Advice for Employers and Recruiters

How to increase your apply-to-hire rates by massively reducing ghosting

Shelby Konkel AvatarShelby Konkel
February 13, 2023

Welcome back to the High Volume Hiring Podcast, the podcast that features news tips, case studies, and interviews with the world’s leading experts about the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to high-volume hiring. 

The High Volume Hiring Podcast

In this week’s episode, host Steven Rothberg, College Recruiter’s Founder and Chief Visionary Officer, talks to Bill Fanning, U.S. Army veteran; former sales leader for organizations such as ADP, Radancy, TheLadders, JobTarget, America’s Job Exchange, and ThisWay Global; and the Co-Founder and CEO of Greetr, a new platform designed to help instantly engage applicants and communicate clear, personalized messaging regarding the employer’s hiring process, employer brand, and the opportunity at hand.

Bill’s plethora of experience with a large variety of organizations gave him a deeper understanding of the different challenges when it comes to engaging and hiring the best talent. This experience was pivotal in the creation of Greetr. Greetr’s focus on personalized communication and optimizing the candidate experience helps employers set a precedent on how they value and treat their future employees. This model also allows hiring organizations to bring in people quickly, save money, save time, and adds a massive amount of productivity back to the recruiter.

Check out the full episode here:

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Steven (00:14):

Welcome to the High Volume Hiring Podcast. I’m Steven Rothberg, the founder of Job Search, site College recruiter. We believe that every student in recent grad deserves a great career. This podcast features news tips, case studies, and interviews with the world’s leading experts about the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to high volume hiring. Thanks for joining us. Today’s guest is Bill Fanning, the co-founder and c e o of greeter, a new platform designed to help instantly engage applicants and communicate clear personalized messaging regarding the employer’s hiring process, employer brand, and the opportunity at hand. Bill, welcome to the show.

Bill (01:00):

Thank you very much. I’m excited to be here.

Steven (01:02):

Yeah, great to, great to be with you again, even though we’re kind of halfway across the country. You, you and I well, I’m fortunate that my path crosses with yours at lots of conferences. We’ll, we’ll see by the end of the interview, whether you fail, it’s that you’re fortunate as well. <Laugh>. We’ll, we’ll just, we’ll stay silent on that one.

Bill (01:20):

Sounds good.

Steven (01:21):

<Laugh>. So for the listeners who might not know that much about, you know, you or, or what you do maybe take a minute to summarize like your, your career path, like where you’ve been how, how that led you to, to greeter and, and maybe if there’s a horror story or two along the way.

Bill (01:38):

Sure. Absolutely. I have been for, without any divine plan in the human capital sales, customer service, operational space for most of my career. Started a long time ago with payroll after I came out of the military and have worked from a, from a E R P human capital standpoint with PeopleSoft and Oracle down to just by more and more specific, focusing in roles to talent Attraction. Had some great opportunities to work for some phenomenal companies. Really got to learn a lot along the way cuz the companies have had different perspective as an Apple tracking system, like smart recruiters or as job target and recruitment marketing working for which is now Regency. It used to be tmp. And getting to see the different perspectives and the different challenges that organizations are having in engaging and hiring and bringing great talent on into their organization, which is kind of the lifeblood of their growth.


And yeah, definitely been some <laugh> some horror stories along the way. You know, definitely one was when I joined as a senior leader of the sales department for the, right as the 2009 economy went off a cliff and nobody was hiring anymore. That was definitely a moment of interest. You know, as we were, we’re kinda figuring out how to sell our stuff. But it, but over the last couple years I had been focused on diversity and, and, and AI and learning more and more about some of the core things that were challenging organizations through that. Kind of interest definitely ended in some, some chat groups and some networking conversations around candidate experience. And, and while for, for me, I kind of think about that in two buckets. For First Bucket is click to apply, and the second bucket is apply to hire.


I think a lot of people are focused on click to apply and making that a better process, making it easier, making things, convert ratios, go up, all this great stuff. Apply to Hire is an area that still has some challenges and that is what greeter is designed to focus on. And was really exciting and interesting to me. So through a combination of a company called High Alpha Innovation in collaboration with Capital One. We put together the concept team and have built out the product for greeter for launch. You know, going live very soon, actually, starting with a couple customers on Monday.

Steven (04:24):

Awesome. and so we’re recording this on, on Thursday, January 26th. So Monday is gonna be what’s, so what’s

Bill (04:33):

The January 30th?

Steven (04:34):

January 30th. So the listeners are going to hear this after that. And so they’re gonna be able to hold you accountable to that date that’s gonna, which

Bill (04:42):

Is, which is good. <Laugh>, which is good. We are holding ourselves very accountable. We’re having a, we’re having good time, but we are trying to you know, move as, as intelligently and as expeditiously as we can. So it’s been, it’s been really fun.

Steven (04:57):

Awesome. And you know, for the listeners who, who might not know, bill, I think they can, I think you can see from from what he’s shared, he’s one of the rare people in our industry who not only has been on both sides of the desk, but you’ve been on top, you’ve been underneath, you’ve helped to assemble it, you’ve helped to assemble it. I mean, they’re just, just about any kind of a role in the talent acquisition industry. You know, you’ve been there, so you’re really able to, to bring that perspective. And I’m excited. I think that you’re gonna just naturally know from that apply to hire standpoint where, where the pain points are not just for the employers, but also for organizations that the employers and that you will just sort of naturally be collaborating with job boards, recruitment marketplaces at t s I mean all, all different, all the different players and how to fit into that ecosystem. So what, what would you say, bill, that, that would, that sets greeter apart from, from other businesses in the industry? A

Bill (06:07):

Couple things. That’s a great question. So first there are not a lot of organizations focused on optimizing the way the candidate is treated from apply to hire. Second. So I think that’s important. Second, I think what sets us apart is we are very focused on personalized communication. Not templates, not blank, not AI driven chat, but something very specific and repeatable to share with an applicant as they apply for a position where they are what’s important, how to go to the next step. You know, what the transactional process is going to look like, what the timeframes may look like, who your recruiter is. So, so I mean, the term we use is, is kind of blowing up the black hole, right? So the, the, the thought is, hey, after I apply for a job is kinda like my resume goes into a black hole. That should not happen. And I think in a lot of ways, the online process that everyone goes through for all kinds of transactions outside of applying for a job are light years ahead of applying for a job. And it’s time to fix that. It really is. You know, you buy something on Amazon, you know the day it’s coming, you know who’s bringing it, you know how much that costs, you’re gonna get a picture of where it was left. I mean, it is, and that’s for buying a pair of shoes.

Steven (07:36):

It’s funny that you mentioned Amazon because just a split second before you did, I was thinking exactly the same thing. So I ordered something on Amazon as, as most of us have, and you get an email confirmation, right? Not all that different than what you might get from an at t s you know, congratulations, you applied, you know, we’ll con we’ll we’ll contact you if and when we decide that we want to, again, that’s your typical communication from an employer. If you get any, that’s, that’s what you’re gonna get an automated confirmation. And there’s value in that. There’s, you know, that’s, that’s better than it was when you and I got into this field in 1867. Yes. but the, it’s, it’s, so that’s nice. But then Amazon then sends you an email, Hey, your product just shipped and your expected delivery date is, you know, next Wednesday. And then Wednesday comes along and it says your product is out for delivery. And then you maybe get an email that says, you know, the driver is eight stops away. And then you get, and then you get in another location and it’s like, here’s a photo of it on your doorstep or in your mail room or, or whatever. So they do a really fantastic job of,


Of at scale communicating with their customer. And it sounds to me like that’s what greeter’s going to bring to the employment space. Is the ability for employers at scale to communicate with people who have already applied but not yet been hired. Is that, is that a fair summary?

Bill (09:17):

That is a fair summary. That’s a good assessment of what we’re trying to do. We’re going to communicate via mobile messaging to somebody which has an exceptionally high delivery and open rate compared to email. I’m not sure where I read it, but I know recruiting email has about a 28% open rate. Where texts are, you know, 98, 90 9% opened. They’re gonna, from the text go to a dynamic landing page and they’re gonna be delivered very similar information that we’re just talking about, which is, here’s our process, it’s five steps. This is approximate timeframe, don’t hold us to it. But, you know, you could expect, if you’re gonna go the next step to hear from us in five days, here’s a message from our c e o, here’s an overview of the company. Hey, by the way, we have a great work from home policy.


Here’s a little bit of information on it. Here’s a message from the recruiter. But you know, and have clear expectation that that blank template’s not gonna get you, it’s not gonna move you to that point. So, and, and it’s differentiating the employer. So we’re doing a couple core things. We are engaging the candidate in a way that’s meaningful and drives value about the opportunity and sets an understanding of what that employer thinks and feels about people that might join their company. It adds massive amount of productivity back to the recruiter cuz they don’t have to do this themselves. It’s automatically happening by stages changing in the ATS system. It’s delivering phenomenal employer branding capabilities that today are not happening. So with click to apply and the way people are finding jobs online, they look at a job, they click it, they read the detail, they click apply, they go to the career landing pager.


If they’re not doing one click apply, all of the employer branding that’s been built is completely bypassed. We’re taking that, we’re delivering it in bite-size chunks at the right time to the right person. So that makes that employer’s branding exponentially more valuable. And then we’re measuring it all. So we’re giving clear KPIs to show you who’s engaged, what’s working, what people want to know about. So you can continually do a better job of running your recruiting process, optimizing what and when you talk to people and what you say. So you have a really good effective model to bring in people quickly, save money, save time, and hire great engaged people, which also reduces turnover down the road cuz they’re coming in fully aware.

Steven (11:33):

I can definitely see the use case in, in kind of a more traditional low, low volume environment. And I think that the use the value is even more in a high volume environment because, like you say, like it, right? It it, it eliminates the need for the recruiter to get back in touch with that candidate along with a thousand others and say, Hey, we reviewed your application, the next step is blank and we’ll, you know, we should be complete by Tuesday, you know, and blah, you know, whatever. All of that is done. What I love about this is not only does it promote efficiency, but it also promotes effectiveness. If I’m a candidate and I know that, that I applied on Monday and I get a notification on Wednesday telling me that I have moved to the next step and that next step is Monday, I am much more likely not to continue my job search by applying to a bunch of other jobs. You know, I applied to work for you. I can see that I’m moving forward, I can see what the timeline is, and rather than adding more competition by applying to more jobs, I think I’m a little bit more likely to just sort of stamp Pat and give you until Monday to, to, to, you know, to complete my background check or whatever that next step might be.

Bill (13:02):

And that is one of the premises that we fundamentally designed around is to eliminate the ghosting.

Steven (13:08):


Bill (13:09):

So that was one of the core ideas that drove the formation and development of greeter, which is people’s apply process is volume, especially with quick apply on LinkedIn as an example. There’s others. But, so I apply for eight jobs, none of them stand out anymore. And if I apply for 10 jobs and four of ’em send me a template at email, which is probably the right ratio, those templates don’t mean anything to me. So now I’m, I’m gonna continue down that process. So even if one of them gets back to me and says, Hey, we’re gonna do a phone screen next Wednesday, you may have been asked to do something else for another company. So you’re, your ghosting percentages go up significantly if in that model one of them reaches out to you. I’m in a very unique way and delivers personalized content even though it really isn’t personalized because it’s being done at scale and, and tells you, Hey, we’re excited you apply, learn about the value of our company.


We love people like this. Here’s a, you know, now all of a sudden out of the 10 you just applied for, one stands out. And that’s, and that’s the goal. You know, and as you look at the ghosting percentages, we just completed a study which will come out in a white paper next week of 200 senior HR leaders. The assessment process is about a 38% probability of ghosting. So if you ask, I’m gonna take a skills test or an assessment, that’s the highest chance for somebody to back up. If it’s done in a personalized way and you communicate them the value of taking the assessment, what that allows the employer to see in them and maybe offer them multiple roles or know really how to make the, their transition as an, from a candidate to an employee as successful as possible. Somebody’s higher, you know, somebody’s higher probability to take that assessment and see it as a positive rather than a a nuisance, which I think a lot of people sometimes see.

Steven (15:07):

We’ll be back right after this break. Welcome back to the high volume hiring podcast.


Regular listeners of this podcast will know that I’m a big fan of assessments done properly. And, and part of that I think you really hit on is that you have to show the value of the assessment to the candidate. The has to be to the candidate whether or not they’re hired. And so if the candidate is applying for a sales position and they take the assessment and you find that they’re naturally not yet qualified for that, but you have a customer service role that they would be great for, and so then you’re gonna shift them over to that role or give them the opportunity to to, to pursue that, there’s a lot of value there. You tell the candidate, you know, Hey, thanks for applying. Here’s where you fall short in our environment, provides the candidate with an opportunity to upskill. In the meantime, we do have this great role for you.


And if you do this customer service role for six months or whatever, then you do have those requisite skills for the sales role. So it’s, it’s very beneficial to the candidate if it’s, again, another black hole for the candidate, take this, we’ll let you know. If we care about you at some undetermined point in the future, no wonder they’re gonna ghost you. So shifting gears just a little bit from one entrepreneur to now another entrepreneur, <laugh>, what, what, what did you find were some of the biggest challenges that, that you faced in launching Greeter?

Bill (16:38):

You know, I think I’ve been fortunate. I have a f i I have a phenomenal ct o Tracy Adams has been a core component of the team. So that has been a, a, a godsend and a blessing really, because she’s been such a good supporter of growing and getting things going. I think we struggle with a lot of the traditional challenges of an early organization which is going from concept to product and what specifics in that product need to come about and, and, and the ability to iterate and think through and continually improve. So we’re at a place where we can, can deliver something of value. We’ve been fortunate around the funding aspect, so we’re, we’re, you know, we, we had a good initial start and we’ve got a good path to go forward. So but you know, for me specifically as a first time founder, there’s a lot to learn which is interesting and and, and patience for me sometimes is, is on short supply. So I’m like, okay, let’s sell it on Monday. And then, you know, it’s like, well, no, not yet, but, so that’s been interesting. But it’s been, it’s been, it’s been a great experience. I mean, so far the challenges have been real and there’s been like every entrepreneur or founder will tell you a couple sleepless nights. Oh yeah. But definitely definitely a, a worthwhile pursuit. I love it. It’s great. Yeah.

Steven (18:11):

Yeah. Well, and just, just keep in mind that the definition of an entrepreneur is somebody who would rather work 80 hours a week for themselves than 40 hours a week for someone else. So <laugh>

Bill (18:23):

That, and that is that is a good, that is a good analogy.

Steven (18:27):

<Laugh>, you’ve referenced a couple times, like, you know, some of the, the funding and, and clients. Maybe you can just share some of the more notable ones. So is that, so that the, the listeners have an idea of who, who your partners are and who some of the early clients will be?

Bill (18:44):

That’s, that’s a, that’s a great question. So in some, some stage where, where it’s holding on a couple of the customer names we are going to be testing and looking at working in the Capital One environment over the next 12 months and integrating with Workday. And so that’s a, that’s a definite part of our path today. We’re initially starting with Greenhouse, so we have a number of greenhouse customers lined up that we’re gonna be working with. Excellent. but we’re, you know, we’re excited to work and have designed our product work with a number of app contracting systems through that API integration capability that we’ve, we we’re using Merge, but we can also partner with some other organizations directly. But the goal independent of the platform is, you know, simplicity. I go in, I move somebody from, they applied to phone screen, that’s it. And our system takes, takes over the rest. So, so I would say most notable probably in the next 12 to 18 months will be Capital One and testing and deploying with them in a, in an enterprise model. And then with a number of Greenhouse customers as well.

Steven (19:55):

Awesome. Well, g couple, couple pieces of feedback if, if I may. One is it’s great that you’re working with Greenhouse. They have a, a fantastic reputation of being very inviting to, to partners. Some of the other ats it seems like they get pleasure out of making it as unpleasant as possible. <Laugh> for, for partners, it’s sort of like a, a build versus buy. They, you know, they, it’s if we don’t, if we didn’t build it, we don’t want it. And I think fortunately that’s becoming less and less common. It was much more common before. But I think the Greenhouse and some of the ATS are much more forward looking. They, they, they know they can’t or and shouldn’t do everything. And so they should create an ecosystem where organizations like Greeter can plug in for the clients where it makes sense. And the, that where it doesn’t make sense, then that’s okay too. So before we leave off one, one last question short and long term what are your goals for greeter?

Bill (21:01):

That’s great. So short term, our goal is to find a lot of organizations to use it to learn through that process and deliver an exceptionally powerful candidate engagement platform so people can improve their hiring process, you know, hire faster, better, cheaper, all that great stuff, which we, we talk about a lot. Long-Term we want to, you know, continually expand the candidate engagement concept. And we’ve got some ideas on the table. We’re not sure a hundred percent what that’s going to be today cuz we’re, we’ve got enough on the plate. I know what we don’t want to become, which is an at s system or a CR r M system. We see some great, some great directional for us in candidate engagement. Maybe adding some capability to source or provide a pre-applied candidate experience as well. But we, we, we don’t know yet. And so we’ve got some great ideas. The, the good news is awesome opportunity in front of us. A couple paths to follow. We will continue to evaluate and learn from the people we’re working with today in terms of what we deliver the most value for them tomorrow and make a smart decision based on that customer and partner

Steven (22:12):

Feedback. Fantastic. And, and for the organizations that have not yet had the opportunity to work with Bill, one of the, one of the things I’ve always found about you is that you’re a fantastic listener and that I think some of the early clients and other partners that you have, the Capital Ones of the world have a great opportunity because they’re gonna be able to really help shape this product. It’s not gonna be just like a one size fits all. They’re gonna come to you and they’re gonna have ideas that you never would’ve thought of. And some of those are gonna be fantastic and they’ll be, two months later, they’ll be live and, and others, I think you, you have the ability to be very diplomatically candid and say, you know what, that’s a really great idea, but that’s not what we do that I think you should be talking to your chatbot, you know, company or whatever for, for that feature. And that’s, that’s again, one of those benefits of you having been on every side of that table. You, I think you’re gonna be able to see where those things fits in fit in. So Bill, for for listeners who wanna learn more about you, about greeter, how would you like for them to contact you?

Bill (23:20):

That’s, that’s a great question. So by Monday, February 6th, we will have the next version of our website live. It will be going live next week. We’re finishing it right now. So they will be able to go to greeter, G R E E T and very soon have the ability to come in and actually actually experience candid engagement by just putting in a mobile number and getting a version of our platform to talk to them so they can see what candid engagement is like. So I would recommend doing that and especially if you’re a greenhouse customer but that would be a great way to learn about us and actually see what the model looks like and how it delivers value.

Steven (24:05):

Awesome. So greeter is the, is the very next place that somebody should go to as soon as this podcast is finished.

Bill (24:13):

Yeah, absolutely.

Steven (24:15):

<Laugh>. Bill, thank you so much. It’s been wonderful.

Bill (24:17):

Thank you very much.

Steven (24:20):

Thanks for joining us today on the High Volume Hiring podcast. I’m your host, Stephen Rothberg of job search site college recruiter. Each year we help more than 12 million candidates find great new jobs. Our customers are primarily Fortune 1000 companies, government agencies, and other employers who hire at scale and advertise their jobs with us. You can reach me at The high volume hiring podcast is a co-production of Evergreen Podcasts and College Recruiter. Please subscribe for free on your favorite app, review it five stars are always nice, and recommend it to a couple of people you know who want to learn more about how best to hire at scale. Cheers.

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