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Job recruitment in Ireland is taking on some of the worst aspects of dating app culture

Ghosting, love-bombing and baiting are among bad practices becoming commonplace, but treating candidates shabbily is short-sighted

Everything is not rosy in the world of recruitment. In fact, if the results of the latest Greenhouse candidate experience survey are anything to go by, poor hiring practices are systemic, with some of the worst aspects of dating apps, such as ghosting, now an integral part of the hiring landscape.

According to Greenhouse, companies are struggling to recruit top talent yet they are still making “basic and costly [hiring] mistakes”, according to the company’s chief executive, Daniel Chait, who adds that many employers have yet to get their hiring priorities in order.

“It’s amazing that people have still not figured out that candidates’ number one complaint is that they never hear back; half of job seekers say that’s still happening,” he says.

Employees want to move. The Greenhouse survey figure for Ireland puts the number of people keen to change jobs here within the next six months at 41 per cent, and now is a good time to consider a move, with pay rises on the cards, says Breda Dooley, regional recruitment manager for Matrix recruitment.

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She adds that there has been a rise in demand for pay transparency in job listings, which employers can turn to their advantage. “By making salary offers clear at the start of the recruitment journey, businesses can achieve a competitive edge that ensures their job listings stand out from the crowd,” she says.

What is putting some people off taking the plunge, however, is previous bad experience of the hiring process. Top of the list of recruitment shortcomings from a candidate’s perspective are poor communication, long-drawn-out timelines and what many say are too many interviews. For example, two or three are deemed acceptable, whereas six or more are not.

Ghosting in the professional sphere is considered very poor practice. Despite this, it’s fast becoming commonplace in the corporate world, even after a job offer has been made

Also turning people off are misleading job descriptions, the lack of transparency around salary, bias and inequity in the interview process and the rise of shabby hiring behaviours such as ghosting, love-bombing and baiting. In one case a legal professional discovered – after four interviews – that there was actually no concrete job on offer and that the potential employer had been using the interview process to tap into “free legal aid” as it were.

Anyone with even a passing awareness of dating apps will be familiar with the practice of ghosting (also called icing) whereby one of the parties involved ends all communication abruptly with no explanation. It’s bad enough when it happens in love, although most of those in the dating game know there’s always the risk of rejection, but resorting to ghosting in the professional sphere is considered very poor practice. Despite this, it’s fast becoming commonplace in the corporate world, even after a job offer has been made. This is hugely stressful on multiple levels for candidates waiting to hear back.

“The fact that the candidate experience has been bad is not news [but] the persistence of these issues and the increase in ghosting is news,” says Chait, adding that information from the survey specifically for Ireland showed that a significant number of job seekers here were reporting problematic hiring practices and felt frustrated at the amount of time they were spending on multi-stage interviews only to be rejected.

More than 50 per cent of the 2,900 international workers who participated in the Greenhouse survey have experienced ghosting, with nearly a third ghosted after their initial conversation with a recruiter, a third ghosted after their interview with the hiring manager and a fifth ghosted after receiving a job offer.

it’s not as if these bad practices go unnoticed. Today’s job seekers are more than willing to share their experiences on public forums

At the opposite end of the scale is “love bombing”, which involves cosying up to a prospective hire and telling them how wonderful they are in order to pique their interest in a move. The sting in the tail is that when the offer is finally put on the table, the salary is way below what their qualifications and experience would merit.

Another practice getting the thumbs down from job seekers is “baiting”, which attracts a candidate to take a job based on the advertised criteria. However, once they join the company, they quickly discover that the job scope has been “switched” and is very different in reality.

What’s curious about these practices is that they are the equivalent of companies shooting themselves in the foot because, as Chait points out, an organisation’s ability to hire and retain top talent ultimately affects their bottom line and future growth.

Secondly, it’s not as if these bad practices go unnoticed. Today’s job seekers are more than willing to share their experiences on public forums. Almost 80 per cent of the Greenhouse respondents said a company’s culture and external brand were important and would influence their decision to apply for a position, while hearing or seeing negative information about a company’s culture or brand (on Glassdoor or TikTok, for example) would be a negative strike.

What was also eye-opening about the Greenhouse survey was that the mistakes don’t stop at the application stage.

A staggering 78 per cent of the Irish job seekers surveyed for the new report who were called for an interview experienced bias and discriminatory questions, with inappropriate references to age, marital status, race and gender.

More than 50 per cent were ghosted by employers after their initial screening and 48 per cent were on the receiving end of excessive flattery followed by lowball offers. Of the Irish group surveyed, 40 per cent took the view that companies here have become worse at hiring.