Thanks to the national unemployment rate in United States reaching the 18-year low of 3.8% in June, the lowest the rate has been since April 2000 (it has since risen slightly to 4.0%), there have been more available positions than there are unemployed workers to fill them. However, this flood of job openings has created problems for hiring managers and recruiters trying to attract candidates through the regular routine of the hiring process.
In recent months, it has not just been difficult for some businesses to hire new employees. Instead, a new trend has emerged from applicants: “ghosting.”
Read on to find out exactly what “ghosting” in the job market means, where and why it might be happening, and the best possible way companies and candidates can solve this issue together.
What Is “Ghosting” in the Job Market?
To young adults and teens, “ghosting” essentially means that a person is responding to you by not responding at all. The term is most commonly used in the dating world for when someone wants to break things off with another person without any type of confrontation.
But now it appears that this type of behavior has invaded the job sphere as well. Employers throughout multiple industries, from construction to engineering to nursing, claim that potential new hires of theirs have ghosted them on more than one occasion. In fact, some applicants don’t even do it during the hiring process—they actually wait to ghost the company until their first day on the job.
Businesses will call and email these recruits multiple times. They hope for an answer that will help them understand, but more often than not, they receive no response, no form of explanation for what went wrong or why the candidate suddenly did not want the job.
Obviously, being ghosted has left many of these recruiters and hiring managers confused and upset. So what’s the reason behind this new ghosting trend? Is there even one?
Why Are Candidates Ghosting Businesses?
There’s no universal reason as to why candidates ghost companies. In reality, it’s most likely a combination of factors.
As mentioned above, the sheer amount of available positions definitely plays a role in why job seekers ghost businesses. If they get an offer from another company, an offer with more pay or with better benefits and vacation time, they are obviously going to fill that vacancy instead.
But where does this complete lack of contact come from? Some believe it may be behavior that applicants learned from employers over the years when the job market was harsher.
For a long time now, those looking for work have come to expect no response from companies after sending in their applications. They would only hear from businesses if they wanted them to take the next step in the hiring process.
Now some people suggest that candidates have adopted that type of behavior. If they’re no longer interested in a job, just like an employer in the past was no longer interested in hiring them, why should they have to reach out? Individuals looking for work can view that as a double-standard.
Solutions to the Problem
There are a couple different solutions to the problem of ghosting, but the most important one can come from job candidates and it’s simple: communicate. It doesn’t take too much time or effort to call a company and let them know that you’re no longer interested in a position or that you’ve found another one with a different business. It’s a matter of decency and respect, and it will benefit you down the line if you ever end up encountering that particular recruiter or hiring manager later in life when applying for a new job.
Businesses can also help solve this issue by speeding up their hiring processes so that candidates aren’t simply waiting around to hear from them. This type of streamlined process is more efficient and advantageous in such a competitive job market.
Also, companies can try to find different types of job perks to try to incentivize applicants. Make every potential new hire feel like more than just a name and a resume. Make them feel like an essential, contributing member of your workplace community.
It’s unclear just how long this ghosting trend will continue. If unemployment numbers remain as low as they are now, it might just be an annoyance that recruiters and hiring managers have to deal with when searching for the most qualified employees.
If this problem is going to be resolved, though, it will require both businesses and applicants working together in a clear, respectful way.
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