Ghosting Emerges as Latest Labor Challenge

kendra-nicastro*As seen in McKnight's Long Term Care News*

It used to be that “ghosting” was when a romantic prospect vanished after a few dates. But now ghosting has entered the job market, referring to applicants who blow off scheduled interviews or new hires who turn into no-shows.

"Ghosting also may refer to employees, either newly hired or long-term, who simply never return to work, ignoring voicemails, texts and emails and providing no reason for their absenteeism," says Kendra Nicastro, director of business development at LeaderStat.

National data on job ghosting is lacking, but companies around the world, including those in long-term care, say the behavior is on the rise. In fact, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago even included “job ghosting” in its latest Beige Book, which tracks employment trends. The nation’s low unemployment rate is the cause of more ghosting, believes Donna Cutting, CEO and founder of Red Carpet Learning.

“People today are looking at jobs as a commodity — there are plenty available, so they’re not taking them seriously,” she says.

It’s a candidate’s job market, says Tommy Marzella, portfolio marketing manager at OnShift. He notes there are currently more than 65,000 open certified nursing assistant jobs on right now.

“Employees have more options and competition than ever before,” he says. “And employee expectations are on the rise, as they expect a quick, simple application process. If the process takes too long, applicants could abandon the application, or if they do finish it, they might think your organization is outdated and inefficient.”

To avoid being ghosted, Cutting suggests that long-term care employers first establish what type of employee they want working in their facilities.

"Write compelling job descriptions that sell the organization and the position," Marzella says.

"Communicate perks, and include employee testimonials. Companies should include a special section on their website for potential employees, providing information about the company’s mission, values and culture," Cutting adds.

“That’s going to attract a different caliber of candidates than just those looking to be in a job for now until the next best thing comes along,” Cutting says. Nicastro recommends having an open and honest dialogue with candidates during the interview process, and discussing the candidate’s long-term career goals.

“Ask them to keep you updated on the other jobs they’re interviewing for, especially if they decide to go with another organization,” she advises.

Employers should be upfront with candidates about their hiring timeline and not “ghost” the candidate by never following up after the interview, even if they don’t plan to extend a job offer, Cutting adds. It’s also important to make the interview, hiring and onboarding process efficient.

“If candidates are expected to meet with multiple people from several divisions, schedule the interviews in one or two visits, rather than spreading them out,” Nicastro says.

Once a candidate is hired, agree on a quick start date if possible. The longer they wait to start, the more likely they may have second thoughts.

Nicastro also encourages employers to send new hires a “Welcome to the Team” note prior to their start date, and having their name badge and onboarding schedule ready for them when they arrive on the first day. If you have some company swag, such as a T-shirt or water bottle, create a welcome gift bag, Nicastro suggests.

In the end, it costs employers an average of $4,425 and takes 35 days to hire a new employee, per a recent Society for Human Resource Management report.

“If a company is investing that much money to recruit new talent, taking some extra steps to make candidates — and even current employees — feel welcomed can drastically reduce the chance of being ghosted,” Nicastro says.

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