Candidate experience

Ghosting in recruitment: what it is and why it should stop

5 Mins read

Ghosting is a term used initially in… dating! It describes a sudden ending of a personal relationship without any explanation. Usually, a person who has been ghosted feels guilty, even though it didn’t depend on them. Nowadays, the term ghosting is trending in recruitment as well. This analogy shows the situation when recruiters don’t give feedback to the candidates, and the other way around – when candidates stop answering the recruiters’ calls and messages. Who’s ghosting more often? And why they’re doing that? Read on to find out.  

Why are recruiters ghosting candidates?

I decided to ask the LinkedIn community about their experiences related to ghosting. First, I asked candidates if a recruiter has ever ghosted them. Check out the results:

Ghosting by recruiters

⅓ of candidates admitted that ghosting is a very common practice among recruiters. Only 1 for 12 candidates received appropriate feedback during the whole recruitment process. The rest of them experienced ghosting once or twice. 

A similar survey was conducted by Andrew Seaman from LinkedIn News two months ago. His question was more specific – he asked candidates if they’ve ever experienced ghosting by recruiters after an interview. Two possible answers (yes and no) divided respondents into two extremely uneven groups. A shocking number of 93% of people voted for YES. Over 1K users commented on the post and shared their stories.   

Andrew Seaman post

As a good practice, we can identify all candidates’ feedback once every stage of the recruitment process is finished. Imagine you’re a candidate who’s in touch with a recruiter. He calls you to let you know that your application is impressive, and he invites you for an interview. During a meeting, you feel the positive vibe and that you’ll fit the team. You’re promised to receive an offer within a week. Nevertheless, you’re not getting any response – no call, no email, silence. Wondering why?

1. Someone else is a better fit for the position

A company decided to present an offer to the other candidate. But why a recruiter hasn’t contacted you? Even the worst information is better than silence and uncertainty. Maybe he doesn’t know how to share bad news? Or maybe he doesn’t feel it’s needed, as he’s already achieved his goal and ended the recruitment process? I believe it’s never intentional, but it may happen. 

2. A recruiter doesn’t have time

There were dozens or hundreds of candidates. How to contact everyone when deadlines are coming up and your desk is filled with CVs?

It’s understandable, yet you can automate sending emails and make sure that every rejected candidate will receive relevant feedback. 

3. A recruiter doesn’t have the right tools

As mentioned above, you can automate some activities thanks to the useful tools. Yet, some systems offer automatic messages with no personalization and customization options. Such generic emails can influence the candidate experience negatively. 

4. A recruiter doesn’t know the real cause of rejection

When it comes to recruitment processes run for clients, a client chooses the best candidates who’ll be invited to the interviews. Nevertheless, your client didn’t explain his reasons. In such a situation, it’s hard to give real feedback to the candidates. Many recruiters rely on the job ad’s information that they’re going to contact only chosen candidates. 

How to prevent ghosting candidates?

Are you a recruiter, and sometimes you disappear and stop contacting candidates? Do you want to change that and improve the candidate experience? 

Rule number 1 –  don’t abandon the recruitment process once you find a perfect match. Make sure that every candidate who sent a job application receives feedback. 

Rule number 2 – keep your promises. If you said you’re going to come back with a response by the end of the week – contact the candidate even if the recruitment decision hasn’t been made yet. Let candidates know that you’re still waiting for the client’s feedback, apologize for the delay, and determine a new deadline for the response. 

Rule number 3 – if a candidate didn’t pick up a phone when you called, don’t consider it as a conducted conversation. Don’t make excuses; instead, try to call them at different times, for example, after business hours. Moreover, you can always send an email and suggest scheduling a phone call. 

Pro tip: use an applicant tracking system to automate your communication, but make it personal as well! Effective ATS provides automatic emails with customization and personalization features to improve candidate experience and save time. 

Try out Traffit for free so that you won’t ghost a candidate ever again! 

Why are candidates ghosting?

A few days later, I asked recruiters about their experiences in being ghosted by candidates to learn more about their perspective on the topic. 

Ghosting by candidates

As I found out, nearly half of the recruiters admit that ghosting happens all the time. The other half experiences it from time to time. Just 1 of 25 recruiters have never been ghosted at all. What are the reasons for ghosting when it comes to the candidates?

1. A candidate got another job

A candidate who’s actively looking for a job sends a lot of CVs daily. Once he gets a dream job, he doesn’t care about maintaining a relationship with the other recruiters, which can be harmful in his future recruitments processes.  

2. A current employer convinced a candidate to stay 

When candidates receive satisfying financial offers, they give notice of termination of the employment contract. Sometimes, current employers negotiate the agreement to keep the employees in their companies. When candidates decide to continue working for the current employer – very, they often abandon ongoing recruitment processes, sometimes without even noticing the recruiters. 

3. A candidate doesn’t really care about the new position

From the beginning, they were applying for a job without the real motivation to change it. Sometimes candidates can simply check if their competencies are valuable in the labor market. Such candidates are won’t likely to respond to recruiters as they don’t plan to start a new job at that moment. 

4. A candidate didn’t get a satisfying offer

When candidates spent a lot of time on the hiring processes and got engaged only to find out that the potential salary is way below their expectations – they might simply feel frustrated and stop responding. 

How to prevent ghosting by candidates? 

In your job advertisement, as well as your whole communication with candidates, place your personal contact information. Show candidates that you’re not going to avoid contact, and you’re open to conversation. It can be worth adding your photo to the ads so that you can highlight your personal approach. As they’ll see a human face behind the company, they can feel more obligated to respond to your messages and calls. 

Most of all, treat others like you’d like to be treated. Don’t ghost if you don’t want to be ghosted by candidates. Answer calls and always respond to emails as fast as you can. Be transparent and give valuable feedback. In your job ads, estimate the offered position’s financial scope, so that candidates can decide whether applying for this job is worth the effort. 


Many of us wish to avoid conducting difficult conversations. As recruiters, we cannot completely eliminate ghosting by candidates, but we can always commit to deliver responses. At Traffit, we’re challenging all the recruiters to use the #wedontghost hashtag in their job description ads to show their resolution. That way, we’d like to encourage recruiters to improve candidate experience and create a better HR environment.


Are you eager to learn more? Check out HR trends for the next year!

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