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  • Nicky Webster-Hart

The tables have turned, now c.30%* of candidates are ghosting employers!

In previous years it wasn’t unknown for candidates to be ‘ghosted’ by prospective employers. Now the tables have turned and in the candidate-led market we now face, candidates are ghosting employers (and their recruiters too)!

What does it mean when we say 'candidates are ghosting'

Candidate 'ghosting' (going awol and disappearing without notice) during the recruitment process is increasingly common. It causes deep frustration for managers and recruiters who are currently struggling to find qualified candidates for jobs. Not only that it's not

One recruiter told me recently about a candidate who had applied for a role, even though she had already a new job (and signed a contract) to start the following week “in case this one was better”.....It is not uncommon for new hires who accept an offer, yet fail to show up to their first day of work (a whopping 22% of job seekers in one Indeed survey). Read more about the importance of onboarding here.

Candidates are ghosting all parties

But it’s not just employers that candidates are ghosting. They are also ghosting recruiters as well as missing the interviews they have arranged for them. If you've ever tried direct sourcing, you'll understand how many hours are involved in sifting through spam or miss matched applications. Recruiters put in many hours reviewing and interviewing candidates, building relationships to find the ideal candidates that meet your brief and are well matched to your company's cultural fit. When a candidate has not shown up for the interview and is not returning calls/messages - it lacks gravitas at best and is downright unprofessional.

Almost 30% of candidates are ghosting employers

It's a growing phenomenon in the professional world. According to research from, *28% of candidates ghosted an employer during 2020, which is up from 18% in 2019. Ghosting an employer or recruiter is one of the most effective ways to burn bridges. Candidates be aware, employers and recruiters remember who ghosted them. People move businesses. So anyone who ghosts runs the risk of having a negative reputation.

Auxeris has looked at what you can do to stop candidates from ghosting.

Firstly, communicate clearly and be transparent. Set some reasonable and realistic expectations as to when and how you will communicate throughout the hiring process and reiterate how important communication is. Set the standard and lead by example.

Set a good example in your communication style

Coach your candidates and set a good example of professional etiquette. Explain that you want to build a relationship with them that lasts throughout their career and why ghosting will be the worst thing they can do. Recognise that balancing various job offers can be difficult but a recruiter should be there to help candidates understand which is right for them both in terms of career and cultural fit. If candidates want a recruiter to partner them on their career journey, or to work with an organisation at some point in the future, they do not want to be remembered as that candidate who suddenly stopped replying to emails or didn’t show up for interviews - it will almost certainly mean no selection for interview.

What's the reason for candidates ghosting?

Find out why are candidates ghosting you or your organisation. There’s a wide range of reasons why a candidate may ghost and it's helpful to understand why candidates may behave this way. Typically they could be:

  • Outdated and too long hiring process.

  • Taking too long to respond to communicate next steps.

  • You have a bad reputation which they have just become aware of (see GlassDoor et al).

  • You are not paying the market rate and your candidate has an offer elsewhere (or is hoping for one).

There is nothing wrong with a candidate changing their mind on an interview, or being offered a role that they have decided they would rather accept. However, what is important is that candidates understand the importance of proper communication over interview attendance. When something changes, they should let you know immediately.

As a recruiter you can prevent many of the top issues form happening

If you are an employer - reduce the stages in your hiring process. Make them more efficient, communicate with your recruiter and/or candidates quickly and transparently. If you have had legacy issues with staff retention - own your mistakes of the past and talk openly on GlassDoor and other employee review sites about what you are doing to rectify those. Ensure that you are paying the market rate. Work with your recruiter to identify what that is, if you aren't sure of it has been a while since your last market review. If you are not paying what your competitors do and your offer doesn’t stack up then you will struggle to attract talent.

Reduce your chances of ghosting, partner with an experienced recruiter

Lastly, partner with an experienced recruiter (who at the very least will take most of the ghosting by providing your first initial screen). At best your recruitment partner will be able to sift candidates to those who are a good cultural fit, identify those who are potentially going to ghost, by finding the committed and not the window shoppers. They will also work to identify what other interviews that candidate is going on. By building a strong relationship with your candidate, they are more likely to hear should something change in the recruitment process for them (an offer, change of heart or other). They will also act as an extension of your brand, representing your business clearly to prospective candidates as well as answering any questions.

This is where Auxeris can help - we partner with you, as an extension of your business to attract and retain talent. Find out more about our services here.

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