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Candidate ‘Ghosting’ Hurts Your Employer Brand

Urban Dictionary describes ghosting as “The act of suddenly ceasing all communication with someone the subject is dating, but no longer wishes to date. This is done in hopes that the ‘ghostee’ will just ‘get the hint’ and leave the subject alone, as opposed to the subject simply telling them that they are no longer interested.”

The recruiting-world equivalent of “ghosting” is when a candidate goes through the interview process, and the recruiter ceases communication with the interviewee without any explanation. And no the “thanks but we hired someone else” perfunctory email sent to the candidate four months later doesn’t make up for it. That’s the recruiting-world equivalent of the “It’s not you, it’s me” lame excuse.

Urban Dictionary goes on to state, “Ghosting is not specific to a certain gender and is closely related to the subject's maturity and communication skills.”

Interviews don’t just take up time and energy on the company’s side. They are an investment of time and effort on the candidate’s part as well. A “mature” company that cares about its people (and by extension its candidates), communicates well not only when scheduling interviews, but also when they’ve decided to end the recruiting “relationship” with a candidate.

Communicate Well with a Customized Message

I once went through the interview process for a high-level marketing position with a Chicago-based technology firm. This process consisted of the original screening call, an hour-long phone interview with the head of sales and then a full day of one-on-one interviews with various members of the executive team (for which I used a vacation day). Feeling very positive, I left their offices with the assurance that the recruiter would let me know “next steps” within the next two weeks.

That was almost four years ago, and all I ever heard was nada… zilch… didley-squat. Not even a cowardly “It’s not you, it’s me” email about how wonderful I am but someone else was more “qualified.” You can bet I’ve shared my thoughts about that experience on the company’s Glassdoor page.

And why wouldn’t I complain about them on Glassdoor?  Could they possible be more blatant in their arrogance and disregard for candidates? Imagine how they treat people who’ve accepted their employment offers.

People love to blab about their bad experiences, and as the aforementioned story can attest, I’m one of them. A Dimensional Research/Zen Desk study revealed that “95% of respondents who have had a bad experience said they told someone about it, compared to 87% who shared a good experience.”

Just because the recruiter has decided to go quiet on the candidate doesn’t mean the candidate will reciprocate and go mum. In fact it’s unlikely. Make a regular practice of candidate ghosting, and it won’t take long for it to have an effect on your employer brand and reputation.

Candidates are Customers Too

“The customer is always right” is an expression that’s been around forever and ever for a reason. Customers buy your stuff, which keeps salaries paid and the lights on, so try your best to make them happy. It’s also why companies put so much effort into customer service training. It’s always fascinated me that companies can invest so much in sophisticated customer service training and programs to ensure an outstanding “customer experience,” but then drop the ball on candidate communications. Candidates ARE customers.

My husband once used a vacation day to interview with a large auto insurance company. After a 45 minute drive to the company’s headquarters, he sat down with the same recruiter who had originally reviewed his resume and invited him to interview.  She scanned his resume again (the exact same resume she felt qualified him for the role) and asked him, “Don’t you have xyz experience?”

“No,” he responded.

“Oh, you’re not qualified for this job,” she said as she cut off the interview.

You can bet that if this was the last car insurance company on earth, we’d gladly risk driving uninsured. They didn’t just hurt their employer brand, now they are hurting sales.

Recruiting “Closure”

Writing a custom note thanking a candidate for his/her time and perhaps providing a brief explanation about the decision to part ways is the right thing to do. It allows an applicant to move on and invest energy in other opportunities. Not to mention a job change is a major life event. The candidate could be waiting to make vacation plans or start those needed home repairs because it depends on the timing of a new potential job. Don’t leave them hanging.

The message doesn’t have to be a novel, but something that’s obviously not a form letter. Sending a courteous note demonstrates that you honor and value the time he/she has invested in exploring a potential work partnership. 

Plus you never know when this candidate might be perfect for something urgent that comes up. It’s a small world after all… and Glassdoor is only a URL away. 


Sending Out An SMS: Recruiting Texts From Last Night

This article originally appeared on Recruiting Daily.

In recruiting we spend a whole lot of time talking about striking the balance between automation and personalization, and how best to blend high tech with high touch. But for all the talk about email blasts, talent communities and employer branding, for some reason it seems like we’re all ignoring what seems to be a pretty obvious solution to what’s become a fairly endemic problem in talent acquisition today.

Imagine if a new SaaS product came out today that could guarantee a 90% open rate within three minutes of being sent. You’d probably pay whatever it takes to get your hands on what sounds to be a silver bullet for sourcing and candidate development.

I mean, 9 out of 10 candidates read my message within three minutes, I’m pretty sure we’d all throw obscene amounts of cash in whatever vendor could confidently make that guarantee – those response rates, after all, are pretty much unheard of in traditional talent acquisition technology.

Seriously. Name your price.

Why Text Marketing Crushes Social Recruiting
The thing is that product already exists, and you’re probably already using it; it’s called texting, and several studies support the fact that texts are by far the best way to make sure your message gets heard by the right person at the right time, in real time, all the time.

With an open rate ranging from between 90-99%, and with 9 out of 10 texts being read within three minutes of being received, the most powerful weapon in mobile recruiting may have been sitting there on your phone this entire time.

How many millions of dollars, after all, have companies spent to buy up followers and friends on Twitter or Facebook simply so that they can have the capability to get their brand message out to hundreds of thousands of people who could care less about your sponsored story, in the unlikely event they’d actually see it?

It’s easy to forget, but the reason Twitter is capped at 140 characters is because it was developed based off the SMS (that’s short message system) limit of 160 characters; Twitter caps user names out at 20 characters, thereby splitting the difference and establishing a whole new form of communication that’s never betrayed its origins as an SMS service. Texts were the entire point of tweeting, once upon a time not all too long ago.

Still not convinced? Well, let me try the old peer pressure approach: everyone’s doing it! Last year, users around the world sent an estimated 200 billion Tweets, a big number dwarfed by the deluge of an estimated 7.2 TRILLION text messages sent globally in 2015 alone.

That statistic alone should convince you of the need for using texting for talent acquisition. Think about the sheer volume of data represented in those 7.2 trillion texts (and counting) we send every year. It’s mind blowing, really, and it’s fairly safe to say that texting has become the predominate form of human communication in the 21st Century.

Don’t worry. It’s not a sign of the Apocalypse. It’s actually a pretty incredible opportunity to transform your applicant acquisition and candidate engagement strategies to be more efficient, and effective, than ever before.

Recruiting Texts: High Touch Meets High Tech
I know what you’re probably thinking. Sure, you send lots of texts, but those are personal messages, not professional ones. Am I right? That’s kind of the whole point of recruiting, if you’re doing it right.

That said, the perception that SMS communication is entirely driven by individual users isn’t completely accurate. According to a Pure360 report from 2013, 54% of US consumers receive at least one branded SMS message daily, and 50% of those who receive branded texts at some point convert into actual buyers. That’s right – fully half of those potential prospects actually closed due directly to a branded text message.

I have to believe that, three years after this original study, that the reach and ROI demonstrated by such successful texting trial runs have made this marketing approach even more prevalent, with the volume of brand-based texts skyrocketing to the point of ubiquity in 2016.

What limited data there happens to be available on current consumer trends support this belief. But for some reason, even as marketing departments embrace texting, recruiters are well behind the professional adoption curve on a technology almost all of us are already using for personal purposes, never thinking that maybe, just maybe, that silver bullet might have been in their hands this entire time.

This shouldn’t be a surprise, as recruiters are often late adopters, but this is one trend no talent pro can afford to miss.

Consider the question of where, exactly, you’d find candidate cell phone numbers to call if you were starting a search today. I’m going to guess it’s your ATS. Even in the few cases where a candidate’s cell phone number isn’t a required field, almost every resume in there is going to have their direct cell number prominently posted right at the top of the page.

If you’re not finding what you’re looking for there, I’d look at tools like ZoomInfo, Netprospex, Prophet or Spokeo. If your candidate has a cell phone, there’s a good chance the number is accessible on one of these profile aggregators, which makes building a lead list for texting campaigns far easier than trying to test a bunch of email matrixes to find out what address to start spamming.

Converting Contacts Into Candidates With Text Messaging: A Case Study
OK, so you’ve got a bunch of cell numbers. Now, most of the time, you’d probably start straight cold calling through your lead list, but this is where the true power of texting truly comes in. Chances are the only way you know how to send texts is through your cell phone, and if you’re like me, there’s no way you’re giving that number out like candy to candidates.

Good news: there’s actually an app for that. TextMe is a free recruiting tool that allows users to generate a random number for sending anonymous texts. While you’ll receive responses directly to your phone, you’ll hear a different tone to let you know whether or not it’s from a candidate. Pretty cool, right?

So, what more can I say? If you know how to cold call, the rules of the recruiting road still hold true when it comes to approaching text messaging. As evidence, I’ve got an actual example that I used with my team at Hudson. Contact information has been hidden to protect the innocent.

And just like that, what would have been a wasted InMail turned into an actual phone interview easier than if they’d actually replied directly on LinkedIn, where we had originally connected. Now, I know what some of you in the back of the room are probably thinking: “phones are for calling (or sourcing) – they’re certainly not for texting!” If that’s what you really think, well, all I can say is, think again. In fact, there are a few things wrong with that mindset that seem to be fairly self-evident.

First, calling and texting aren’t mutually exclusive; second, while I still believe that you can’t replicate the connection you can make with a candidate over the phone, when it comes to sourcing, the number of recruiters actually making cold calls has plummeted precipitously.

As the old adage says, “you can’t change the wind, but you can adjust your sails.”


Growing Your Business? Start by Knowing What Talent You Need and When

Workforce Planning

How do you build a case for workforce planning? Start by working smart.

Take a good, hard look at your business: Is your company always in reaction mode, unable to garner resources in time to make the most of a new market opportunity? Or are you constantly scrambling to fill key staffing gaps, often at a significant cost and not getting the best hires? Is your staff worn down because they’re always doing extra work covering for vacant roles? There’s got to be a better way and robust workforce planning is the first step.

Workforce planning is a strategic process useful for organizations to help them anticipate their future resourcing needs. A Workforce Plan aligns with the business’s strategic plan and lays out the staff numbers, locations, roles and capabilities that will be required to meet it. It also outlines how to attract and recruit the staff which will help the company achieve its medium or long-term goals, as well as how to tap into obvious and hidden pools of internal talent.

Building your business case
If workforce planning sounds like it would add value to your company, you might be keen to get started. However, because workforce planning is not a quick fix and needs to be aligned to the company’s business plan, you will need input and support from senior leaders in your company to make it successful. The first step will be to build a compelling business case to bring key stakeholders on the journey.

A great way to do that is to show some powerful metrics. For example, if the business finds it is taking too long to fill critical open positions, then it is possible to show how this high “time to fill” is adversely impacting the financial results of the company by way of missed revenues. Showing how revenue can be increased can provide a pretty compelling argument.

To calculate missed revenues, start by choosing a few roles where it’s easy to measure the value of 30 days of revenue-generating work (sales roles are often a good option). You can easily look at expected revenue from each sales resource and then extrapolate out the missed revenue by not filling that role. Remember, the value of those 30 days is what you will ‘earn’ by filling that role 30 days faster. Next, determine how many of these roles require filling each year. Multiply this by the 30 days figure to arrive at a hard-to-ignore revenue impact.

Alternatively, you may look at the additional costs you are incurring by not having a proper Workforce Plan, such as the cost of over-using recruitment agencies or search firms to fill jobs. The cost-per-hire difference between you filling a job yourself (via your in-house recruitment team or RPO partner) versus the cost of doing so via a search firm can be large and may be significantly reduced with a robust Workforce Plan tied to the right resourcing plan and model.

Sometimes the cost of turnover can be included in your business case, especially where turnover is caused by a lack of internal career development opportunities, unmanageable workload or the wrong people being hired in the first place, as all of these problems can be addressed by the right Workforce Plan.

Bring key players on the journey
Once the business case is complete, you need to find the most appropriate person to present it to the Executive Team to build their buy-in and support. Typically this is the HRD or CFO. If the business case is done well, then adopting your recommendations should be an easy decision.

Once you have approval and enter the implementation phase, it is absolutely critical that the plan is kept live and relevant by regular contact with senior executives to ensure any changes to strategies are understood and reflected in the Workforce Plan. Without this, HR’s role of ensuring a Workforce Plan matches the future plans of leadership simply isn’t possible. Your CEO also needs to back the process, sending a signal across the business that workforce planning is both essential and valued.

While it is ideal to create a Workforce Plan that is truly company wide as it leverages talent and synergies across the entire business, this may not be possible for businesses embarking on this for the first time. In these instances you may have to focus your energies initially in one business division to prove the concept before expanding the plan and actions across the entire organization.

If there’s a mantra for those implementing a Workforce Plan, it should be: “Do something.” Don’t feel it’s vital to tackle the entire organization in one pass – this can often lead to the conclusion that the process is too hard. Your plan doesn’t need to be 100 percent perfect, but it does need to provide a practical guide for HR activities that are aligned with your business’s strategic objectives.

Sure, it can feel slow. And yes, you may strike resistance along the way from those wanting instant solutions. But stick with it: the pay-off will come when you have the best talent in the market, exactly where and when you need them, ready to seize every opportunity.

Download Hudson's Workforce Planning paper





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Hudson is a global talent solutions company. We help transform the workplace and unleash the full potential of organizations and individuals. Our expert team and proprietary tools provide you with unique insights and services that help you maximize your success. Across 20 countries, we deliver a range of recruitment, talent management and recruitment process outsourcing solutions to get you and your business where you want to be.