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Applicant ghosting: When the new colleague simply stays away


Annette is an HR manager in a clinic and repeatedly experiences applicants not showing up on their first day at work and pretending to be dead when contacted. How can she curb »job ghosting«?

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Photo: Niels Blaesi / DER SPIEGEL

Anette (55 years old), personnel manager in a hospital, asks: »We are always looking for nurses.

We find it particularly difficult in positions with shift work and weekend work.

There are already few applications, so we are always happy when a suitable applicant signs an employment contract.

But then the first day at work comes and the new colleague doesn't show up.

Calls, e-mails, text messages – all go unanswered.

Unfortunately, these cases are no longer exceptional.

We are now totally at a loss: what can we do?”

Dear Annette,

I'm just imagining the emotional rollercoaster that you experience more often.

First of all, one is happy about the additional strength, which above all means less overtime for the existing employees.

Take a breath together!

Then the planning for the induction and also the work to be taken over begins.

And in between, the concern keeps coming up »I hope the new one will come too...« And then the bad news: No, he won't come - he's a »no-show«.

Great disappointment, hectic rescheduling and words of comfort for the quasi-colleagues, who now also have to step in at short notice and for whom no relief is in sight for the time being.

In short: an emotional setback across the board.

You also have to pull yourself together and start the whole process all over again.

Slowly but surely, a lot of trust and confidence are being lost here.

One quickly comes to the question of whether the problem is new – and whether it only affects individuals.

Apparently not: According to a Randstad study from 2019, 66 percent of employers in the USA have already had painful experiences with job ghosting by employees, and the trend is rising.

Generation Z is disproportionately represented.

In addition to fewer financial and other obligations on the part of young candidates, digital communication is cited as an important reason for the phenomenon: the more anonymous it is, the less guilt they have if they don't take up a job.

In addition, it is better to negotiate with a new contract in your pocket, in other words: some people don't really want to change, but want to improve their current salary and/or advance their career - with their current employer.

If you want to increase the number of new employees who actually appear, you should take a closer look at the recruitment process.

It's no longer the case that once you sign the contract everything is in the bag and you don't have to deal with the newcomer again until the entry date.

There is now another important process step here, the so-called "pre-boarding": further activities and communication that form a bridge between the conclusion of the employment contract and the actual start of the job.

Depending on the notice period, this can take several months.

Here are a few suggestions of what you can do in this context:

  • Provide a contact person (“mentor”) from the specialist department who will get in touch personally, keep in touch and be there for questions

  • Invite the new employee to company events (summer party, company outing, anniversaries, other celebrations of special events, assemblies/town hall meetings)

  • Send in the induction plan as soon as possible, which the supervisor or the mentor will discuss personally, together with clarification of the required work equipment

  • Take a picture of the team with the names of each member

  • Put together a small welcome package, for example with a drinking bottle or a T-shirt with a company logo and personal name or the future name tag - you can add to this list creatively

  • Add the new employee to the internal newsletter distribution list

  • Assist in finding accommodation;

    relocation companies can help as external service providers

The main aim here is to counteract the described anonymity.

The more personal and regular the further contact takes place, the more a bond and a feeling of welcome develops with the new employee even before the actual start of work.

In this way you also make it clear that you as an employer are not interchangeable and that you stand out positively from the start.

Is that a lot of extra work?

Yes, and one that is certainly worthwhile for everyone involved.

It becomes easier when both the HR and the specialist departments take on the task together.

After all, everyone is in the same boat!

Source: spiegel

All business articles on 2022-09-26

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