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We’ve all been in a position where we have gotten very close to a large purchase, then reconsidered and avoided the follow-up calls of the salesperson until they got the hint and stopped. Anyone in the online dating community is all too familiar with the phenomenon of a potential match suddenly going dark, never to be heard from again. Unfortunately, this behavior, called “ghosting,” has made its way into the workplace, particularly in the trucking industry. The scenario goes like this: a recruiter has found the perfect candidate for a particular driving position. The candidate seems pleased with the offer and has agreed to the terms. Then the designated start day for orientation arrives and….nothing. The candidate never appears, and the recruiter is left wondering what went wrong.
We sat down with author and speaker Phil Jones to find out how recruiters can reduce and even stop new hire ghosting.
#1: Move the finish line
Jones stressed that the reason ghosting has become such a problem is that recruiters assume that once the candidate has agreed to the contract terms, the hiring process is complete. This is a major mistake. Jones gives the example of purchasing of a wedding dress. The process of purchasing the dress is not over once the credit card slip is signed. In fact, the transaction is only just beginning. The initial purchase, the many fittings, none of these things really matter if on the wedding day, the dress does not meet and exceed all expectations. The same concept applies to the hiring of a new employee—the process is not complete until the job is actually “tried on” and the new employee performs as expected. Jones believes that recruiters should follow up frequently with new hires until well after the acceptance date to ensure that the new position is really the perfect fit.
#2: Perform “waterproofing”
Once the finish line mindset has been shifted, the next step is what Jones calls “waterproofing”—that is, stopping any leaks in the pipeline from hire to star
t date. According to Jones, these leaks take the form of reasons why the new hire might decide the job is not for them after all, which results in the aforementioned ghosting. Let’s go back to the example from the beginning– a major purchase you’ve decided is not the best choice for you after the sale has been made—think of it as buyer’s remorse. If you have no skin in the game with that purchase, the likelihood is that you would simply walk away. The same thing often happens with new hires. The best way to stop these leaks is to anticipate where they will be in advance and talk through them with the new hire. Here are a few common “leaks” that might occur in the hire to start pipeline and what recruiters can say to help stop them.
The existing employer offers more money
This is probably the most common leak that can occur. In this case, the recruiter should ask the new hire at the time of contract term agreement what he would do if his existing employer was to offer more money in response to the employee leaving for a new position. This gets the new hire thinking in advance about the reasons he is leaving in the first place and allows him to “pre-load” a response to the money question from the current employer. That way the prospective employee is not caught by surprise and doesn’t agree to something in the moment without having time to think about it.
The new hire is interviewing with multiple companies, and a better offer comes along from someone else.
Ask the new hire directly if there are any other positions he is considering, and under what circumstances he would accept an offer from another company. Then the recruiter has a chance to talk through these points and address them before they come up.
The new hire experiences a change in personal circumstances. This might include anything from a major life event to an internal objection from a loved one about aspects of the new position.
Ask the new hire if between now and the start date, is there anything on the horizon he has been waiting for that might prevent him from starting, like an opportunity for the vacation of a lifetime, or perhaps an ailing family member who will need care, or even the person’s spouse is not happy that the new position involves more nights away from home. Encourage the new hire to discuss the features of the new role with those close to him in order to identify any areas of dissension.
#3: Develop Empathy
Notice that all three of these fixes include the word “ask.” Recruiters should seek to form relationships with job candidates by showing that they care to ask enough questions. When the conversation stops, that is when any control over the situation leaves the recruiter’s hands. By asking questions and keeping the conversation going, empathy grows between recruiter and candidate. This is where the “skin in the game” is established. In the worst-case scenario, the job candidate may ultimately decide the position is not right for them. However, if trust and empathy have been developed between recruiter and candidate, there will be an actual conversation instead of a mysterious no-show, and there is a better chance of developing future work relationships.
Jones calls repeated follow-up “The work that is done after the work is done.” After an important conversation with the perspective, always follow up with an email to check back in later. This is an important part of the onboarding process and is another way to maintain contact to discourage ghosting. If any remaining concerns arise in response to the email, call to talk it through.
The best follow up would be immediately after the driver informs the current employer that he/she has accepted a new job. Ask the driver when the current employer is going to be informed and tell them that it would make sense to connect after that to see how it went. You are now controlling the next steps and not leaving it up to chance.
By following these four tips, recruiters can reduce the possibility of new hire ghosting. In the end, it is all about establishing an open dialogue that allows potential employees to discuss concerns and objections with the recruiter rather than turning tail and disappearing into the proverbial night.
If you would like additional information on the best way to sell drivers on your company and make sure you control the entire process, go to recruitersalestraining.com This two-day training with Phil Jones will go through everything you need to adjust exactly what to say. At the time of this article, our next training is January 2019.