Ghostbusting Jobseekers Could Gain Edge on Competitors

Article originally posted in The West Australian newspaper.

The term ghosting is becoming increasingly applicable in the Australian job market, with a study by recruitment company Robert Half showing the practice affects both jobseekers and hiring managers.

A term more frequently associated with online dating, ghosting refers to the practice of a party cutting off contact without explanation. In a recent survey, Robert Half found the top three frustrations for Australian job seekers were slow feedback (53 per cent), delayed decision- making (46 per cent) and poor communication from hiring managers (44 per cent) –traits which fall into the ghosting realm.

“While it’s not always possible to identify the exact reasons employers alienate job candidates with poor communication during the recruitment process, possible explanations include avoidance of delivering bad news, sudden changes to recruiting requirements or keeping candidates as a back-up option in case other preferred candidates fall through,” Robert Half Australia Director Andrew Morris said. “Yet from the jobseekers’ perspective, ghosting by employers means they miss out on valuable feedback related to performance and suitability, time and effort is wasted and their confidence sometimes takes a hit.”

Strategic Career Management Director Kendal Drew said she did not believe ghosting was a big issue in Western Australia, and when it did happen it could be down to organisations having limited resources. “It can happen with smaller organisations that may not have a dedicated HR function, or for roles where there are a particularly high number of candidates or inexperienced hirers,” she said.

Ms Drew said ghosting could sometimes be a deliberate tactic on behalf of the recruiter. “It’s important for candidates to appreciate they are being assessed not just on their resume and in the interview, but also on how they journey through the selection process,” she said. “If the company/recruiter is looking for someone who is proactive, persistent and outgoing, they might deliberately ghost candidates to find out which ones will take the initiative to follow up and make contact and show the skills they are looking for.”

Ms Drew said while there was no set-in-stone rule as to how long you should wait to hear back, establishing good communication from the outset was preferable. Mr Morris said ghosting jobseekers could have a bad impact on an organisation’s reputation, and vice versa.

“It’s important both candidates and employers alike understand the impact ghosting can have on their career path and reputation,” he said. “In a digital age where more candidates are sharing their experiences using online review sites, offering no response to candidates after an interview could have long- term consequences such as developing a poor company reputation and inability to attract top talent.

“Similarly, candidates who ghost companies could suffer damage to their professional reputation, which could negatively impact their career if the hiring manager becomes the face of another company the candidate later applies to. “By simply keeping communication lines open and maintaining transparency, employers and candidates alike will avoid burning bridges they may wish to cross in the future.”

Ms Drew highlighted the importance of maintaining appearances with hiring managers. “We’re fortunate this is a small town and it pays to treat people with respect,” she said. “There is always potential for the hirer and candidate to meet again – something that’s worth remembering on both sides of the interview table.”

Author – Rhys Prka

Copyright The West Australian newspaper