Chelsea EatonSeptember 10, 2019
Topics: Recruiter Experience

Avoid Ghosting Candidates, and You’ll Avoid Being Ghosted

I admit it: usually, I love ghosts. As a self-proclaimed spooky nerd, I can spend hours watching different paranormal shows. But you know what I don’t like?


Depending on what generation you’re from, ghosting means something different to you. In the case of Millennials and Gen Z, ghosting is when you disappear from someone’s life. Go completely silent. Cut off communication. Leave the other person hanging. More often than not, you hear this term used to refer to romantic relationships. Nothing’s worse than your Tinder match ignoring your messages after a few good dates. “What happened?” you wonder. “What did I do wrong? Where did I make a mistake?"

Now, even though I’ve avoided Tinder like the plague, I have to admit: I’ve been ghosted before. Because, the truth is, ghosting isn’t confined to Tinder. In fact, ghosting has existed in the professional world for years now. A word just didn’t exist for it until we intrepid Millennials needed a name for our online rejection.

So, what’s second only to dating when it comes to ghosting (and where I’ve experienced it the most)? The hiring process—which includes both recruiters and job candidates. And it’s getting worse every day.

But, with the right tools and strategies, you can avoid ghosting candidates, and being ghosted by candidates.

When you avoid ghosting, you create a constant flow of engaged talent, so you always have enough candidates to pick from when you need to fill a requisition, and you bypass those awkward moments when a candidate doesn’t show up for their interview, or worse, their first day on the job.

I don’t believe you. How bad can recruiter ghosting be?

While it may seem like an unlikely fact, the numbers don’t lie, and ghosting affects every industry. According to a survey conducted by the Knowledge Academy, the worst industry for recruiter ghosting is finance, where 23% of surveyed candidates had been ghosted by recruiters, and the industry where ghosting is least prevalent is government jobs, where the ghosting rate is at 5%.

And, ghosting candidates can have an even worse repercussion: a destroyed reputation. As a recruiter, think of yourself as a public relations specialist. You’re the first point of contact a candidate has with your organization, and the experience a candidate has with you can make or break the hiring process. And, if ghosting becomes too prevalent, your employees may avoid making referrals because they don’t want to embarrass themselves to their professional network.

Now, this isn’t to say that recruiters are intentionally ghosting their candidates. I get it—between juggling multiple requisitions, obtaining feedback from interviewers, and waiting on action by the hiring managers, some candidates, unfortunately, get lost in the shuffle.

Ok, so what about candidate ghosting?

Candidates are just as guilty when it comes to ghosting— 20–50% of candidates ghost during the hiring process in some way, whether it be not answering phone calls and texts, or showing up for interviews or their first day of work.

You may wonder what causes this. According to candidates themselves, 65% of candidates say a poor interview process influences whether they want to accept a position with an organization. That, and unclear job descriptions, prolonged response times, and disorganization all lead to candidate ghosting.

Maybe a candidate had multiple offers and forgot to tie up all the loose ends. Maybe they’re just rude. Who knows, but recruiters can optimize their recruiting workflow to identify ghosting-prone candidates early on.

I’m convinced. So how do I avoid ghosting candidates and being ghosted?

Have a defined candidate journey. When you know exactly how a candidate should move through your hiring process, it makes it easier to keep track of where they are in the process and ensure they’re having the most streamlined and engaging experience possible. When candidates feel valued, they’ll usually stick around.

Know what you want to say before you say it. Email is one of the quickest and most efficient ways to stay in touch with candidates. But instead of typing out paragraphs of text every time you send an email, use templates! Templates make sending emails faster since all you need to do is fill in the relevant candidate and job information. That way, candidates stay informed, and recruiters can rest assured they’ve kept their talent pool engaged.

Tag, you’re it! Organize your candidate profiles in your CRM by tagging their profiles with relevant keywords so you can quickly figure out where they are in the hiring process and what kind of candidate they are. Are they ready for an interview? Tag. Are they shortlisted for the job? Tag! Are they a silver medalist? TAG! When you tag, you don’t lose track.

Follow up, don’t fall off. According to the 2018 Talent Board CandE Research Report, only 47.2% of candidates said recruiting professionals followed up after an interview with the next steps, and just 20.6% of hiring managers follow up. This has a direct effect on whether a candidate stays engaged with your organization—52% of candidates said they’d increase their relationship with the organization if they were given feedback on the same day as their interview.

Design a process and stick to it. One reason why candidates get ghosted is recruiters hit a wall with communication between them and the hiring manager. When HR professionals sit down and design a defined communication flow, they avoid roadblocks and communication gaps. For example, after an interview, where should feedback be recorded, and how quickly? When must the hiring manager make a decision on the next steps? How soon after a hiring decision is made should a disposition or offer be sent out? Know what’s next, and candidates won’t slip through the cracks.

Who Ya Gonna Call?

Say it with me: I ain’t afraid of no ghost! Use the right tools (email templates), strategies (define your candidate journey and communication flow), and organization techniques (tag!) to not only build a team of super recruiters, but one of top-notch ghostbusters.

Boo! Did this post scare you? No need to stock up on salt or call ghost hunters—we have The Essential Talent Acquisition Toolkit to get your recruiting process on the right track.

Chelsea Eaton

Chelsea is on the training team at Phenom People, where she works to create a positive learning experience for Phenom customers. She also likes to play trivia and listen to a lot of Taylor Swift.

Get the latest talent experience insights delivered to your inbox.

Sign up to the Phenom email list for weekly updates!


© 2024 Phenom People, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

  • ANA
  • CSA logo
  • IAF
  • ISO
  • ISO
  • ISO
  • ISO
  • ANAB