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What is Ghost Recruiting?

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Posted by: David Garcia August 10, 2023

Ghost recruiting is an emerging trend among employers that involves sourcing and recruiting candidates without a traditional job posting. It’s becoming increasingly popular in today’s digital work landscape, allowing companies to access top talent (often online) before they are available on the open market.

Learn more about this recruiting method and some of its benefits, then create your own ghost recruiting strategy with best practices.

The Rising Popularity of Ghost Recruiting

Ghost recruiting is an emerging way of hiring employees that has recently become increasingly popular with businesses. The process involves using connections and online resources to source potential candidates, often through social media and other digital platforms. The roles that ghost recruiters are hiring for often aren’t posted on job boards – especially higher-level functions such as C-suite positions or other hard-to-fill positions. This approach allows employers to reach highly qualified people who may not be actively looking for a job but could be interested in the right opportunity.

Industry professionals who engage in ghost recruiting refer to it as an intentional process that involves learning about these potential candidates, often through online means such as LinkedIn, and engaging them in a conversation about the possible fit in a new role. Some long-term recruiters claim to have used this method for decades, though the term “ghost recruiting” is more recent. They describe using this approach often for senior executive positions without the open roles themselves ever being posted.

Business owners may also refer to this methodology as headhunting – going after the right person rather than hoping the right person comes to you.

Ghost recruiting offers numerous advantages – especially in our digital-first world. Platforms such as LinkedIn make learning about someone’s professional experience and skills easy and provide outreach opportunities through messaging. It allows companies and recruiters to take a proactive rather than reactive approach and gives them more control over the outcome.

The Benefits of Ghost Recruiting

Ghost recruiting benefits employers, hiring managers, and job seekers alike.

First and foremost, it provides a direct connection between an employer and a potential employee without the noise of other applicants. Employers can build relationships with qualified candidates before getting them in for an interview – assessing their fit in the role without going through stacks of applications.

For job seekers, ghost recruiting offers an opportunity to be discovered and take advantage of roles that may not have been publicly posted elsewhere. It can give them more control over their career trajectory and allow them to explore higher-level opportunities that they wouldn’t necessarily know about otherwise.

Ultimately, ghost recruiting is an effective way for companies to find talented employees and build relationships with them. It can save time, money, and resources while helping to ensure that the best candidate is chosen for each role.

What Are the Drawbacks of Ghost Recruiting?

While ghost recruiting has many advantages, there are also some potential drawbacks.

First and foremost, it can be time-consuming for employers. On top of the resources required to find qualified candidates, building relationships and assessing their suitability for the role is also necessary. This may mean having multiple conversations with each candidate or inviting them to meet with the company.

There are also ethical considerations when it comes to ghost recruiting, such as how recruiters approach potential candidates – if not done right, it can come across as intrusive.

Lastly, ghost recruiting doesn’t always provide the same level of access to people who may not be actively seeking a job, such as those who may not have a solid online presence.

Effective Best Practices

The key to successful ghost recruiting is building relationships and trust with potential candidates. Being upfront about how you found them and your intentions creates honest relationships from the start. Employers should also develop an effective recruitment plan before beginning their search. This should include defining the role you’re looking to fill and who would be a good fit for it – creating a pool of profiles you can refer to before customizing outreach to each potential candidate.

Final Thoughts

Ghost recruiting is a powerful tool for companies to find and engage with top talent. While it comes with its own set of challenges, including not coming across as intrusive, when done correctly, ghost recruiting can be an effective way to build relationships and find the right person for the job. And if you want to ensure your ghost-recruited hires are safe and qualified candidates, ScoutLogic can help by providing reliable background check services.

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