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December 5, 2021

Workers are ghosting employers. Here's how companies can combat no-shows

Home health provider Interim HealthCare of the Upstate currently has 51 open positions it's looking to fill. Since September, 17 candidates have canceled their interviews and 20 didn't even show up. Recruitment and retention tends to be difficult in the home health care industry, but it's been even tougher over the last several months. "We […]

Home health provider Interim HealthCare of the Upstate currently has 51 open positions it's looking to fill. Since September, 17 candidates have canceled their interviews and 20 didn't even show up. Recruitment and retention tends to be difficult in the home health care industry, but it's been even tougher over the last several months. "We don't have the leverage in this market. The candidates do," said Rick Silva, Interim HealthCare's recruiting manager.

"Ghosting" isn't new to the job market -- and it happens on both sides. When there are more job seekers than open positions, candidates don't always hear back from recruiters. But in this tight labor market, the job hunters have the advantage.

"Job candidates out there...they have so many options and are in interview processes with multiple companies for multiple positions and once they choose a position, oftentimes they just ghost the other companies that they've been in conversations with," said Josh Howarth, district president overseeing mid-Atlantic teams at staffing firm Robert Half.

He added that ghosting started to increase at the end of last year, and is now happening more than he's seen in his 20-plus years in the industry. "A big piece of it is usually around people not being comfortable saying 'no'; or giving people bad news...it's easier for them to just go dark."

And it's not just the interviews people are skipping out on. Some people are not showing up for their first day of work after accepting an offer. "We are seeing an influx in ghosting across the board," said Jacob Zabkowicz, vice president and general manager of global recruitment process outsourcing at Korn Ferry.

To combat the effects of first day no-shows, Zabkowicz said they are asking client companies to hire more people than they need when they have multiple open positions that are similar."When you are hiring multiple individuals, overhire, and overhire 10% 20%," he said. "We do know that there's going to be those individuals that will be no-shows... [or] that don't pass background check or drug screens."

Speed is crucial

The faster a candidate can get through the interview process and receive an offer, the less less likely employers will lose them to the competition."Speed is always a competitive edge for employers who can respond very quickly after candidates apply and move them through the process quickly," said Scott Bonneau, vice president of global talent attraction at Indeed.com. "Oftentimes being the first one to get an offer out there can be an advantage."Silva has sped up the hiring process at Interim HealthCare of the Upstate, which is located in South Carolina, so that if an offer is extended and accepted on Friday, the new employee can start on Monday."It's a sprint -- we have to do that because if we tell someone that they can't start for another week or two, a lot of bad things can happen," he said.

Keeping them after an acceptance

Getting an acceptance is one thing, getting them to show up is another. "The worst time to lose somebody is after you've identified them and made an offer and you are ready to have them start," said Bonneau from Indeed.

Feeling a sense of connection to a company can help reduce the number of first day no-shows, and more companies are developing welcome committees to help establish relationships before the official onboarding process, according to Zabkowicz.New hires at Interim HealthCare of the Upstate are sent "WOW boxes" with a thank you note, supplies they might need on their first day and some swag."We've made it our single most important priority to make sure that from the time we are interviewing an employee that everybody from the organization -- from myself all the way down -- is engaged to getting that person to show up." said CEO Charles McDonough.

But not showing up at any stage during the hiring process can have long-term effects for job seekers. Yes, they have the upper hand now, but that favor can swing. "We do know that employers are keeping records of this," said Bonneau. "Employers do believe significantly that candidates who ghost -- that is going to have a negative impact on future job searches or their career. I do anticipate there will be some repercussions for some job seekers that are ghosting employers."

Article written by:  Orville Lynch, Jr.
Mr. Lynch, a member of the legendary two-time Ohio Civil Rights Hall of Fame Award winning Lynch Family. Mr. Lynch is a nationally recognized urban media executive with over 20+ years of diversity recruitment and serial entrepreneur with numerous multi-million dollar exits.

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