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We keep hearing it across industries, with positions at all levels. Hiring managers are bewildered. Recruiters just shrug their shoulders and shake their heads. People seem ready, even eager for a job, but when the employer is ready to make an offer, suddenly they’re nowhere to be found. If this has happened to you, you’ve probably been ghosted.

What is Candidate Ghosting?

Candidate ghosting is just what it sounds like. An individual fills out an application or submits a resume. He or she may seem enthusiastic at a job fair or during an interview. Then suddenly, it’s like they’re vaporized.

They don’t answer their phone. Email and voicemails get ignored. Who knows how they feel about any job offers, or if they even received them, because they’re incommunicado.

Ghosting can happen at any stage. Some applicants are never heard from after the initial contact. Others agree to interviews but never show up. For employers, it’s frustrating at any stage because it stalls the process. It can also cause you to second-guess your instincts when you thought someone was interested only to find they don’t care enough about the opportunity to bother with professional communication.

Why Candidates Ghost

Why did they even apply if they don’t want the job? Hiring managers around the globe are asking themselves and others some variation of this question.

The strong labor market is part of the issue. Employers need workers, so qualified individuals often have multiple options to choose from. They may have ghosted you because they received a better offer, accepted it, and didn’t think it was necessary to let you know they’re no longer interested in being considered for your opening.

Sometimes candidates ghost because they found something off-putting during an interaction with your organization. Perhaps in-person statements didn’t line up with the job description or they felt like management was rude during an interview.

Candidates ghost when they feel salary and benefits don’t line up with expectations. They might submit a resume with preconceived ideas about what the position would involve, then lose interest when they find it doesn’t provide what they feel is fair compensation for the work involved.

Also, candidates experience ghosting from employers, so they think it’s only fair. It’s common to send in scores of applications and never hear anything from most of the recipients. Unfortunately, it’s also normal to prepare extensively for and attend an interview, wait on pins and needles, send follow-up communication and still never receive an update. Two wrongs don’t make a right, but some candidates figure what goes around comes around.

What to Do About Ghosting

To employers, ghosting seems like a lack of basic courtesy and professionalism. To candidates, it’s more like karma. If they feel like companies don’t genuinely value their time and care about helping them reach their potential, they feel justified when they walk away without looking back.

If candidates are looking for work, you’re probably not the only employer they’re talking to. Once they decide they’re no longer interested in what you have to offer, you probably won’t be able to get them back. Prevent ghosting by being proactive.

  • Act quickly – Know exactly what you’re looking for before you post the job. Then, move forward as quickly as prudently possible. If something comes up where you have to delay making a decision, let applicants know you’re still deliberating and hope to get back with them soon.

  • Communicate frequently - Respond immediately when you receive an application or resume to let candidates know you appreciate their time and interest. After interviews, send a positive message that includes information about next steps.

  • Be transparent and competitive with pay – Nobody wants to work for less than they feel they’re worth. Avoid misunderstandings by posting salary ranges with the job description whenever possible. If you don’t want to post dollar amounts, have those conversations early in the hiring process. Know what the competition offers and find ways to sweeten the deal.

Stop Chasing Ghosts

At Brelsford Personnel, we’ve been at it far too long to be afraid of ghosts. We don’t have proton packs or ecto-goggles, but we do have decades of experience, so when you need openings filled, who ya gonna call?

Stop wasting time chasing after candidates who don’t want to be found and let us do the hard work involved in finding and vetting quality candidates. Contact us today to learn more about our services for employers.