Ghosting isn’t just for dating anymore. 4 out of 10 employers have reported a recent rise in job candidate “ghosting,” which is when applicants stop communicating and responding to employers without any explanation. In fact, other reports show that 85% of Gen Z job seekers have ghosted an employer or potential employer, and with recruiting and hiring costs only increasing as time goes on, this trend means a good amount of lost revenue for your company.
Not only is the average cost per hire in 2023 close to $4000, but the time it takes to find, recruit, and interview applicants can be up to 100 hours in the best case scenario. If candidates continue to ghost your recruiters and hiring managers, you will not only waste time and resources that could be dedicated to other tasks, but your business will also miss out on valuable hires, which is devastating for your business during these competitive times.
Although 61% of employers assume that candidates ghost because they already accepted a different position, it’s actually more complicated than that. 31% of job candidates ghost because the recruiter or hiring manager was rude or lied to them about some part of the position. In 29% of cases, Gen Z candidates ghosted because the company simply took too long to get back to them. In short, Gen Zers aren’t ghosting because they got another offer, they’re ghosting because they’re fed up with the application process.
It’s obvious that trying to prevent Gen Z candidates from ghosting requires your business to understand their mindsets. But how can you keep candidates onboard while also making sure you aren’t wasting money on unnecessary resources? Let’s dive in.
How to Prevent Gen Z from Ghosting
There are four main reasons a Gen Z candidate may ghost your recruiters, and by addressing each of these concerns, not only will you be able to ensure that Gen Zers continue with their application, but also increase your ability to retain them in the long run.
50% of ghosting happens during the interview process. This means that most candidates ghost because they changed their minds during an interview or because they did more research on your company after the fact. This is also the most common stage in the hiring process where candidates feel recruiters also ghost. 55% of graduates and 42% of non-graduates claim they were ghosted by employers.
Gen Z already has the leverage to ask for things like high pay or flexible work, and although they aren’t afraid to reject an offer if the position or benefits aren’t what they expect them to be, they typically know how to be polite. However, if you aren’t clear about the full hiring process, and candidates feel like they’re being ghosted, they’ll ghost you right back.
Make sure to be upfront about what the offer entails and what the general hiring timeline looks like. Use job platforms that support the transparency of the process with candidates, from listing out your company profile, to informing candidates about the specific skills they need in order to be in serious consideration and eventually hired. By allowing candidates to prepare beforehand, you can get a better batch of candidates who truly have the skills you need in a potential employer. And even if a candidate isn’t selected, being upfront about the rejection gives a good impression for the future and allows your brand to become more favorable among Gen Z.
If TikTok is any indication (and it is), Gen Z prefers a more immediate response, and the “one-click-apply” button is direct proof of it. Candidates now have the ability to apply to tens, or even hundreds, of jobs in a day, and if they aren’t selected, they can quickly move on to the next opening. Most Gen Zers believe that the entire hiring process is currently outdated and slow, so if you can’t match their speed, then you aren’t a competitive candidate for their employment.
As a business, you will not only have to screen candidates quickly, but also go through your full hiring process, from interviewing, communicating with HR, and onboarding the applicant, before your competitors do. Therefore, you need the right hiring software or workflow in place that allows you to cut down the time-to-hire. Choosing a great Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) is a good start to streamline this process, but even the best software can’t overcome the bottleneck of the interview process. Make sure your hiring team is quick to schedule interviews with your top candidates, and even quicker in the decision-making process.
Overall, businesses need to connect with Gen Z through the way they themselves communicate. Conducting your hiring over text messages is no longer “unprofessional;” rather, it’s the way Gen Z prefers to communicate because it’s fast and personal. Also, using better ATS integration also allows you to screen candidates better, while also retaining the “one-click-apply” procedure Gen Z loves.
Create a Human Connection
Between applying for jobs on various platforms like Workday and being inundated with rejection email after rejection email, today’s job application process can feel like an impersonal numbers game. And unlike what employers may assume, Gen Z desires a human touch to the hiring process.
If an average job has 250 applicants, only 3-4 of them will be called for an interview, meaning that it’s very unlikely that candidates will get to see a single human face throughout the entire process. To differentiate your business from competitors, reach out to Gen Z applicants in the way they want. Post videos of your office spaces or introduce the recruiter with a short interview. All this works to humanize your brand, and seem much more authentic to young adults who seek these qualities out in businesses. Even if a candidate ultimately isn’t selected, these personal touches allow you to express your company culture to attract Gen-Z employees.
You can also allow Gen Z candidates to be more personal as well, whether that's through a short video introduction or a screening call, which facilitates your recruiting process as well. Soft skills like communication or confidence can’t be proven on a resume, even if a candidate may list it, so observing a candidate's behavior on an initial video screening can help you easily read a candidate’s personality and endear your brand to each candidate who may have multiple competing offers. Often, the company that can create a personal connection with the best Gen Z candidate will win out.
Build an Attractive Brand
With Gen Z being the generation with the largest social media presence, it’s clear that businesses will need to market themselves on these channels in order to meet Gen Z where they are at. 29% of Gen Z job seekers say that social media platforms like TikTok or Youtube have been very helpful in their job search. Therefore, a greater focus is needed on making sure your business is well represented online.
Your social channels can also help filter out the candidates who wouldn’t mesh with your company culture as well. With Gen Zers only recently emerging in the workforce, their expectations may be too high. No one has really told them how long the interview process takes or how much an entry-level job might pay. By building an online presence showcasing your day-to-day, you will be able to curb these expectations, decreasing the likelihood of candidates being dissatisfied during the application process or with your brand as a whole.
We’ve already established that Gen Z has a lot of options. However, if you are able to express a strong company culture that fosters diversity, which Gen Z highly values, then your offer will be more competitive. If Gen Z candidates truly want to work at your company, then you might have the leeway to take a bit more time in selecting a candidate.
The best examples of companies that have built strong brands online with Gen Z are Netflix and Google. Their substantial reputation, combined with easily accessible resources such as video interviews or application guides, allow them to be better connected with new applicants. They also are transparent online, whether it’s through posting YouTube Shorts or TikToks, increasing awareness and understanding of their own brand. Ultimately, the stronger the brand is to Gen Z, the more applicants you’ll earn, as well as more elasticity in your hiring timeline as they will be more hesitant to ghost a brand they love.
In short, apply the Golden Rule and treat candidates the way you want your business to be treated. Answer their questions and be clear about deadlines or requirements. If you’re open to conversation and maintain a strong connection, instead of searching for applicants, Gen Zers will be lining up to apply for a role at your company.
It’s not easy building a Gen Z-friendly brand that draws in job applicants. PathMatch can help connect your brand with young professionals to help bring your company into this new era. Learn more here.