Candidate experience
October 28, 2020

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

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Ever lost candidates without any apparent reason? Or maybe it happened to you that you just didn’t manage to update every person you had in your hiring process?

Ghosting seems to be on the rise, and you need to be prepared – the person you want to hire can ignore you at some point, despite your best effort. Let’s find out more!

What is ghosting?

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 talent acquisition as well. This analogy shows the situation when prospective employers leave their candidates without any information and the other way around – when job seekers stop answering the recruiters’ calls and messages.

Why are recruiters ghosting candidates?

I decided to ask the LinkedIn community about their experiences related to ghosting. So first, I asked job seekers if a recruiter had ever ghosted them.

⅓ of candidates admitted that ghosting is a prevalent practice among recruiters. Only 1 in 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 job seekers 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.

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 a 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 finish the hiring process and 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 happens.

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.

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

Keep all your candidates in the loop

Don’t abandon the recruitment process once you find a perfect match. Make sure that every candidate who sent a job application and didn’t make it receives a candidate rejection email.

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 feedback from the client or hiring manager, apologize for the delay, and determine a new deadline for the response.

Look for convenient ways of communicating

If a candidate didn’t pick up your phone calls, 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 them an email and suggest scheduling a phone call.

Support your hiring process with tools

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.

Also, you can let your hiring manager take a look at the applicants’ profiles and leave notes, so the interview process goes smoothly.

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

Why do job seekers ghost?

A few days later, I asked recruiters about their experiences of being ghosted by candidates to find out data on the topic.

As I found out, nearly half of the employers reported 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 job seeker? Let’s see the audience insights.

1. A candidate got another job

Candidates who are actively looking for a job send a lot of CVs daily. Once they accept a dream job, they don’t care about maintaining a relationship with the other recruiters, as they are no longer interested in the job market. Of course, it can backfire on the job seeker in future recruitments processes.

2. The 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 their current employer, they often abandon the ongoing recruiting process, sometimes without even noticing the recruiters.

3. A candidate doesn’t really want the new position

From the beginning, they were applying for jobs without the real motivation to change it. Sometimes candidates can simply check if their competencies are valuable in the labor market. Such candidates aren’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 lose interest. Depending on the industry and sector, this reason for candidate ghosting might be more common, as the current market needs their skills.

How to prevent ghosting by candidates?

Set clear expectations

When presenting your job offer, include as many details as possible. For example, you can share:

  • the salary range,
  • used technologies or tools,
  • short description of the daily tasks,

Also, make sure to describe your hiring process: stages and duration.

That’s how your candidates know what to expect and won’t be disappointed.

Keep your recruitment process short

A hiring process that lasts weeks can turn your candidates off – or they can find another prospective employer in the meantime. Focus with your team on the essential steps of the recruiting process.

Take care of your candidate experience

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 interview feedback – ideally, with the help of your hiring manager.

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 are more likely to respond to your messages and calls.


Sometimes, ghosting occurs, and we can’t do anything about it. Still, we can decide not to ghost our candidates and commit to delivering responses.

At TRAFFIT, we challenge all the recruiters to use the #wedontghost hashtag in their job description ads to show their resolution. That way, we’d like to encourage companies to improve candidate experience and create a better HR environment.

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