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  • Writer's pictureHolly Hrywnak

Is It Okay to Ghost Job Candidates?

Ghosting isn’t just happening in the dating world anymore. As a job seeker, it’s not uncommon to be ghosted by a potential employer. Although the term “ghosted” originated in the dating world when someone would just stop returning texts or calls, it has become more common in the world of hiring.


As a recruiter, I want to do everything I can to foster a relationship with the people I’m helping find a job. Recruiting is a lot like dating; you have to know if the person is a good match, figure out if they’re compatible with your company and values, and find out if they’ll get along with the rest of the work team before committing to hiring them.


According to The Career Balance, the ghosting trend started happening in 2019. The history of ghosting in the hiring world started with job seekers ghosting hiring managers. There are a lot of reasons potential employees are ghosting employers. According to a survey conducted by Indeed, since the pandemic hit, 20% of job seekers ghosted an employer because they got another job offer, 15% decided the job wasn’t a good fit for them, and 13% ghosted because they didn’t think they were offered enough money. In 2019, only 6% of job seekers who ghosted an employer worried about the consequences. In contrast, in 2020, 54% were worried about the after-effects of ghosting, according to the Indeed survey. Hopefully, that means we will see a downward trend in ghosting among job seekers!


Unfortunately, there is a new trend of employers ghosting employees. Like I said earlier, recruiting is all about building relationships. Although a candidate might not be a good fit for the role they applied for, they might be a good fit for a different position or even the same role in a couple of years. The survey from Indeed showed that 77% of job seekers say they have been ghosted by a prospective employer since the pandemic hit, with 10% saying the employer ghosted them after an offer was made. While only 27% of employers say, they have not ghosted a job seeker in the last 12 months.


But why does it matter if you ghost someone you’re not hiring? If you weren’t going to hire them anyway, it doesn’t affect you, right? Wrong! Just because you don’t hire someone, that doesn’t mean you should just drop off the face of the earth. Everyone is busy. There are a ton of applicants looking for work right now, but taking five minutes to send a “Thank you for applying, but…” email is easy. By not doing something as simple as sending an email, a few things can happen:


  1. You could become known for ghosting - Bad reviews spread like wildfire. If you ghost your applicants, they will start talking about it, and slowly your pipeline of applicants will dwindle. Websites like Glassdoor make it super easy for job seekers to leave reviews about your company after going through your hiring process, and if you ghost someone, you can be sure they’re going to tell somebody about it.

  2. Referrals will decline - When you have employees that love what they do, they will refer their friends and family to apply for open positions. If you stop communicating, job seekers are less likely to refer your company to friends, family, or strangers on the internet.

  3. Fewer qualified applicants will apply - Industry people know each other and share stories all the time, especially if a company doesn’t treat employees or applicants with respect. If word gets out that you’re ghosting applicants, the people you want with your company will stop applying for your positions. This will leave you with less qualified and less connected industry professionals applying for your jobs.


We all need to remember that people still want to be treated with respect, and as recruiters, we should always be polite and professional to our applicants. Our golden rule of recruiting over here at Broadwing is “communication & transparency at all times” for a reason. Treat others how you would want to be treated! Don’t ghost your candidates.


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