There is a puzzling trend around candidates seemingly not taking a job application seriously at the moment. Why is it that in recent months there has been a marked increase in the number of applicants for job roles but a corresponding decrease in take-up for interviews and the rest of the employment process?
Why do candidates sometimes ‘ghost’?
There always has been a certain level of what we shall, for the sake of politeness, call disengagement with a vacancy. Sometimes a candidate will simply drop their application with an unexplained ‘not interested anymore’ or by completely ignoring any further contact. It used to be that the latter was quite unusual, but recently it has become noticeably more common. To be honest, it is frustrating and a little unprofessional, to say the least. So, actually, let’s not call it disengagement after all, let’s give it a more accurate name. Ghosting.
Ghosting is where a candidate simply vanishes and ignores any further contact, and it seems to be common throughout the recruitment world. We would take it personally, but it seems to be happening to practically all recruiters and even to employers as well. So, what is causing this change and what are the consequences?
Is it too easy to apply?
Everyone here feels that this may well be a major cause of ghosting. Job boards, social media and the generally high number of vacancies may well be encouraging an attitude where applying is taken less seriously. At one point in the not-too-distant past, candidates would need to make much more effort to apply for a job. With the current advances in technology, though, it can now be a simple matter of looking at a job board and then a few mouse clicks. A process that once required planning, strategy, and time to complete, can now be done on the train home. What once meant looking for a suitable post, now arrives in your LinkedIn notifications with a tempting little button marked ‘easy apply’ for your convenience.
Don’t get me wrong, I am all in favour of making the process of applying easy for everyone, but applying for a new role really shouldn’t be a throw-away experience. If you change your mind and ghost your application, you are not being serious or applied about your career. That is really not a mindset you want to be in, is it?
A bad day is now enough
Following on from the above point, we can’t help but think that this may also be a perspective issue sometimes. A bad day at work, or even a couple in a row, isn’t necessarily a reason to look for a new job. However, when you are sitting on your commute and your phone pings with a potential opportunity after a couple of stressful days, it’s tempting to apply. It’s so easy now to send in that application that there is a level of what we can perhaps think of as revenge applications. You are annoyed at your employer, so you apply for another job. While I understand how that could happen, and you may even, in the heat of the moment, mean to follow up, it’s really not helping you. If you want to look at a new position, talk to us before you go randomly applying. Rather than just responding to your bad day, take a breath, arrange to speak to us and let’s see what your options actually are.
There are plenty of jobs so I may as well enquire
There are certainly a lot of vacancies around at the moment, and that means more temptation to apply. However, applying is not the same as making a general enquiry. We have had some applicants tell us that they applied just to get a bit more information or because they thought ‘may as well, I don’t need to follow up’. This is simply not the right way to do things. If you want to know more about a position, ask us. We are happy to talk to you about a job and help you decide if you want to go any further with it. Even if, on reflection, you decide against a particular role, we may know about others that could well be perfect for you.
It doesn’t matter if I ghost the application
It does. It really, really does. By applying, you set the wheels in motion, and people start to allocate time and effort to your application. The recruiter and sometimes the employer will be spending time on you. There is a cost attached as well, but that isn’t the biggest frustration. Recruiters don’t do their jobs solely for the money; they genuinely want to help your career. So please let them know if you are no longer interested because otherwise, they could be spending time on you instead of helping someone else into their perfect job.
The message here is this; just because you can do a thing doesn’t mean you should do it. No matter how easy the application process has become, please think before you apply and please only apply if you intend to actually consider the role. If you want more information or need to discuss things, then we are here to help you. All we ask is that you don’t ghost us and just let us know if you decide against continuing.
Rather than just apply for anything that looks interesting, call us and let’s talk about your career potential. It will make things better for you and help your career move on.