Candidate Ghosting After Interview: Here’s What to Do

candidate ghosting employers in corporate outfit
Candidate ghosting often happens across the job market. If you are experiencing ghosting in recruitment, here's what you should do.

Candidate ghosting is rude. 

Ghosting in relationships is trickier because feelings are involved. However, when it comes to ghosting in recruitment, I can’t help but wonder why people decided to suddenly disappear. Since it’s purely business, what makes it so hard to send a rejection email?

Employees being ghosted by recruiters or companies isn’t a new phenomenon. But now, the table has turned. Professional ghosting, in which candidates ghost recruiters or employers, is a growing phenomenon.

A study by found that 18% of candidates ghosted an employer in 2019, and the number was up to 28% during 2020. As a recruiter, note that in the current market, candidates have a lot of options. Besides, they have high expectations of the recruitment process and the company.

In this article, I will share why candidate ghosting occurs and what you should do when it happens.

Reason #1: They have a better job offer

employee having another job offer with employer

Ghosting in recruitment may happen when candidates receive a better job offer with a higher salary and greater benefits. 

Surprisingly, this can happen after the candidates accept the job offer. Some candidates are still actively looking for a job or interviewing elsewhere after they accept a job offer.

Reason #2: Poor communication

Liz Cannata, the Vice President of  CareerBuilder Human Resources, thinks that if candidates don’t understand where they stand in the hiring process or how long it will be, they may lose interest and conduct professional ghosting. 

According to a survey by Robert Half, 46% of candidates lose interest in a role when they receive no updates in one to two weeks after the interview. This results in them focusing on other companies.

Candidates may also ghost you if the hiring takes too long and dragging. For instance, recruiters keep adding more interviews along the process. A survey by CareerBuilder also found that 30% of candidates felt disappointed when employers didn’t acknowledge their job applications.

Reason #3: You need to amp up your pitch

Another reason that contributes to ghosting in recruitment is that you don’t describe your value proposition as their future employer. What makes it a great place to work? What benefits will they get? What’s the culture of the company like?

It’s best not to assume that all candidates are desperate and will accept the job offer. As a recruiter or hiring manager, you also need to promote the company to attract candidates.

Keep in mind to inform the candidates about the mission of their future employer as well. People want to know if the work they do would be meaningful and if the company’s mission aligned with them.

Reason #4: The online reviews of the company aren't good

an employee reading company online reviews

Professional ghosting may also occur when candidates find out the company online reviews. 

Accepting a job offer is an important decision. It’s more than just salary and benefits. Candidates will consider if they’d be happy working with the company. Thus, employers should consider online reviews when they receive applications on job platforms.

Most candidates read reviews online. So, HR should manage the reviews carefully, especially the negative ones. However, this isn’t the sole duty of HR. Founders and C-levels should also respond to negative reviews to show that leadership is involved and employees’ voices are heard.

Reason #5: They use the job offer to secure a counter-offer from their current employer

The nightmare of every recruiter. After all the efforts and time, it turns out that you’re being used as a counter-offer. 

So, you’ve tried your best but are still ghosted. Here are some tips on what to do if you experience candidate ghosting:

Send them an email that requires a response

Sometimes, people overlook emails. Maybe the candidates are applying for multiple jobs, and your email is buried or overlooked. 

Please wait for a few days for them to reply to your email. If they don’t but you’re still interested in pursuing them, send an email that requires a response.

For example, “Hi (name), I wonder if you read my previous email. You managed to proceed to the last stage of the interview when we discussed your offer. Does Wednesday at 4 pm work for you?”

Forget about them and move on

Ghosting in hiring is like a relationship. If you’ve sent an email that requires a response and the candidate doesn’t reply, that means they’re no longer interested in pursuing the role. Forget about them and move on. 

The truth is, you may dodge a bullet. You can see the candidates’ true character from the way they treat you. A disrespectful gesture like this indicates that they’re likely a bad hire.

Take note of their names and no-shows details

an employee taking note of ghosting candidate names

Professional ghosting can also happen during the interview. For example, candidates who cancel last minute or don’t show up at all. As a recruiter, I’m sure you have hundreds of LinkedIn connections and may not remember each of them.

Take note of names who ghosted you and didn’t show up for the interview. Therefore, should you need to find a candidate for a different role in the future, you won’t waste your time contacting them.

Or, when they return in a few years to apply for a job, you can notify them of their past actions and eliminate them from the recruitment process.

Boost your team's morale

There are cases when people accepted the job offer but didn’t even show up on the first day. Some came to the office for a few days then went like the wind. Whether the candidate is hired through a recruitment agency or an internal HR, candidate ghosting can cause a letdown to your team. 

Especially if the position has been vacant for a long time and gives your team high hopes. Find a way to boost your team’s morale and the most important thing, be kind to yourself. It’s not you, it’s them.

Summing up

Professional ghosting, be it by recruiters or employees, is unacceptable. For candidates, the action hurts them emotionally and jeopardises their financial & career plans. For recruiters and hiring managers, the action costs them a lot of money, time, and (sometimes) reputation. 

If you find a perfect candidate for your role, speed up the hiring process. 

Don’t forget to give constant updates and let them know that you’re trying your best to avoid candidate ghosting.

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