Don’t Be Afraid of Ghosting: What to Do When Candidates Ghost You

This is it. After grueling weeks, even months of talent-searching, a worthy candidate has finally passed the recruitment process with flying colors. Finally, as the employer, you’re ready to give the final offer, shake on it, and close that one job posting. That’s a relief because, nowadays, it’s so hard to look for one applicant who will pull through in a widely competitive job market. 

But the recruitment process hits a snag, as the candidate no longer responds to emails and phone calls. Even after giving the benefit of the doubt and trying your luck again the following days, there is still no response from what you thought was the perfect fit. Unfortunately, you have to call it: your company has been ghosted. 

What is candidate ghosting, and how big of a concern is it for employers like you? While it is the applicant’s choice not to answer your communications, are there steps your company can take to respond to this non-response? Applicant ghosting can be highly frustrating for recruiters and those in human resources. However, there are ways to prevent or at least reduce its likelihood. 


What Is Candidate Ghosting? 

The term “ghosting” mostly has a romantic undertone, but it generally applies to the act of complete ignorance of any form of communication from one party. It doesn’t allow the said party to catch a glimpse of another’s presence in any way. Candidate or applicant ghosting is when potential or new hires sever ties with prospective companies, whether in the middle or end of the hiring process. 

Ghosting employers is unprofessional and not something a person of integrity would do. While we shouldn’t be quick to judge why applicants stopped replying to messages, a simple note stating they’re no longer interested in the job offer would have sufficed. Even if the employer doesn’t know the exact reason, at least there is a clear sign that the recruitment process should roll on again.

Candidate ghosting may occur during recruitment, perhaps after the interview or when the applicant may feel the application is not going in their favor. What is saddening, though, is that a good number of them feel this is okay. According to a LinkedIn survey, 95 percent of recruiters have experienced applicant ghosting, while 40 percent of surveyed candidates believe that the act is justified. 

So why do applicants end up not responding anymore? It starts with losing interest in the job as the hiring process commences. A poor recruitment funnel or job specifics not aligning with expectations (salary, benefits, among others) cause an applicant to think twice about pushing through. Personal circumstances can also come to play. Family emergencies or health reasons may be why they ghost employers. 

But why not even send a short message to say they’re no longer interested? There is a general notion that companies are hiring en masse, and their application is just a drop in a bucket. Since there are many applications in front of the recruiter, what makes a candidate any special? It gives them the idea that ghosting their potential employer isn’t really a big deal. 


What Are Ways To Prevent This Kind Of Ghosting? 

When applicants feel they’re just another demographic in your talent search, they really won’t think about informing you as they exit the application process. Constant communication must then be observed to make them feel valued and let them know that the employer wants them. Thus, when the unfortunate time comes that they have to say goodbye, they’ll be courteous enough to inform you about it. 

But before that happens, here are some ways you can prevent candidate ghosting: 


1. Maintain the Recruitment Process’ Transparency

Right from the get-go, inform the applicant of what the hiring process will be for them. Then, once they’re shortlisted, send them an email outlining the entire recruitment flow, so they’ll have references where they are and if they’re progressing. Of course, this means strictly adhering to set deadlines and turnaround periods, so candidates know what to expect and when. 


2. Engage Your Applicant Through Constant Messaging

Open communication is not enough. There has to be ample messaging to ask the candidate how they are after going through tests or interviews. Take note that 48 percent of candidates are not happy when they receive no updates from employers on where they stand in their applications. They are definitely turned off if they have had no responses from the employer. 


3. Show Some Flexibility

Sure, candidates may arrive a few minutes late for their interview. But these few minutes can be excused, especially if the candidate has had a good showing since the start of the application process. Another way to show flexibility is accommodating the candidate’s schedule and not imposing a specific time to do the interview or assessment.

An applicant seeing that the company is making some adjustments for them, leaves an impression that the employer really wants them. This confidence boost will help them go through the application and veer from any chance of ghosting. 


4. Study the Data: Who is Ghosting You?

Statistics show that male candidates are likely to ghost more than females, 90 percent and 68 percent, respectively. Applicants in top-ranking positions are also more likely to ghost employers, such as directors at 91 percent and company vice presidents at 93 percent. However, such data can be different from one company to another, so dissect the data from your recruiters regarding no-calls and no-shows.

When exactly in the recruitment process are they stopping from communicating with you? The actual step in the flow is a telltale sign that something must be wrong. For example, ghosting during the job offer might mean the salary and benefits are not competitive. If done after the interview, it might mean this particular step overwhelms applicants. 


But What Can Be Done When Ghosting Happens? 

Alas, the unavoidable happens! Candidates ghosting employers can be considered a reality already, so what do you do when faced with this dilemma? Consider the following: 

Have you exhausted your communications? If candidates lose an internet connection, they can’t reply to emails or social media messaging. Or perhaps a lost phone meant you couldn’t reach them through calls. Give it the benefit of the doubt and still try to contact the candidate. 


Know when to call it quits. This entirely depends on the urgency of the position being filled. It might be time to look for a new applicant. Even if the reasons for ghosting may be due to personal circumstances, a business is a business. 


Consider a do-not-hire list. Too harsh? Not at all. A do-not-hire list is a collection of former applicants and candidates who did not do well during the recruitment process. This list is then encoded into the company’s talent pool or applicant tracking system to prevent them from being employed within the organization.

A do-not-hire list will rid your company of the hassle of putting into the recruitment funnel somebody who has shown a lack of professionalism from the get-go. Yes, you can share this list with other hiring managers. If companies can share employee blacklists with other recruiters, what more is a do-not-hire list? 


If you want to hire professionals who have honesty, integrity, and innovation, let your recruitment woes rest in the hands of Georgia’s top staffing agency.   

Focus believes that success is only achieved by creating a team of well-treated and well-trained employees. We provide our staff with only the best environment for professional and personal growth, so they will be motivated and inspired to only find the best candidates for our clients. 

We at Focus have been in the recruitment business for 25 years. Be part of our ongoing success story today and beyond. Contact us now. 

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