Candidate Ghosting: Why It’s Happening and Proven Ways to Stop It

Posted by Ryan Frazier

While the term ghosting is synonymous with online dating nowadays, it’s unfortunately becoming a more and more recognized - and costly - phenomenon in recruiting. You’ve been through the whole interview process, decided on your top candidate and sent out the offer letter—sounds like a slam dunk, right? But for many employers, the hiring process isn’t quite as predictable as it once was. In fact, candidates ghosting employers is becoming a big problem, increasing by 10-20% over the past year alone. What’s more, according to a recent LinkedIn report, 95% of recruiters say they’ve experienced ghosting and a full 40% of candidates believe it’s reasonable to ghost an employer.

In a candidate-driven job market, this new trend is leaving companies frustrated and confused. So what’s behind this behavioral shift? The strong labor market could be partly to blame, with a recent Labor Department report finding that unemployment is now at a 19-year low. But according to experts, low unemployment is only part of the puzzle. For job seekers who have experienced employer ghosting in the past, leaving hiring managers in the dark doesn’t elicit a lot of guilt—in fact, it feels justified. And while this trend may be on the rise, there’s a lot you can do to improve the talent journey at your company and ensure that you’re keeping candidates engaged—and communicative—throughout the process.

Identifying the reasons behind why, and implementing a proactive strategy to ensure a high-touch candidate experience can help you significantly minimize the risk of being ghosted. Here’s how to put one in place.

Develop a transparent talent acquisition strategy

Attracting the candidates you want starts with a recruitment strategy built on transparency and communication. The best way to do that is to work with your team to clarify your business needs for each hire and be sure that you’re keeping candidates in the loop from the get-go. In order to manage expectations, tell candidates your expected timeline and give them an overview of what the interview process will look like. In addition to increasing the success of your recruitment efforts, this type of strategy can also help you tell your employer brand story in an authentic way that will minimize turnover. The best part? It could help to turn your candidates into your biggest fans and clients. In fact, 64% of candidates who have a great talent journey say they intend to grow their relationship with the employer—even if they don’t get the job.

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

When it comes to the interview process, the majority of job seekers agree: there’s nothing worse than being left in the dark. In fact, a whopping 48% of candidates feel frustrated by employers who don’t keep them updated on where they stand. The solution? 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. To keep things streamlined, consider implementing an automated solution that allows you to contact candidates without added effort. Above all, be sure to keep the lines of communication open and don’t be afraid to send a follow-up note if you don’t hear back right away. This is a great way to let candidates know that you’re not planning to ghost them and makes it significantly less likely that they’ll ghost you.

Shift the focus onto the candidates and learn about their goals

Many candidates can feel intimidated by the interview process, especially when hiring managers ask challenging questions about their work history, education or background. To help them feel at ease, create a comfortable environment by setting the stage for a genuine conversation, asking open-ended questions and finding out more about who they are and their goals. This is a wonderful way to learn more about your candidates and help them get a better sense of how you can support them in their careers—both within the company and beyond. It’s also a great way to build a strong relationship from the beginning and to know how potential employees will adapt to your company culture and fit in with the rest of your team.

Although candidate ghosting is certainly a concerning trend, it doesn’t have to negatively impact your business. By being authentic, communicative and putting your candidates first, you can establish a strong relationship and minimize the risk of being ghosted.  

Ready to optimize your candidate experience? Learn how to keep candidates engaged on a long recruiting timeline and why measuring early and often also applies to candidates.


Looking for more great content? Subscribe today!