No More No-Shows: Eliminating Candidate Ghosting at Your Workplace

May 26, 2021 | 2276 Views

No More No-Shows: Eliminating Candidate Ghosting at Your Workplace

Patrick Yearout, FMP, CHT

Director of Innovation, Recruiting, and Training | Ivar's & Kidd Valley Restaurants

The good news: the country is slowly but surely recovering from the coronavirus pandemic of 2020, and many of our hotels and restaurants are preparing for a very busy summer.

The bad news: it has been extraordinarily challenging to find workers for the hospitality industry lately. It’s not only difficult to get folks to apply, but also to get them to show up for job interviews, even when those candidates have already agreed to the time and the place. And to make it worse, these same candidates often “ghost” the hiring managers by refusing to call, text, or return any form of communication.

If your company has been struggling to set up successful interviews lately, here are some suggestions to help you connect with potential new hires:

1.    More than ever before in recruiting, time is of the essence. Most candidates are applying to multiple job postings and tend to respond to those who reach out to them first, so managers should review applications and resumes, contact candidates, and set up interviews ASAP (preferably that day). If candidates stop by to drop off a resume or fill out an application, interview them before they leave the building if time permits. As a side note for district or area managers – if you visit your restaurants or hotels and find unread resumes or unopened applicant emails, or if you see unviewed candidates on online recruiting systems, ask your team why these folks have not been contacted.

2.    To help speed up the hiring process and prevent another company from snatching up a potentially great employee, don’t make a candidate come back for a second or third interview. Arrange the schedule so that two managers can interview the candidate back-to-back in one sitting, or have both participate in the same interview.

3.    If you find great candidates but they cannot come into the work site for an interview right away, then conduct the interview over the phone or via Zoom, Facetime, or Skype. And if you conduct it via video chat, allow the candidates to see the restaurant or hotel and the type of work that they would be performing (and meet their potential co-workers who are on shift at the time). Show them it’s a fun and inviting workplace.

4.    Text is the often preferred method of communication for the younger generation. If you’re reaching out to candidates through phone calls and emails but are not hearing back, text them instead. Have some saved scripts that you can easily cut and paste into your text after greeting the candidate – “My name is Betty Smith and I’m the General Manager for the Everett Ivar’s. I received your resume and would love to have a conversation with you about our open positions.”

woman texting

5.    After contacting a candidate and setting up an interview, follow up with a text providing all the important information. Start by reminding them of the time and date of the interview. Provide your street address and parking information or bus routes to get to your location. Make sure they know which door to come to if your building has multiple entrances. Send them a selfie so they know who to look for. Tell them how long they can expect the interview to be. Don’t expect them to do all the heavy lifting, because they won’t!

6.    If communicating by email, send all the information mentioned in #5 in an Outlook or Google invitation so the candidates can put it on their calendars.

7.    On the day of the interview, send another reminder about it, and ask candidates to notify you if they need to cancel or withdraw from consideration (just as you would do with a guest who has made a reservation).

8.    Don’t just invite the candidate for an interview; ask them to come for an interview plus a free meal if you work in a restaurant. Tell them you’d like them to try your menu items so they can learn more about your operation and provide their feedback.

9.    When contacting candidates for interviews, mention the benefits of working for your company. Free meals while working. Affordable insurance programs with low deductibles. Paid vacation and sick days. Opportunities for advancement. Tell them about employee success stories and those who have moved up the career ladder. Tell them the reasons why you like working there beyond the job that you do.

Young waiter

10.  Also when contacting candidates about interviews, offer them a variety of times to come in, or ask them what would be the best time for them. If they are currently working and don’t want their boss to know they are considering leaving, it will be helpful to have options that work within their schedule.

11.  If you offer an employment bounty, mention it when initially contacting candidates. It’s not only a great recruiting tool, but shows them you are open to hiring their friends at the same workplace, and studies have shown that workplace friends are a great retention tool.

12.  Don’t dismiss candidates who apply through an employment specialist just because you think it might be an extra amount of work. These employment specialists, who are often used by people with disabilities, or previously incarcerated, or returning to the workforce after a long absence, are going to work hard to ensure their candidates actually show up for the first interview, and the first day of work, and the second day of work, etc.

If none of these suggestions improve your situation, then perhaps it’s time to consider that it’s not the recruiting process that isn’t working, but rather the job that might be the problem. You need to ask yourself, “Are we providing a salary and benefits package for these positions that are competitive in the area?” If you don’t know the answer, then look at recruiting ads from nearby hotels and restaurants to see what they may be offering that you’re not.

Getting candidates to show up for interviews is not going to be an easy task as we move forward and re-open the US economy, and candidate ghosting can be a very frustrating occurrence for our managers. It’s going to take our collective tenacity and creativity to help overcome this issue, so I invite you to share your suggestions by commenting on this blog!

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