Turning down a candidate is rarely easy. As a result, “ghosting” has become too popular. According to Wikipedia, ghosting is a colloquial term that originated in the early 2000s that means “to break off a relationship by stopping all communication and contact with the partner without any apparent warning or justification, as well as ignoring the partner’s attempts to reach out or communicate.”
In other words, ghosting is rude and cowardly. And in the career world, it is completely unprofessional.
The internet is full of people sharing their stories of being ghosted after an interview. If you are a good person, you don’t like to give bad news. But it’s worse to leave a candidate blowing in the wind, wondering what they did wrong that ended the recruiting process. We all want feedback, even if it’s negative. Consider that your feedback will help them land their perfect position in the future. Relaying bad news to a candidate is part of a recruiter’s job. Try these three ways to make turning candidates down a little less painful for everyone — all while you improve candidate experience and your employer brand.Are you guilty of ghosting to spare your candidates’ feelings? See how you can ease breaking bad news to #candidates that aren’t the right fit in the @IQTalent blog:Click to Tweet
1. Give Candidates Immediate Feedback
How many times have you been on a phone screen and realized halfway through that this candidate is not a fit for your role? Consider letting the candidate know right then and there that they aren’t a fit. It’s the recruiter’s version of “ripping off the band-aid.”
Knowing that the candidate is not going to be right for the role may not happen frequently. However, if you have succinct and pointed interview questions, you can often tell when things aren’t going well. Why draw out the process by telling the candidate that you'll follow-up in a few days if you can just release them right away? Not only does this help the candidate, but it saves your time as well.
Job hunting isn't fun; it can be stressful, and compounded with today’s climate of economic uncertainty, it can be downright torture. Let the candidate move on instead of keeping them shackled to an opportunity that will never materialize.
2. Manage Candidates’ Expectations
When turning a candidate down over the phone isn’t feasible, or if you aren't sure how the hiring manager will respond to your assessment of the candidate, let the candidate know when you would expect to hear back from the hiring manager. Set a reminder to call the candidate or email the candidate on your phone or calendar. Many applicant tracking systems have this ability built right into the platform’s functionality, so use it! If you don’t have an update when expected, calling or emailing a candidate just to let them know you don’t have an update is far better than leaving the candidate hanging with nothing.
Put yourself in the candidate’s shoes and have empathy. When your livelihood is on the line, the worst thing in the world is to hear nothing at all. Think of the people who are checking their email hourly, constantly looking at their phone waiting to hear back from a company with whom they've interviewed. It’s a sickening feeling to hear nothing day after day. We can all live without the angst, and as recruiters, we do not want to be the cause of this feeling. Recruiters and hiring managers have a responsibility to give feedback as quickly as possible. Candidate experience is important for employer branding and your reputation as a recruiter. One bad review on Glassdoor can cause your next great candidate not to take your call at all.Avoiding #feedback without an offer isn’t sparing any candidates’ feelings. @IQTalent explains how you can fix your #candidateexperience:Click to Tweet
3. Open the Lines of Communication
Give the candidates the ability to hold you accountable. Ask them to call or email you if they don’t hear from you on the proposed day. Be transparent and tell them that you are managing multiple candidates and numerous roles, and you don’t mean to let anything slip through the cracks, but it can happen. Offer an open line of communication. In doing so, it prevents you from bearing the entire responsibility of reconnecting. It also empowers the candidate to check-in and gives them a little more control in the process.
You will have far fewer surprises for everyone throughout the process if you are transparent with your candidates. By keeping them informed and being hyper-communicative, your candidates will remember you for years to come, even if they weren’t given an offer, simply because you exhibited humanity during a difficult time. We are in strange times, and it is imperative to put in the extra effort to empathize with all the candidates we encounter.
Need help managing your candidates and ensuring no one gets ghosted? Let IQTalent Partners take some of the details off your hands and serve as your personal sourcing and recruiting staff. We are experts in candidate outreach, and our proprietary platform, IQTX, makes certain every candidate is treated with respect and has a top-notch candidate experience.