Professionals are leaving HR on “read”

“You mean they left you on read?” It sounds all too familiar in our dating lives. It’s an example of “ghosting,” the newest method used to end a relationship, or convey that you’re not really interested. It’s reading someone’s message and not responding, well, ever.

Oddly enough, we are beginning to see this in the work force as recruiters are being ghosted by who they thought were potential employees. LinkedIn recently published an article detailing candidates not returning emails, phone calls, and text messages after an interview. Some even went to the extent of accepting a job and not showing up on the first day.

What is causing this lack of communication? One could use the 3.8 percent unemployment rate, the lowest rate in 18 years, as a reason. Qualified professionals are applying and receiving more jobs than they can manage, leading to inevitable denials to employers. Perhaps with the amount of offers candidates are given, they’re not worried about burning bridges or ruining future opportunities.

The style of today’s communication also provides reason for ghosting. Inc. states that our social media and messaging apps have permitted us to create quicker conversations and relationships in a non-committal way. Without ever formally meeting the individual, many do not see the point in formally declining an offer.

Without much else to do, recruiters are beginning to turn to different hiring operations to help curb their problem. Some are learning to continually interview employees for positons, figuring that this may increase their chances of finding a quality candidate. Others overbook interviews, estimating half of candidates will not show, a similar approach we’ve seen in the airline industry.

While this may be how some are beginning to communicate, it’s important to think about how this could affect future opportunities. Employees switch companies and you might end up with the same hiring manager that you ghosted before. Perhaps more commonly is the need to revert back to the company you ghosted.

It’s important to communicate in the workforce, especially because we have more than enough means to do so. Even if you have been ghosted by a recruiter before, be transparent and respectful in how you commit, or deny, your offer.

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Guest bloggers for the TDS Business Blog.

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2 Responses to Professionals are leaving HR on “read”

  1. GS August 23, 2018 at 9:37 am #

    I have to respectively say that I think this article leaves out the number one reason why candidates are “ghosting” recruiters, which is that they’re mimicking the treatment they’ve received from recruiters over the years. Every job seeker has dozens of stories of companies who stopped returning their messages – ever after multiple in-person contacts. Job seekers have, unfortunately, been taught by companies and recruiters that this is the kind of lack of respect that is normal in this relationship.

    What’s most disheartening about this article is the idea that recruiters are looking to address the problem by doing what the airlines do. MORE customer (or candidate, in this case) service is needed – not less!

  2. Rae Ann Rockhill August 30, 2018 at 9:52 am #

    This behavior is just rude, no matter who is doing it. I’ve had potential employers do the same thing, never alerting potential candidates that they’d chosen someone else, even after the candidate had made it through several rounds of interviews.

    To some degree, having candidates reverse the trend can seem like a bit of employers getting a taste of their own medicine, but it’s still bad form to me.

    It doesn’t take a lot of time to send a quick, “Thank you, but I’ve accepted another position,” email. Although I still think it’s more personalized to send handwritten thank yous, in this day and age, we have the technology to make responses easy and free to send.

    And it ought to be even easier for employers to do the same. For years, many position listings have asked candidates to send resumes in a format that can be scanned, which implies the data is being collected in some kind of database/system. So it can’t be too difficult to have an automated workflow set up to send a “Thank you, but we’ve hired another candidate,” email when you mark No on a candidate.

    Although we have more access to communication methods and information than ever before, we seem to have lost one of the reasons we communicate. It’s not just about efficient exchanges of information. It’s also about connecting. Maintaining good relationships isn’t just useful for networking to land that next job, it’s also important once you get that job. And if people on either side of the equation aren’t good communicators that’s going to be tough to do.

    The places I’ve most enjoyed working are those where I am able to have a rapport with my colleagues and supervisors. Businesses and computers may like efficiency, but humans like connection. And, at least right now, we still run both of those other things.

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