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Ghosting in the Workplace

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​Are you one of the 50%+ of reported Brits who have, in one way or another, ghosted a potential new employer? Using a term which was coined in the dating sphere, the act of ghosting an employer is one which can not only keep us from certain job roles but can also have a negative long term impact on our career.

So, what does it mean and why are so many Brits guilty of it?

What is ghosting in the professional sector?

To ghost someone is to end communication effectively and abruptly.

Now, imagine for a moment that you are dealing with a marketing recruitment agency - they’ve promised you access to tons of great job roles and vacancies, and have sold themselves with impressive stats and percentages. Then, one day, you email for an update, and you get nothing back.

Worse still, imagine you have bypassed the recruitment agency system and gone straight to interview at a potential firm. You think the interview has gone well, but days then weeks pass without any update.

These are both examples of being ghosted as a recruitment candidate - and as most people who have been through the same will sympathise, it feels pretty bad. In fact, around 76% of British workers state that they have been ghosted by a potential or current employer in some way - a fact which is pretty damning for companies and recruiters alike.

But it seems that in the world of post-pandemic marketing recruitment, we are seeing the reverse now on the rise - with an increase in candidates ghosting potential employers across every stage of the process.

The reality of ghosting - from the perspective of a marketing recruitment agency

Incredibly, it seems that the higher the rank or position of a candidate or employee, the higher the chances of them ghosting their potential or even current employer - ignoring messages and only responding at a time and in a situation that works for them.

And when we look more closely at the marketing recruitment industry on its own, the reality becomes even more shocking. With the huge rise in job vacancies leading to a saturated market, particularly in marketing where roles and skillsets are constantly changing, it has been reported that around 61% of job seekers are more than willing to ghost and completely ignore a potential employer they hear back from if they aren’t completely taken with the job or opportunity.

Why? Because when the number of jobs outweighs the number of candidates willing or looking to move job roles, the power lies in the hands of the candidates and they can, in short, get away with ghosting and other such behaviours.

As a marketing recruitment agency, we recommend a series of actions for employers to take to try and minimise their exposure to ghosting from candidates - but at the end of the day, it all comes down to meeting their needs and focussing on what will attract loyalty from the very early stages of the recruitment process.

Tips for minimising your exposure to ghosting

Around 25% of candidates cited a negative first impression as the main reason why they might be tempted to ghost a potential employer. What this tells us is that it doesn’t matter how active you are on social media or how innovative your company culture is - if you can’t get the first impression right, you’re turning candidates off before they even receive an offer.

To combat this, it’s important to ensure that every touchpoint is positive and transparent. It is no longer enough to make broad claims about a friendly company and good salary - now is the time to focus on making sure that the vacancy is accurate, that the role is portrayed accurately and realistically, and that candidates are treated with respect from that very first email acknowledgement of their application.

Finally, if you are a company that works with a marketing recruitment agency, use their access to data and their expertise to really understand which roles and which approaches entice candidates, and at which stages those candidates may be dropping out or “ghosting” the company. The recruitment process should be approached as an end-to-end experience, designed to not only attract but retain the interest of candidates.

Big numbers and broad claims are no longer enough - in today’s recruitment climate, you need to stand out for all the right reasons and make yourself and your c