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Feb 26, 2020

Are you dealing with candidate ghosting? Do people accept your offer and fail to show up on their first day of work?

Don’t answer. The questions are rhetorical. There’s a good chance that you’re part of the 83% of employers who claim to have been ghosted by candidates. And every time this happens, the cost, disruption, and the loss of productivity are substantial. Chances are, you complain about this, but if you’re like most organizations, you probably feel helpless to stop it. 

To combat ghosting more effectively, numerous employers are infusing video into their hiring process. To understand why, it’s important to first understand why people mutate into ghosts to begin with. 

Disappearing Acts

While it’s hard to get accurate data on reasons for ghosting (since the individuals who do it aren’t likely to answer a survey), it’s safe to assume that explanations boil down to commitment issues. Some people may be afraid of failure, while others worry they won’t fit in. Some might be uninterested in the work, while others are unhappy with the compensation. Some are still searching for something better, while others may have accepted another job. 

Ultimately, ghosting comes down to lack of personalization. While you cannot solve every ghosting issue, you can address and eliminate the big ones by ensuring that you are connecting with candidates on a more personal level. If you can assure hires that they will be successful, feel comfortable in the environment, and be valued, you can change the dynamic dramatically. 

3 Approaches to Ghostbusting

You already know from decades of TV ads and a century of movies that video is engaging, persuasive, and powerful. Here’s how to use video in your recruiting efforts for better results:

1. Include a hiring-manager video with the offer letter. At one company we work with, here’s the message that a video conveyed:

“Hi Alisha. I’m excited to offer you this position. We were all impressed with your project-management skills and think you will be a great addition to the team. We hope you accept.”

Why does such a nine-second video reduce ghosting (and increase acceptance rates)? Because it reinforces the idea that you selected the candidate because of the person’s specific skills and abilities. It makes the person feel special and valued. It sets the expectation that the individual will be successful because this person possesses much-needed qualities.

2. Send team videos between offer date and start date. Another employer with which we’ve worked, and that has an extensive (and slow!) reference-checking process, keeps candidates engaged with short, informal video messages from team members. A quick video clip often follows this pattern:

“Hi Yuan. I just heard you are joining us. That’s great. We’re excited about having you on the team and have plenty of work for you to do! I’ve been here about a year-and-a-half, am a rabid Cubs fan, and like to eat at the sushi place on Pine Street. If you have any questions before you start, feel free to reach out.”

Why is this better than an email? Because it shows and tells, and it conveys tone. It is more credible and more personal than a written note, helping the new hire to feel welcomed and wanted by the team. 

3. Send a personalized video 48 hours before the start date. One employer who hires hourly workers whose first day starts with formalized training has the training manager record a 14-second video for each person expected in the class. The message goes as follows:

“Hi Chris. I see you are scheduled for my training class on Monday, and I’m looking forward to meeting you. I have a spot all set up for you, and I’ll make sure you learn everything you need to know to get off to a great start here. Have a great weekend and I’ll see you Monday morning.” 

What does this video accomplish? It puts a human face on the training manager, sets the expectation that the individual will arrive on Monday morning, reinforces the idea that the candidate is going to be successful, and introduces the social pressure of knowing a seat will be set up with the person’s name on it. All that is accomplished in a friendly, warm, and personalized video. 

But Is This Scalable?

All of the above examples come from large enterprises. And all the videos are captured informally on a smartphone or laptop. The videos are hosted, approved, and shared using an inexpensive and easy-to-use video management platform. All of which is to say that video is no longer bleeding-edge technology that requires large investments. The quality of mobile phone cameras is astonishingly high, and video dominates the internet. Put otherwise, you don’t need something out of the movies to combat ghosting. Ghostbusting at your organization can start with just you and a phone.

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