How can employers reduce the risk of being ghosted by new recruits?

Wednesday July 11, 2018

Have you ever been stood up by a job candidate? Called and emailed them but to no avail?

You may have just been ‘ghosted’.

In the dawn of a job-seekers’ market, that cold feeling of rejection usually associated with online dating is becoming a common occurrence for companies who are hiring. And ‘ghosting’ is the name of the game.

What is recruitment ghosting?

Candidates are seeing a flurry of new opportunities appear daily. And with a seemingly faceless application process online, are less concerned with follow-ups or cancellations if something better comes their way. They save the bother of letting a hiring company down gently by cutting off all communication with no explanation. This is often seen as an easy way out.

Ghosting can even occur beyond the application process. There are instances of new recruits not turning up for their first day of work having accepted the job offer. The time and money invested in preparing for a new starter begins to add up, and all that remains for the employer is that hard-to-shake feeling of being jilted!

Some saw this coming, with many job applicants not getting a reply from hiring companies unless they were being put through to the next stage. Could employers be experiencing candidate revenge?

Or perhaps it’s a sign of the times.  As a new wave of recruits scour the market and expect more from their prospective employer. Reported reasons for not accepting a job offer include no evidence of company culture, no opportunity for career progression or a job spec that oversells.

If you yourself have been a victim of ghosting, you could be forgiven for thinking that your recruit had fallen off the face of the planet. But it is more likely that you didn’t quite hook them in the first place.

How can employers reduce the risk of being ghosted by recruits?

The good news is that there are some practical steps you can follow to help avoid being ghosted.

Scope out the competition. Eliminate your chances of being ghosted by checking out the job market. Is your offering as sweet as the next one? Could you use different terminology to reach your ideal candidate?

Keep it simple. Candidates have been known to drop out of the recruitment process if they are finding it too long and painful. Can you cut down your timeline for a new starter? If you tend to have second or third interviews, consider making the first one over the phone. Or send a skills test pre-interview to filter your prospects.

Sell yourself. Just as you expect to have a few people to meet, your candidates probably have a few companies to interview with. Are you telling them about your company culture or plans for growth? These are just some of the USPs that can make your company stand out from the crowd.

Read the signs. Are they slow to reply? Rearranging dates or lacking a certain level of enthusiasm? You could be dealing with a potential ghost. Consider leaving that job advert up a little longer just in case.


Have you been stood up at work by someone you were hiring? Tell us about your experience of ghosting in the comments below!

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