Holly Dickinson
Holly Dickinson
Associate: Private Practice

Articles From the Team

Ghosting - a worrying trend that's hitting the legal job market

What’s ghosting?

If you’re not familiar with the term ‘ghosting’ I shall fill you in: this term was once used solely for the world of dating, whereby one party in the dating couple unexpectedly ceases to correspond with the other party, with no explanation.

This is a trend we’re seeing rise to concerning levels within the recruitment industry with candidates engaging with us to assist them in their job search then disappearing off the face of the earth. Either not calling us back or responding to our correspondence, or worse, not turning up to an interview. Or worse still, not turning up on their first day – even after they’ve signed a contract!

What impact is this having?

The ghosted

For recruiting law firms, this can have massive implications, including, wasted time and money that they’ve invested in the recruitment process. Not only that, but it may leave them open to bigger issues as a result of being understaffed. Firms have to wait up to three months for some lawyer candidates, and as the market’s so busy at the moment, law firms often require the lawyer’s skill and expertise then and there; to ensure the smooth running of the business. A gap in their team could lead to lost business, lost revenue, or worse, a damaged reputation.

The ‘ghosters’

For the lawyer candidates who act in ghosting: it can have a massive impact on your reputation in the market, affecting your chances of being considered by law firms in the future. By ghosting a law firm, you’re shooting yourself in the foot!

Not only that, but if candidates go through recruitment agencies and ‘ghost’ them, it can lead to the agency being more cautious about working with them in the future. Not only does it affect the candidate’s reputation, it can affect the recruiter's with their clients. It also results in more wasted time and money!

Why’s it happening?

There are a number of reasons for the rise in ghosting:

  1. It’s a competitive market that's candidate led. Meaning lawyer candidates have lots of options and the possibility of multiple offers on the table (and don’t want to have awkward conversations)
  2. A candidate thinking the grass is greener and then realising it isn’t! Using interviews and job offers with other firms to gain an increase in pay or another desired outcome from their current employer.
  3. There being a lack of relationship or connection between the lawyer candidate and law firm or legal recruiter. Due to the digital era we live in, candidates don’t feel like they've a relationship with the law firm or legal recruiter so there’s no need to communicate any changes to them.

How do we mitigate the risk of being ghosted?

As previously stated, it’s too easy for candidates to ghost legal recruiters and hiring firms and sadly, you can’t really prevent it; I think it’s something we have to be prepared for. However, there are a few things we can put in place to help mitigate the risk of it happening to us:

  • Make sure the proposition we’re putting to them is relevant and it’s in line with what they’re looking for
  • Stay in touch and get commitment from candidates in the first place, get candidates to agree to a policy of openness and honesty from both sides
  • Opportunities that offer something slightly different are more likely to keep candidates engaged. For example, flexible working options, appealing benefits packages, open and supportive culture with progression and development opportunities

Final thought…

As you will’ve been taught as a child - treat people the way you’d like to be treated! Every action has an equal or opposite reaction; everyone is connected by (only) six degrees of separation so don’t do something now that could come back to bite you!

“Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom!” – Thomas Jefferson.

Quote!

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