Why are job applicants ‘Ghosting’ potential employers?

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Wednesday, August 23, 2023

Ghosting. It used to be confined to the dating world, but over the past few years, we’ve seen a slew of poor employers dealing with this recent rejection, too.

What is ghosting in the recruitment world, you ask? Simply put, it’s when a prospective employee just… disappears. You can imagine the frustration: going through all the time and effort of reading heaps of CVs, booking and conducting interviews, and then finally whittling your cast of hundreds down to the perfect employee. But — oh no! — they’re no longer replying to your emails or phone calls. 

Ghosted!… Back to the drawing board.

Why are job applicants ghosting potential employers?

It seems so counter-intuitive, doesn’t it? After all, these people applied for the job! Don’t they want it any more?

Clearly not. There are many reasons why a potential employer might be ghosted:

  • They may have found another job offer that they are more interested in. This is especially common if the applicant has been interviewing with multiple companies.
  • They may not be interested in the job anymore. This could be because they have changed their mind about the position or they have found out more about the company that they don’t like.
  • They may be feeling overwhelmed or stressed by the job search process. This can lead to applicants feeling like they don’t have the time or energy to follow up with all of the companies they have interviewed with.
  • They may have received too many job offers. With the recent scarcity of suitable candidates, many businesses are desperate for top talent, and all the power now lies with the workforce.
  • They may be afraid of confrontation. Some applicants may feel like it’s easier to just ghost a company than to tell them that they’re not interested in the job.

Whatever the reason, ghosting is certainly a very frustrating experience for potential employers. Remember that it’s not always personal, and that there are often other factors at play. 

How to reduce your chances of being ghosted

Being ghosted doesn’t have to happen to you, so do everything in your power to avoid it by:

  • Optimising your application process. The longer and more tedious it is, the more likely you are to see prospective employees walk away into the ether. Make it as speedy and easy as possible.
  • Don’t ask for everything up front. This is a sure way to stress out applicants and put them off. Instead, only ask for information such as references and recommendation letters later in the process instead of all at once.
  • Make interviews faster and easier. Don’t leave applicants waiting weeks between follow-up interviews, and interview remotely if possible.
  • Maintain communication. Messaging your potential employees once every few weeks isn’t good enough. Keep them up to date with frequent messages.

Ultimately, being ghosted can happen to any employer as every person reacts to the recruitment process differently, but by following these steps, you’re far less likely to experience it. Good luck!