The Reasons Why Candidates “Ghost” During the Hiring Process

by Stacy Pursell, CPC, CERS

The VET Recruiter®

During the past year or so, “ghosting” has become a popular topic in the employment marketplace. Perhaps “popular” isn’t exactly the correct word, though, especially when it comes to employers. That’s because I’m sure that hiring managers in the Animal Health industry and Veterinary practice owners are not enamored with “ghosting” as it relates to hiring.

Before we go too far, let’s pause for a moment and revisit what it means for a candidate to “ghost” during the hiring process. When a candidate “ghosts,” it means that they simply do not show up for something. Below are two of the most common occurrences of “ghosting”:

  1. The candidate does not show up for a phone screen.
  2. The candidate does not show up for a face-to-face interview.

However, it does not stop there. “Ghosting” also includes the following:

  • The candidate disappears once they receive an offer of employment from an organization.
  • The candidate accepts an offer of employment, but they fail to show up for their first day of work.
  • The candidate accepts an offer of employment, shows up for their first day of work, but fails to come back to work after lunch.

These things have happened and continue to happen including sometimes within the Animal Health industry and Veterinary profession. The question is this one: WHY is it happening?

There are a host of specific reasons why candidates are engaging in this practice. But before we address those, I’d like to identify the overall, arching reason why this is happening. That reason is this: we are in a candidates’ job market, and not just any candidates’ job market, either. This is perhaps the most severe candidates’ market that I have ever witnessed, and I have been an Animal Health recruiter and Veterinary recruiter for more than 20 years.

Because of prevailing market conditions, candidates have more options and more leverage than they’ve had in the past. They certainly have more options and leverage since the Great Recession, which began over a decade ago. So keep that reality in mind as we explore this topic.

Below are six reasons why candidates “ghost” during the hiring process:

#1—Your organization is not the candidate’s top choice.

This means the candidate has a list of organizations for which they would like to work, and the one that they eventually “ghosted” on was not near the top of the list. For example, perhaps they scheduled an interview with Company A, but then Company B also called them for an interview and they really like Company B. In fact, Company B is at the top of their list. So they simply do not show up for the interview with Company A and instead focus all of their energy on Company B.

#2—The candidate feels as though the position is a lateral move for them.

Top candidates will rarely move for an opportunity that is not clearly better than the job they currently have. If they don’t believe the job is clearly better, then they ultimately will not make a change for it. This is why Animal Health employers and Veterinary employers must actively “sell” the features and benefits of the opportunity to candidates during the hiring process, and that includes all stages of the hiring process, starting with the job description. You just can’t roll out an ordinary job description or post an online job ad and expect top candidates to come flocking to it. That’s not going to happen, not in this competitive job market.

#3—The candidate doesn’t see any advancement potential within the organization.

In this situation, the candidate does not see any clear career path for themselves. Yes, they had initially considered the opportunity, but at some point, they decided that the employer doesn’t have what they’re looking for. In other words, they don’t believe they can grow their career with the employer.

#4—The candidate is not sure of the company culture.

The candidate must be convinced that the company culture is one in which they can thrive. Once again, this is why I advocate hiring managers and practice owners “selling” both the opportunity and the organization. When it comes to top candidates, there are many things that employers must “sell” to them if they want to secure these candidates’ services.

#5—The candidate is close to accepting an offer of employment with another organization.

Top candidates typically interview with more than one organization, so if they think they’re about to receive an offer from one employer, then they may simply drop out of the hiring process of the other employer. Or employers, plural, if they’re being considered by more than two organizations. They disappear because they think they have an offer “in the bag.”

#6—The candidate is using an interview or an offer of employment from a prospective employer in order to obtain a counter-offer from their current employer.

Yes, this is a deliberate attempt by a candidate to get a counter-offer from their current employer by interviewing with another organization. However, it might not have started that way. The candidate may have thought they were actually ready to leave their current employer, or at the very least, they wanted to see what was available in the marketplace.

So how can Animal Health and Veterinary employers stop these kinds of things from happening? I’ve tackled this question in a previous article, which is titled “How to Combat No-Show Candidates in This Market.” In that article, I listed five things that employers can do in an effort to stop candidates from “ghosting” during the hiring process:

  1. Invest time and energy into the process.
  2. Communicate effectively.
  3. Clearly set expectations.
  4. Respect candidates’ time and confidentiality.
  5. Accurately assess the situation.

Also as I pointed out in that previous article, the role of an experienced Animal Health recruiter or Veterinary recruiter can be critical. That’s because they’re familiar with the dangers and the risks that employers face in this current market. They talk with candidates on a daily basis, including the top candidates in the market. As a result, they have a good idea of what candidates are thinking.

An experienced recruiter can help to combat the “ghosting” phenomenon. They can help you to identify and successfully recruit the best candidates for your open positions, all while minimizing wasted time and effort and maximizing results in the process.

We help support careers in one of two ways: 1.By helping Animal Health and Veterinary professionals to find the right opportunity when the time is right, and 2.By helping to recruit top talent for the critical needs of Animal Health and Veterinary organizations. If this is something that you would like to explore further, please send an email to stacy@thevetrecruiter.com.

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