‘Ghosting’ now enters the professional world

CHENNAI: A US-based tech startup  with development team in Chennai can’t stop raving about the quality of machine learning talent in the city, but is stumped by the “ghosting” it has been facing from candidates.

From a time when job seekers waited anxiously to hear from prospective employers, recruiters now hope that those who accepted offers walk in the doors on joining day.

HR specialists, recruiters and companies said that they observe an average 20% rise in candidates not turning up after accepting a job, a practise popularly called “ghosting.”

The rate of increase in no-shows in the tech industry is at 15-20% currently, compared to 8-10% before three years, Aditya Narayan Mishra, co-founder, CIEL HR Services, said. As recruiters, we now have an upfront chat with candidates about their intention to join, and need to keep following up till the joining date, he adds.

The consequential impact is felt at recruitment circle, which is impacting productivity hit of almost six-eight months in companies from time of making offer to going through the entire process with a new candidate.

“In the IT industry, only six out of ten people who accept the offer end up joining the companies these days, and that’s close to a rate of 40% no-shows,” Ajay Shah, head-recruitment, TeamLease Services, said, noting a steady growth year-on-year.

A job market titling in favour of skilled talent, especially in the 7-10-year experience band, and a large notice period going up to three months, have emerged as key reasons for employees abandoning accepted offers, especially in tech and financial services.

“We were waiting for a strong data science professional to join us, and we later learnt he interviewed with a larger company and decided to join them,” says a founder of an artificial intelligence (AI) startup.

Head hunters believe an average two-month notice period across sectors is a key driver of “ghosting”. Candidates shop around for better offers in this time, and do not often find the courage to inform companies that they will not be joining them, they said.

Salary expectations are also a cause. “Candidates accept the offer without thinking it through and later research the market value of the roles,” Kamal Karanth, co-founder of HR firm Xpheno, said. It’s not just a millennial thing, he adds, noting an instance when a legal head with around 10-years of experience ‘ghosted’ a large NBFC.

“Many companies today consider putting in a clause on ghosting while making offers, but that won’t work,” he added.

However, technology is helping recruiters shortlist candidates based on their intention to take up a role.

For instance, Chennai-based Bruhat Insights Global’s AI tool Recruittech uses over 160 parameters to determine which candidate has the highest probability of turning up on the joining day.

“Gone are the days when job seekers considered an accepted offer as a commitment. Our tool works at almost 80% accuracy to help companies avoid losses from no-shows,” Umasanker Kandaswamy, COO, Bruhat Insights, said.

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