Why workers and employers are ghosting each other

According to a recent BBC article, 75% of job seekers have been ghosted by a company post-interview. Many are led to believe that their application has been successful only to find that their potential new employer suddenly goes silent on them.


It’s not just companies that are ghosting. Employees are increasingly ghosting back. This may mean that they fall silent after the initial interview or even fail to show up on their first day.


Whatever side of the interview table you sit at, many factors contribute to the inexorable rise of ghosting. Large numbers of open vacancies combine with high volumes of applicants (powered by digitised application processes) to make it impossible for hiring managers to respond to every single application. The rise of video-conferencing tools – which enable hiring managers to conduct more initial interviews than ever – makes sending personalised responses to interviewees difficult too.


For candidates, making scores of applications every day is now all but effortless thanks to quick and easy online job applications, such as LinkedIn’s ‘easy apply’ option. And if you’ve got lots of applications on the go, it’s easy to ignore the replies of some interested companies.


The meteoric rise of Zoom interviews also plays a role in ghosting. It’s harder to build rapport virtually than in person so it’s much easier – for candidates and companies alike – to simply switch off when they’re no longer interested. Somehow basic manners can be forgotten in the absence of the face-to-face element.


Clearly, in current market conditions, it’s impossible to send a personalised response to every applicant but, once you’ve got as far as the interview stage, to suddenly go quiet is disrespectful. For both sides, the further you go down the recruitment process, the less acceptable it is to ghost. The more time and effort an applicant or a company has invested, the ruder an abrupt end to contact will feel.


The article argues that the onus is on companies to reverse the downward spiral of ghosting. Once they have had contact with an applicant, they are duty-bound to keep them informed about the status of their application. They need to tell them of any hold-ups in the process when their application has been refused or the role requirements have changed, and provide post-interview feedback. This will help them to protect their brand, build positive candidate experiences and safeguard best practices.


For advice on how to communicate effectively with job candidates at any or every stage of the recruitment process, or on any related matter, please get in touch. With over 30 years of recruitment experience behind us, we are true experts on the subject, and we’d be delighted to speak with you!