your candidates, you can really make a relationship that lasts and is built on trust. Someone once told me, “You should be learning something about every candidate you call that you cannot learn by looking at their resume” (shout out Jenny!) and I love that. If you can find something about your candidate that you can connect with, outside of a job opportunity, you start to build a relationship that makes someone want to be open and honest with you.
[bctt tweet=”Haunted by your hiring process? How can you prevent ‘Ghosting’?” username=”ATCevent”]
It is a nightmare that all recruiters have, or will, experience. It is easy to get upset and annoyed, but I truly believe that for most candidates that ghost, there was something I missed, something I didn’t ask, or something I ignored. I cannot prevent every nightmare, but I can make sure that I did everything I could so that if a candidate does ghost on me, I can sit back and say, “that was really crappy of ____ to ghost like that” and then… back-fill it, baby!

This article first appeared on LinkedIn Pulse on May 2nd, 2016. 

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