Recruiting undercurrents – the things that aren’t being talked about… but should be

July 23rd, 2018 | Industry News

This time we’re focusing on two blog posts that highlight different aspects of the recruiting industry that often go undiscussed. First Pilita Clark writing in the Financial Times about the ‘ghost’ candidates appearing in every industry. Ghosting is the act of disappearing from somebody’s life without warning and without leaving contact details and while it used to be a behaviour related to romantic relationships and friendships, it’s turning up in the workplace too.

But let’s take a step back. Even with employers having the best applicant tracking system UK wide, candidates have often the experience of not hearing back about a job, sometimes even after they’ve been interviewed. Now employers are having facing the same response from candidates that they’ve given to them, it could be seen as poetic justice. But the why of it happening is interesting – there are two different forms of ghosting:

  1. Candidates who disappear after interview, or after being offered a job. Pilita Clark doesn’t seem to recognise the most obvious reason for this action which is simply that a candidate is simply playing their current employer against the potential new one and has no interest in the new job, it’s just a ploy to give them negotiation power
  2. This one is much more interesting. Actual ghost candidates may be constructs related to online scams. One great way to make a believable avatar is to give them an employment profile and these digital personas can be made stronger by having a recruitment history that can be tracked online. Excellent recruitment agency software is the best defence against this kind of digital manipulation.

Then, Stephanie Douglas-Neal has commented on hiring practices in some Australian industries, calling on ‘a vast body of research’ that shows that hiring processes are biased and unfair but because they are unconscious, we – recruiters and employers – don’t understand how they influence our decisions. She relates an anecdotal story: that a recruiting consultant told her that half the applicants for media roles in Australia are from South East Asia but ‘an overwhelming majority of hiring managers’ claim that these applicants are unsuitable because they don’t have local market experience or due to the ‘lack of sophistication in their marketplace’.

Web-based recruitment software does a lot of the work by removing biases and presenting factual evidence about candidate suitability, however, recruitment managers and interviewers also need to focus on their own prejudices by:

  1. Becoming conscious of their own biases
  2. Stripping resumes of demographic information so that specific skills and qualifications alone are highlighted
  3. Testing skill levels with sample tasks before interview.

The best recruitment CRM allows hirers to undertake this kind of blind hiring without having to undertake extra administrative activity.

Why does it matter? Because candidate churn and lack of diversity weaken organisations and the ‘ghosting’ that featured in our first story might also be a response to candidates feeling unable to trust their potential employers.


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