Ghosting is the art of disappearing without warning. The term originated with dating when one person stops responding to texts and phone calls leaving the other person wondering what happened.

This phenomenon is also occurring in the hiring environment. According to a report by Indeed, 28% of job seekers have ghosted an employer in 2020. During the height of the pandemic, when jobs were scarce, job seekers disappeared.

Job Seekers Ghost Hiring Managers

Some candidates drop out early, after a phone screen or first interview, but some accept the position then never show up. Reasons for doing this vary from getting a better offer, not being satisfied with the salary offered, or deciding the job was not a good fit. While these are all valid reasons to decline a job offer, they are not good reasons to simply disappear without a note or phone call.

Candidates often believe that ghosting an employer has no consequences. However, hiring managers are taking names to make sure a candidate that ghosted them is never allowed into the hiring process for that company again. Also, in many industries, you may run into the same people at different companies as they move around on their career paths. The hiring manager that you ghosted today may be the hiring manager at your dream job two years from now and have your name in a file.

Hiring Managers Ghost Candidates

Companies are not blameless in the ghosting game. According to the same Indeed report, only 27% of companies said that they didn’t ghost candidates. That means nearly 75% of companies are ghosting job seekers who apply for their open positions. Companies face repercussions, too, as word spreads that applying to your company is not worth the trouble. Top talent with options will bypass you when they are seeking a new position.

Fix the Process

Hiring managers have some leverage to minimize ghosting. Job postings should include salary and pay information. Negotiation can still occur, but being transparent about compensation will attract more applications as well as keep those who command a higher salary from wasting everyone’s time by applying for the position.

Make sure there is ample communication. Respond to voice mails and emails from candidates. Let them know where they are in the process, whether they are still under consideration or if someone else has filled the position. Being transparent with the candidates allows them to prioritize their other interviews or offers appropriately. They will also be more likely to keep you informed about whether they are still interested or have accepted another offer.

Professional Behavior Goes Both Ways

Businesses don’t want to be ghosted by a candidate who disappears. Job seekers want transparency and open communication so they can make the right decision for their careers. If your hiring process is resulting in a high number of ghost candidates, you can reach out to a professional recruiter for help. A professional knowledgeable in your industry can guide you from how to create a good job posting to screening resumes and presenting the best candidates for your consideration, as well as keeping the lines of communication open with the candidates as your process unfolds.