The Interview Ghost - How to Stop Interview Ghosting

Boo! Who’s there? No one? That’s because another job applicant just ghosted their interview. You might think that when somebody applies for a job that means they’re actually interested, but in an ultra-competitive labor market that’s not always the case, with average rates of interview ghosting sometimes as high as 80%.

Many job applicants will either find another job before the interview, simply forget about the interview, or they might not have really wanted the job in the first place. Interview no-shows are a growing trend, especially in industries that already experience high turnover like restaurants and retail.

Here’s a recent story from a quick-service restaurant operator: they invited three people to an interview (their applications came via a major online job posting site). All three applicants didn’t show up to their first scheduled interview. The employer gave them another chance by offering them each a new interview slot, and again, none of them showed up.

Interview ghosting is a growing trend. Maybe it’s laziness, maybe it’s the labor market, but whatever it is, this trend is causing a lot of frustration, and costing even more time and money for employers.

Sometimes even when applicants do show up for their interview, they fail to show up for the first day of work. Here’s another recent example: only two out of ten applicants showed up for their interview, both were hired, and then both of them didn’t show up for their first day of work!

So how much do missed interviews cost employers?

Chart based on the following information:
– Labor Cost is $25/hr
– Each missed interview is 3 hrs wasted (interview prep, admin work, time spent looking for and
contacting additional applicants to interview lost productivity)

According to USA Today, the chance of a job candidate ghosting is 20-50% across all industries, and data from HigherMe shows that in fields already known for high turnover (food services, retail, hospitality) that number can reach 80%. Some customers tell us about no-show rates of 100%.

It’s a tough problem to fight and it’s hard to pinpoint one issue that causes it. Some think it’s generational, with millennials and Gen Z lacking the same manners as previous generations. Others think it’s just a byproduct of our modern on-demand culture, with people wanting a job quickly without having to go through hoops to get it. Some of it may also be a fear of confrontation, with people too afraid to cancel an interview, so instead, they just go quiet about it.

Whatever the reason, interview ghosting is costing employers a lot of time and money. So what are some ways to solve the interview ghosting problem?

Interview Reminders – Interview reminders make sure that applicants who aren’t going to show up cancel instead of ghosting. Using software to automate reminders is helpful to save you the hassle of having to send a new email/text or take time to call someone about their interview.

Better Applicant Filtering Before the Interview – Sometimes you can spot warning signs that someone will be a no-show for an interview, like not uploading a resume or leaving job application questions blank. Sometimes the signs are less obvious, like applicants who have a decent looking resume but only applied for the job because it was easy with “one-click apply.” There isn’t an easy way to tell they would be likely to skip an interview. Setting up your application process with even a little bit of friction (a challenge to overcome in order to apply) can actually help reduce poor applicants significantly. Video cover letters are also an emerging tool to help show which applicants are seriously interested and willing to go the extra mile as part of the application. Another idea worth exploring is asking this question on the application: “How likely are you to show up for an interview?” if they give you an answer that’s less than 100%, don’t waste time getting in contact with them.

Consider Group Interviewing Techniques – Group interviews not only let you see how applicants work in teams or interact with others, but they also let you meet many applicants at once. If a few applicants ghost, you can still run your group interview with the other candidates. This technique may also save time even if applicant no-shows aren’t a significant issue at your business. Even better? Host hiring parties with on-the-spot job offers or free food, to entice applicants to the interview.

Interview ghosting is only becoming more common, but the consequences are the same: time and money are lost for employers. While ghosting is impossible to eliminate, having interview reminders, filtering applicants before interviews and hosting group interviews can help make the hiring process smoother for any employer.

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