Is Breadcrumbing the New Ghosting?

Providing jobseekers with a positive hiring experience is vital for your company’s brand and reputation. Jobseekers are like consumers: If they have a bad experience, they will not hesitate to tell their family and friends all about how your company failed. Even worse, the scorned jobseeker can also take to social media and job boards like Glassdoor to leave a negative review. 

Source: Olivier Le Moal / iStock / Getty Images

As we know, negative reviews are the last thing your company needs when it’s trying to recruit for vacant roles. To avoid the bad publicity, your recruiters and hiring managers should be focusing on providing a positive, memorable experience and avoiding “breadcrumbing.”

Stop ‘Breadcrumbing’

According to Robert Half, one-third of senior managers surveyed said their company is taking more time to hire in the current environment despite having access to a deeper talent pool. When asked to reveal how they keep candidates engaged during the hiring process, common responses included scheduling multiple rounds of interviews, conducting skills testing, and keeping applicants busy with online training.

Yet, while these respondents say they’re actively engaging jobseekers, jobseekers themselves are saying the reverse. According to a different Robert Half survey, 62% of professionals said they lose interest in a job if they don’t hear back from the employer within 2 weeks—or 10 business days—after the initial interview. That number jumps to 77% if there is no status update within 3 weeks.

With employers taking longer to hire due to COVID-19, one recurring theme pops up for Robert Half’s jobseeker respondents: breadcrumbing. If you’ve never heard of breadcrumbing, it’s basically stringing someone along, and for employers, that means dragging their feet throughout the hiring process.

‘Breadcrumbing’ by Location

Robert Half was able to identify where breadcrumbing happens the most:

  • San Diego (48%)
  • Boston (47%)
  • Dallas (46%)
  • Sacramento (46%)
  • Cleveland (41%)

And the least:

  • Cincinnati (81%)
  • New York (77%)
  • Washington, D.C. (77%)
  • Los Angeles (75%)
  • Portland (74%)

“By stretching out the hiring process, companies waste critical time and resources and may lose out on the best talent,” says Paul McDonald, senior executive director at Robert Half, in a press release. “Employers who are transparent with candidates and move efficiently through the process will create a positive experience for potential hires and gain a recruiting edge.”

How Jobseekers Get Back at Being Breadcrumbed

They say patience is a virtue, but how long should people patiently wait until they hear back from a recruiter or an employer? Robert Half doesn’t reveal the answer to that question, but it did disclose how jobseekers handle being breadcrumbed.

The most popular answers among jobseekers include:

  • Ghost the employer, and drop out of the process: 49%.
  • Blacklist the company, and refuse to consider it for future opportunities: 41%.
  • Vent about the experience using personal social media accounts: 27%.
  • Leave a negative comment anonymously on review sites: 26%.

McDonald adds, “Employers who don’t treat candidates with the same level of courtesy they expect may face consequences, including burned bridges with potential hires and a tarnished reputation, both of which can negatively impact future recruiting efforts and business growth.”

So, Is Breadcrumbing the New Ghosting?

Before the pandemic, “ghosting” was a popular trend among jobseekers during the candidate-driven market. There were so many vacant positions for jobseekers to choose from that they could literally just “ghost,” or not show up to, an interview or their first day on the job. The craze drove recruiters insane, so is breadcrumbing their way at getting even? Doubtful.

A slow hiring process has been a thorn in many employers’ sides, but fortunately, recruiting technology is improving time to hire. Now we just need to work on candidate communication so jobseekers don’t get the impression that they’re being strung along.

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