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A Bengaluru-based start-up was left clueless when a potential hire never turned up to collect his offer letter. He could not be contacted on his phone or e-mail. This was because he had ‘ghosted’ the company after being retained by his current employer.
Ghosting, a phenomenon where potential employees suddenly cut off all communications during the last stage of negotiation, is now being tackled through manual interventions and use of artificial intelligence (AI).
In India, about 35 percent potential hires drop off the talent acquisition pipeline. This means out of every 10 hires, about 3-4 people ghost the employer. Ghosting occurs either because the candidate has a better offer or has been retained by his employer.
Chennai-based AVTAR Group has launched a consulting firm Bruhat Insights Global that will use AI and big data to tackle ghosting and increase offer acceptance ratios.
Saundarya Rajesh, Chairman, Bruhat Insights Global, said ghosting leads to severe time-lags in the market plans of start-ups and entrepreneurs and results in loss of revenue for both businesses and the recruitment fraternity.
Of dates and uninterested partners
Ghosting as a term originated in the dating world and referred to a situation where a romantic interest suddenly stops all forms of communication with the other person.
The recruitment market in India is estimated at Rs 3,100 crore, according to EY Human Resources Solution Industry study. Rajesh said if the potential revenue loss of about Rs 1,000 crore caused by ghosting is reduced even by 50 percent, the industry stands to gain a whopping Rs 500 crore.
In India, the average cost to hire varies from Rs 25,500-Rs 50,000 per candidate depending on the industry and sector. This includes the cost of the internal talent acquisition team, the cost of subscribing to databases, retainers to search firms, success fees paid to consultants, among others.
Rajesh added that when candidates drop off the radar after engaging with the company in sectors like small and medium enterprises (SME) and start-ups it is a cause for concern. She said the company will use both AI as well as manual interventions to gauge the interest of candidates.
The process will begin from the time a candidate’s resume reaches the recruiter. Rajesh said they will create an offer acceptance score for the shortlisted candidates based on the data collected. Softer aspects of the candidate’s life including profession of spouse, permanent residence among others. Past instances of a candidate ghosting companies are also taken into account.
“When we used the AI powered selection mechanism for the positions sourced, we experienced a 300 percent jump in closures,” she said. It is not just start-ups and SMEs where ghosting is an issue, but sectors like IT/IT enabled services as well.
Human resource experts are of the view that a mix of technology-led interventions and regular interactions could be a solution.
Rohit Chennamaneni, co-Founder of HR platform Darwinbox, said during the final stages of recruitment they have manual interventions through calls to candidates. This, he said, ensures that the candidate is still interested in the job role. Any adverse reaction or weakening interest from a potential hire is then immediately communicated to the company.
“Body language as well as how enthusiastic a potential hire is gives an idea of whether they will ghost the company. Timely interventions minimise ghosting incidents and give early indications to the employer. If the candidate is not interested, they can dole out job offers to the other interested individuals,” he added.