Ghosting: Why Job Seekers Disappear

Are you suddenly being faced with interview no-shows, voicemail when you follow up, and even employees not showing up to their first shift? If you are, then your candidates are ghosting you, or suddenly ending all communication without an explanation. Why would a candidate go to the trouble of applying for a job — or even complete most of the hiring process — only to ghost?

Why Do Candidates Ghost?

Unemployment is at an all-time low right now. This means that skilled and qualified candidates can literally choose where they want to work and dictate their paycheck.

Transparency and trust are other important influences on whether candidates ghost, along with the company’s reputation and the candidate’s experiences during hiring. Some respondents feel they were lied to or misled by a recruiter, while others comment on the employer’s rudeness or poor attitude. In today’s tight market, job seekers aren’t willing to put up with bad behavior. Over half decided the job wasn’t right for them, and 40% ghosted after receiving another offer. Others say the salary (22%) or benefits (15%) weren’t up to par.

How to Combat the Ghosting Crisis

So how do you start combatting candidate ghosting? Here are some steps you can take to reduce your chances of being ghosted by job seekers.

Streamline your hiring process

Your hiring process should be quick and painless. If things take too long, a candidate may lose hope and decide to move on without notifying you.  Tell candidates your expected timeline and give them an overview of what the interview process will look like.  At the end of the interview, be specific about how candidates can expect to hear from you and how soon.

Keep your lines of communication open, and follow-up if you don’t hear back

Communication is a building block for any good relationship, especially between employers and candidates. Touch base with candidates early and often, letting them know when they can expect to hear from you and delivering on your promise to reach out. Some Gen Z or Millenial applicants may not check their email often or answer phone calls from unknown numbers so you may consider alternative communication methods like texting.

Honesty is the best policy.

Candidates sometimes ghost when the job they hear about in the interview doesn’t live up to the job as advertised. Don’t try to sugarcoat the job requirements or duties; be upfront about what the job demands so that candidates have realistic expectations.

After the Acceptance

You’ve made a job offer and the candidate has accepted. Now you’re golden, right? Wrong: Nearly 1 in 10 job seekers say it’s OK for job candidates to ghost after accepting a job offer. To boost the odds of your employees showing up for their first day, make your employee onboarding process as simple as possible. Have everything ready for the new employee to start work on their first day. Email them paperwork in advance so they can complete it ahead of time.

What if you get ghosted despite all this? Be sure to document ghosting in the job applicant’s file so you can avoid wasting your time interviewing the same person again in the future.

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