How to Not Hire “Ghosts”

Halloween is over but the scary stuff might not be. Because even though the skeletons have crawled back into their graves and the zombies returned to their crypts, you could still fall victim to a ghoulish experience. You could still get “ghosted.”
In this time of record-low unemployment and intense competition for talent, a new pattern of behavior has emerged. Some job candidates will simply “ghost” an interview — not bother to show up or even let you know they’re not going to show up. Worse, some will make it through the selection process, accept your job offer, and then — Boooo! — not appear on their start date.
My long-time barber told me of how another long-time barber at their small shop called the owner one morning, just before his scheduled start time, to say that he had taken another job and wouldn’t be coming in that day. Or ever.
At least, after all those years, he didn’t actually ghost the owner; he had the decency to give him five minutes notice.
Is this the new normal?
Other than hoping for a recession, and the rebalancing of the labor market that would bring, what can a responsible hiring manager do?

1) When scheduling an interview, let the candidate know that openness and respect are things that your company values. And that if something should change with their scheduled interview, you ask that they be respectful and let you know; you will do the same.

2) Obtain verbal agreement if you’re speaking with the person in real-time. Call or send an email 72 hours before the interview saying that you look forward to meeting the person and you’d like to reconfirm the date and time. If you’re sending an email, give them a single-click option to cancel.

3) Send a text confirmation 24 hours before the interview with similar but not identical wording and, again, give the person an option to cancel.

4) If the person actually makes it to the interview, then at some point in the process ask questions such as:

 Have you ever quit a job before? If so, how did you let the company know? How much notice did you give them?

 If the person’s answers are vague, ask follow-up questions to get the details.

Have you ever not shown up at work when they were expecting you? Why, what were the circumstances?

You want to get a sense of the person’s character. Do they think that disappearing without informing someone or giving reasonable notice is acceptable?

These steps don’t guarantee that you won’t get ghosted. But they will lessen the odds of having a scary experience!
Make it happen.
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