The phenomenon called “ghosting”, & why jobseekers quit responding

Job ghosting is when a job applicant stops responding. It can occur over different time frames and for different reasons, but ghosting always has the same end result a prospective employee disappears without closure. But ghosting goes both ways. 

The inverse of job ghosting is job-seeker ghosting, where an employer stops responding during the application process. According to the 2021 Indeed survey, 77% of job-seekers report being ghosted by at least one employer.

Job ghosting can be a major frustration for employers, especially when they have invested time and resources into vetting and interviewing the prospective employee. To reduce this waste, employers need to understand the different types of job ghosting, why applicants disappear, and strategies to keep job candidates engaged.

Intentional Ghosting

This occurs when candidates stop responding to an employer after learning something about the employer they do not like. Often, this has to do with compensation, the job’s location, or job descriptions that do not match the actual role.

-Mismatched job descriptions and roles

-Poor communication from employers

-Mistreatment from interviewers

-Invasive questions

-Lack of organization in scheduling interviews.

Another reason job candidates might disappear is bad press, or a poor online reputation. If your organization has any of the following, you may experience higher intentional ghosting:

Recent public relations disasters

1-Star online reviews (Glassdoor, Google Reviews, Yelp, etc.)

Low rating from the Better Business Bureau.

Unintentional Ghosting

Unintentional ghosting occurs when job-seekers ghost the job by mistake. This can occur for several reasons, and the prospect may be salvaged if the communication is rekindled. Some reasons for unintentional ghosting include:

-Missed emails or messages

-Interviews scheduled long after the first meeting

-Poor communication from employers

Unintentional ghosting can be avoided with consistent communication from employers. This can be as simple as checking in via email. If the candidate does not respond to the email, try different means of communication, like calling, texting, messaging on LinkedIn, or through the job-seeking site, they used (if applicable).

Why Do Job Candidates Ghost Employers?

Job candidates are ghosting employers for a variety of reasons. Here are some of the main reasons job candidates are ghosting.

No Investment in the Relationship

Many applicants feel like they are submitting applications into a void. Reports have suggested three out of four job applicants have experienced not hearing back from an employer after applying. After several applications with no follow-up, jobseekers may feel that job application is a “numbers game,” and feel no investment in the organisations they are applying to.

Today’s applicants are used to multi-step interview processes that result in a boilerplate rejection letter, at best. Employers and jobseekers alike have conditioned one another to expect little from one another and invest little in kind.

Time-Consuming Application Process

60% of job-seekers ghost employers because the process is overly complicated or time-intensive. A poor candidate experience can lead to frustration and lost prospects, so ensure your organization has streamlined the application process to keep job applicants engaged.

Avoiding Disappointment & Conflict Avoidance

Nobody likes disappointing others or being the bearer of bad news. Many job applicants avoid the professional courtesy of letting employers know they’ve taken another job, or that their current employer made a counteroffer.

Sometimes, choosing between two jobs can get competitive and candidates would prefer to avoid a stressful situation.

Ease of Application

Applying to jobs has become easier, but it is also easier to abandon the job application process. Before applications could be submitted online, paper resumes, cover letters, and in-person meetings required a bigger investment.

Today’s job sites often feature one-click applications, and a job-seeker might submit dozens of applications in the time it once took to apply the old-fashioned way.

Next on RecSmarts

Umbrella Vs PAYE