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In recent years ghosting describes an unsettling end to a relationship–a friend or someone you are dating who suddenly disappears without any explanation at all. Almost like they are dead and never coming back! 

 The “ghosting” phenomenon has made its way into the business world, acknowledged now even by the Federal Reserve as an official “labor market trend.” 

It describes job applicants who blow off an interview or even their first day on the job; and then ignore phone calls, e-mails, and texts trying to track them down. 

So where in the world did these ungrateful workers learn a tactic so disruptive and so rude?

Many learned from the shabby way employers treated them during the recession that started in 2007. When unemployment numbers soared to 10 percent, many companies blew off anxious job applicants, and never followed up after interviews. 

Let’s be honest, ignoring human beings who have invested many hours on applications, phone calls, and in-person interviews is a really bad look for a company’s reputation.

Now, with the tables turned because of record low unemployment, job seekers are, unfortunately, returning the same disrespect.

Our friend Cary Smith, the founder of Dentist Secure, is a pro at keeping ghosts away from his clients. Recruiting is complex work, and the right preparation pays off long term. 

Smith, who has also recruited for Motorola, Cigna, and The Hartford, advises these strategies before posting a job.

Identify the values you are looking for. Give candidates a clear reason that choosing your practice is the right career move for them. Hiring has long- term benefits and consequences, so put in the time upfront to make sure you’ll be investing in the right candidate.  That starts with crafting a compelling ad that clearly defines your office mission, core values, and what you expect of a valued team member.

Before you even schedule a one on one interview, be sure a candidate is committed. Don’t let the leaders in your practice find out about possible new hires as an afterthought, get their input when you think you’ve identified a good match. 

Some tools that will make things easier include Calendly to schedule appointments and meetings and the creation of a unique email address just for your recruiting needs. Show candidates, you are serious about your commitment to your team by creating a “Careers” section on your website. Show them that your practice is a place where others are fulfilling their goals and aspirations. 

The phone screening process is a critical step. Don’t sell it short by trying to squeeze it into ten or fifteen minutes between other tasks.  Ghosts, it’s believed, materialize from a weak screening process!

  • Explain who you are
    • Give solid details about why this person should want to work for you. Explain your core values. 
    • Let them know the rewards of this position
    • Perhaps most important: Let them know what you expect from them, from tangible qualifications like skills and experience to intangibles, like attitude. 
    • Sell them on your practice. Give them a reason to remember you and want to work with you. 
    • The more you communicate with them, the more they will feel comfortable communicating with you.  Give them a clear timeline of your decision-making process.
    • Ask them what they did NOT get from their last employer that they would really like to find in this job? The answer to that will help you focus on the candidate’s motivations and establish how compatible they are with your office’s culture. 

With the strong job market, (a scant 3.7% unemployment rate as of June 2019), hiring is a matter of them choosing you as much as you choosing them. So do the right thing. Don’t leave them hanging; let them know where they are in the application process. 

Use these tactics, and avoid getting ghosted on your next new hire!


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