The term “ghosting” is commonly used in a social context when someone ends all forms of communication without prior warning or explanation. However, this has crossed over to the corporate world, affecting mainly the recruitment process. An example would be candidates who initially accept a job offer but retract it or disappear entirely ahead of their start date.
The ghosting trend is gaining popularity, with 76% of employers globally claiming they have been ghosted before, according to a 2021 study by job website Indeed. It is more prominent with Generation Z (Gen Z), who were born between 1997 and 2012, which is worrying as they will make up the majority of the future workforce.
Reasons for the ghosting trend among Gen Z
Felix Tan, co-founder and CEO of Skilio, a Singapore-based recruitment platform, shares with DigitalEdge Singapore the top three reasons for the increasing trend of ghosting in the Gen Z labour market.
“Firstly, Gen Z job seekers are more attracted to companies that demonstrate moral values that are highly aligned to theirs. They champion diversity and equity, and will not hesitate to [take action] for something that does not align with their personal outlook. This translates to ghosting the company if they feel that the employer does not live up to their expectations,” says Tan.
He continues: “Secondly, the rise of job portals that enable easy one-click application has [made it] so easy to apply for hundreds of jobs in a short time. This often results in the candidate being unable to manage all their job applications and ghosting those they are not too keen on.”
He adds that there is also a major disconnect between the traditional recruitment strategies and Gen Z’s expectations of their jobs. “Gen Z job seekers have a strong motivation to prioritise skills and personal developments in the company they work for. It does not help that current recruitment strategies are very much focused on optimising the process after a candidate applies, and less attention is placed on the strategies between the attraction and application stages.”
Case in point: Skilio’s research found that 80% of Gen Z job seekers are unsure about the skill sets required based on the provided job description. “Therefore, we believe that one of the key factors that businesses [targeting] Gen Z tend to overlook is the clear articulation of what is expected in the job and how the candidate can grow in that position,” he says.
A skills-based approach to hiring
To help reduce the chances of ghosting, Skilio offers a skills-based hiring platform that focuses on Gen Z.
Skilio places a strong emphasis on using skills as a talent attraction and application strategy. We partner with various educational institutions to build a Gen Z talent pool and connect them to hiring companies based on their skills.Felix Tan, co-founder and CEO of Skilio
Similar to traditional job platforms, recruiters have to first create an account on Skilio’s website before posting job openings. They will then be asked to pick the top three skills from the skills library to tag to each open position.
By putting skills at the centre of the application process, Tan claims that it helps create better alignment in expectations for Gen Z job seekers while reducing the time recruiters take to pre-screen the right candidate.
As for Gen Z job seekers, they can apply for an opening on Skilio’s platform by submitting work samples or certifications that demonstrate the skills the job requires.
“The profile of Gen Z job seekers today is very different from the other generations. In the Internet age, many Gen Zs gain experience from unconventional avenues such as executing a viral TikTok account or being a Discord community manager in a decentralised autonomous organisation (DAO). Therefore, recruiters need to evolve their criteria to sieve Gen Z talents beyond traditional indicators of abilities during the application and pre-screening process,” says Tan.
He adds: “By submitting artefacts based on the skills required for the role, Gen Z job seekers can showcase that they have the basic know-how of accomplishing the tasks required for the job, which might be difficult to display in a traditional resume.”
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Winning the hearts of Gen Z
One company that has successfully recruited the right Gen Z employees is Pick & Go, an AI unmanned convenience store in Singapore. With Skilio’s help, Pick & Go shortened the time needed to pre-screen interested Gen Z candidates by 20%, as it could identify those with the required skill sets early on when they submitted their application.
Besides Pick & Go, more than 70 recruitment teams are currently using Skilio to scout and recruit Gen Z talents. Skilio has also helped surface more than 700 candidates’ skills profiles to those recruiters for their hiring process.
“We find that companies with a strong interest in scouting and future-proofing their workforce with Gen Z talents are generally more open to using our platform. They often use Skilio to differentiate their talent attraction strategy and scout for Gen Z talents with a demonstrated history of displaying skill sets that they are looking for,” shares Tan.
As the war for talent heats up, Tan advises businesses to reconsider their basic pre-screening criteria for their job openings. “[They should evaluate] if the role truly requires a university degree or [a specific number of] years of working experience. These criteria can narrow the talent pool in an already shrinking workforce if businesses are only fixated on those who meet those traditional indicators,” he says.
He also urges businesses to consider tapping on alternative avenues, like upskilling providers, to source for Gen Z candidates as well as engage with first- or second-year undergraduates to scout for the right talent. Doing so will help organisations diversify their talent pool and bridge the talent gap in the region.