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​“Candidate Ghosting”: what it is, why it happens, and how to prevent it

27 March 2023

By Jess Watts

​“Candidate Ghosting”: what it is, why it happens, and how to prevent it

The term “ghosting” gained popularity in the 90s. Originally referring to romantic relationships, “ghosting” happens when someone suddenly cuts off all forms of contact without explanation or warning. In the context of recruitment, the meaning is very similar; candidates “ghost” potential employers or recruiters, leaving them high and dry. In a 2021 Indeed Survey, 28% of workers said they’d ghost an employer whilst some employers also reported that candidates blanked them following an initial screening, and a quarter said new hires had “no-showed” on their first day at work. No matter the situation, being on the receiving end of ghosting feels awful.

So why is your company being ghosted? Are people “just not that into you”? Indeed polled over 4,000 job seekers and found the main reasons candidates ghost:

  • 40% received another offer

  • 22% said the salary wasn’t up to par

  • 15% were unhappy with the benefits package

  • 13% mentioned poor communication

How to prevent ghosting?

Firstly, having a structured hiring process is essential. It is imperative that the process isn’t too lengthy or complicated. We would recommend employing clearly punctuated proceedings with regular updates. A Robert Half survey reported that “46% of candidates would lose interest if no status update was given from one-to-two weeks post interview.” Having a thought-out candidate journey not only looks good professionally, but also can keep candidates interested/keen on your company now and in the future.

This brings us to the second tip: effective communication. Keeping in touch with candidates throughout the process and updating them after each stage will help hold their interest and ensure they know you are interested in them. Recruitment agencies can aid with this as they have their own structured process in which they regularly communicate with candidates for you.

Thirdly, a big draw for candidates are the values a company holds. Glassdoor’s 2019 Mission and Culture Survey stated that, “22% of candidates expressed culture and values matter most, while only 12% said compensation and benefits were most important.” Keeping to and showcasing your company’s core values helps attract candidates and keep them interested past the first stages.

There are multiple ways to retain candidate communication and attention, and it’s ultimately about keeping them interested and engaged. However, if after implementing all these things someone still ghosts you, it’s worth considering that they might not be “the one”.

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