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Wednesday, 17 July 2019

Ghosting busting

I noticed an article a few weeks ago with a topic along the lines of 'Ghosting; an increasing trend in recruitment.'

The crux of the article was that many HR departments and recruiters are increasingly distraught and perplexed by candidates who having been successful and offered jobs are not responding to the offers. They, the candidates, fail to make any further contact.
They are ghosting.

(If you haven't come across this term before it means the ending of all communication without explanation.)

My immediate thought was 'Recruiters and HR you poor dears, how awful.'

I lie. 

My first reaction was to snort with derision, laugh out loud and then think...well I won't write what I actually thought as this is a public forum but as, a general synopsis of my position, my sympathies do not lie with those of HR or Recruiters. At all.

What, I want to ask many HR teams or Recruiters is, 'Are you ignorant or inept?' Incidentally the two are not mutually exclusive and you can be both. Simultaneously.

For many job applicants the job search and application process goes like this;

Spend many hours looking for suitable jobs.
Create resume/CV

And repeat, and repeat.

What is it with organisations who cannot be bothered with the simple courtesy of acknowledging job applications and, if the candidate is not successful, sending them an email telling them exactly that?

I ask the question again Recruiters/HR. Are you ignorant or inept?' Or both.

Many of these organisations bang on about 'their people are their greatest asset' until, of course they aren't and redundancies are announced. Then it's a whole different approach to those assets, mainly along the lines of 'you still here then?'

Organisations write job opportunities in breathless terms. 'A unique and exciting opportunity...we want someone passionate about...a vibrant company to work for' and so on. They naturally want to attract candidates of the highest calibre for the role.

For serious candidates it's then a case of researching the organisation and crafting their resume/CV and submission. This is not a trivial task. The process can be complicated by different organisations having on-line application systems where you have to create accounts, log in, enter all your information and supporting narrative in different ways each time. 

And then...
You hear nothing more and have to assume, at some point, the application isn't going anywhere. Is that time one week, three weeks, a month, two months? For example last year, a company that is in the 'Sunday Times Best Employers to work for', failed to respond to my application and then, after 6 months, emailed me and called me for an interview with 48 hours notice with no explanation. Do you think that impressed me?

Job aggregator sites have a huge role to play in this as well. You've probably used one, let's not mention names but indeed you will have. They often have a 'responsive employer' mark to indicate the prospective employer will give you an answer. They will? They do? Well I'm not sure what time span they they use as a SLA as I'm still waiting for even one of them to get back to me.

Now, recruiters and HR may whinge and get defensive and say that they have hundreds of candidates and they can't respond to each and every one. 

To which I say to all of this, to be polite, nonsense.

It is not difficult to let candidates know the outcome, it really isn't.

First of all, and this is totally FREE, put in the original job advert 'If you haven't heard from us within X amount of time from submitting your application we are sorry but you haven't been successful.' Amazing. You can manage candidates' expectations for zero cost.

Secondly it does not require any new equipment or software. I take it you have a PC, Excel and Outlook? You are good to go. In fact it is extremely easy to create a database of applicants for a role and send out a mail merge saying 'Sorry you didn't make the cut.' If you are struggling, I'll show you how. Pay me and I'll do if for you. And please don't go on about 'we don't have the staff to do this' either as that falls firmly into the 'ignorant' and 'rude' category. If you are asking people to spend time applying, and if you want the most able candidates, you should, at the very least, manage your end of the process with corporate grace, style and humility. 

Thirdly, if you have an on-line application portal, then for the love of god, activate the rejection process. I have, in a major employer's application portal (and this organisation aspires to be in the 'Best Employer' category) an application from over 2 years ago that is still 'Currently under review.' There's being thorough in a review but 2+ years seems excessive. I know that their system has a built in template for rejections for jobs. So press the button someone. 

I could name names, and I sure many of you could too, of those organisations who have acted like I describe, act like I describe. And I don't understand why they seem to be content to appear to be ignorant, inept or both to the very people they are trying to recruit. And, should you fail to be chosen (which in my case clearly demonstrates a woeful lack of ability and imagination of behalf of the recruiter) then that leaves a sour taste for those who were ghosted.

I am not condoning ghosting from either the applicant or recruiters/HR. There has to be respect shown by both for the process and for the effort involved. However it does seem to be poetic justice that the very people who have perpetrated ghosting on candidates for so long now are complaining it's happening to them. 

Nope, still can't feel any sympathy.

For both candidate and organisation I ask that you always show mutual respect during the process. 

It's a small world and you may meet again in different circumstances.

Don't let that ghosting come back to haunt you.

The list of ghosting organisations I've encountered is a very long one but let me name a number who have demonstrated best practice in the recent past. 

Birmingham University
The UK Civil Service
Red Snapper
Royal Shakespeare Company
Thames Valley Police

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