Here’s how employers can avoid the increasing risk of workplace ghosting

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Therapist Sally Baker explains how genuine human interaction is key for employers to avoid recruitment ghosting.

Ghosting is a term that originated in the world of dating and specifically online dating where people might be more likely to hedge their bets and be communicating online with several potential suitors before making their romantic choice.

In the early stages of online getting-to-know-one-another, technology acts as both a facilitator and a barrier to healthy communications. It is the same dynamic that people feel gives them permission to behave badly whilst driving even though they would be less likely to ever behave in the same way in face to face situations.

When you’re ghosted you’re unceremoniously dropped — and usually blocked — from all previous ways of communicating. This happens without warning in most cases and without recourse to an explanation and that can feel extremely distressing and confusing.

Ghosting is now showing up in the workplace, as increasing numbers of job candidates suddenly block all communications with their potential employer during the latter stages of negotiation.

In India, talent is in the ascendency and skilled candidates are in demand. About 35% of potential hires end with the candidate ghosting themselves from the talent acquisition pipeline. That means that out of every ten hires, about three to four people ghost their potential employer.

The cost of ghosting

In the workplace, ghosting has a price. It wastes money and time invested in a recruitment process, but how businesses handle this provides some interesting interchangeable strategies for the world of dating.

Businesses are recalibrating their approach to corporate formality by increasing the number of contact points in their recruitment process. Human resource experts are of the view that a mix of technology-led interventions and regular human interactions could be a solution.

Building connections

This new approach means that the recruitment of a new employee from the acceptance letter onwards will take a more holistic approach and include a reference to the softer aspects of the candidate’s life, including profession of their spouse and permanent residence considerations among others.

They will also use the past incidence of where ghosting happened in the recruitment process to implement a contact point to reinforce the connection.

Checking in with regular phone calls more effective to determine if a candidate is still interested in the job role

It can take weeks, sometimes even months for a large corporation to put in place all the minutiae required before a start date can even be set, so it’s important to ensure the candidate is kept ‘warm’ and isn’t tempted by other offers.

Checking in with regular phone calls more effective to determine if a candidate is still interested in the job role. Any signs of weakening interest from a potential hire can hopefully be countered early by communicating and reinforcing the company’s commitment to the candidate.

Getting the candidate to come in for an informal meet up after the job offer has been made gives would-be employers a chance to observe body language as well as how enthusiastic a potential hire is. This can give them an idea of whether they will ‘ghost’ the company.

Again, reinforcing connection means that people behave better with each other making ghosting less of a problem.

Workplace ghosting also happens within internal communications and can cause an unsettling train of reactions for the person being ghosted and ignored. The emotions this may spark can follow an arc similar to that of grief, beginning with feelings of shock and denial through to overwhelming sadness.

Initially, a person can feel confused and even doubt that they are being ghosted so keep making repeated and sometimes more intense efforts to contact the person. It’s not unusual for the ghosted person to feel excessive and increasing levels of anguish as the whole scenario of being sidelined keeps being played over and over in their mind.

Avoid multiple communication platforms

The idea that multiple communication platforms in the workplace are an aid to improved communications has become the accepted wisdom of the day, but the reality is very different. If you are reliant on multiple platforms, accept this is far from ideal and that you could encounter ghosting.

In all communication, only use tech platforms such as email for minimal logistical information. For example, what time and location the meeting will take place.

What the majority of these platforms have in common is that they are reductive from the optimum form of communication which is face to face, eye to eye, preferably in the same room.

Anything else is a compromise and provides the connection gap that encourages people to behave disrespectfully. This brings me neatly back to the world of dating where a connection is even more vital to minimise the distress of relationship ghosting.

A few guidelines can really make a difference to the quality of connection you have with a potential suitor or whether you are considered just another disposable candidate in the ‘talent acquisition pipeline’ to use the corporate parlance.

In all communication, only use tech platforms such as email for minimal logistical information. For example, what time and location the meeting will take place. Nothing nuanced. Nothing that can be misunderstood.

Establish clear lines of expectation concerning a reply and feedback framework. Agree when to be in touch again as part of each communication. If this is in place, you’ll know quickly if the other person is reliable or not.

Convert from online communication to real life, eye to eye meeting preferably in the same room as soon as possible.

Corporate companies are increasingly acknowledging the role of soft-skills within the workplace including how to improve their recruitment process of valuable candidates. If your company is ready to utilities this approach to create and reinforce connection and unsure where to begin then book an obligation free discovery call via the link on this page.

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