Most people are familiar with the term “Job Ghosting”. If not, it is where a candidate stops responding to a potential employer’s communications. It happens for different reasons – both intentional and unintentional, but the end result is the same … the candidate disappears off the radar and never heard from again.

But job seekers are also being ghosting by recruiters. It looks like this: an employer has been working with a job seeker for a while, showing interest, but they suddenly stop communicating with the candidate. It can happen anytime during the hiring process, ranging from never hearing back from a company after having an application selected to after a first (or even second) interview.  According to a recent 2021 survey, 77% of job-seekers reported being ghosted by at least one employer since March 2019.

And worse yet, companies know it’s happening. Surprisingly, only 27% of employers admit that they have not ghosted a job applicant within the last 12 months. That means that 73% have ghosted candidates. As unsettling as it is, ghosting on both sides seems to be here to stay and is quickly becoming the norm in the hiring process.

How to Deal with Ghosting in the Hiring Process

It is no secret that ghosting, regardless if it is a candidate or employer … or the reason, it is a lose/lose situation for all parties. If it has become a problem in your company, here are some tips to reduce it from happening.

1. Focus on improved communication.

Many job seekers ghost an employer for various reasons, but the number one is when the employer stops communicating with them. As an employer, keep in constant contact with applicants that have passed the screening and will continue in the hiring process. For example, if you sent an applicant an interview offer, but that applicant has not responded within a few days, try other methods of communication, like via phone, text or email. The applicant might not have received the interview offer, but might respond to an interview offer if notified by a different communication method.  By not following up and once passed the scheduled interview date, you think the applicant ghosted you, when in fact the applicant thinks you ghosted them.

As a matter of fact, 63% of employers believe better communication on their part would reduce job ghosting.

2. Focus on attentiveness.

Be empathetic to applicant needs. Ask questions if they have any concerns about the job and ask them to speak candidly if their level of interest in the job has changed. If an applicant has ghosted you, make a concerted effort to try and contact them and ask why. It can be an eye-opening experience for you and can help point out parts of your hiring process that can be improved.

And if it was a miscommunication, the situation could still be resolved, and the candidate saved. But with the number of applicants, many times the company just moves to the next candidate.

3. Focus on transparency.

15% of applicants who ghosted an employer did so because they felt the hiring process was not transparent and they were not kept in the loop. Being transparent and upfront can help quell frustrations about how long the process is taking – a common complaint that 25% of the applicants give as the reason they ghosted. It doesn’t take much time to shoot off a text or email letting the candidate know what is happening in regard to their hiring.

As a real-world example, my son-in-law applied and went through two interviews of the hiring process as a department head of a global computer forensics company only to be ghosted by them with no further communication as to why their interest in him changed after two interviews.

Mistakes Happen

In defense of companies, many are receiving hundreds of applications for each open job. With that kind of volume and several jobs open at once, things can (and do) fall through the cracks. If you are in charge of hiring, keep the lines of communication open, your hiring process transparent, and be responsive and open to the needs of your candidates. You will see an improvement in your job ghosting numbers. In other words, treat candidates in the same manner as you would want to be treated.


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Kness retired in November 2007 as a Senior Noncommissioned Officer after serving 36 years of service with the Minnesota Army National Guard of which 32 of those years were in a full-time status along with being a traditional guardsman. Kness takes pride in being able to still help veterans, military members, and families as they struggle through veteran and dependent education issues.