Going Ghost: How Recruiters Can Manage Candidate Ghosting

Recruiting is a lot like dating. You spend a portion of your time shopping candidates around, hoping that one of them suits you best. When you finally find that special someone, you want to do everything you can to keep them around. But, like dating, sometimes a candidate can drop off the face of the Earth without so much as a “see ya later.” This practice is known to many Tinder regulars as “ghosting.”

Consider yourself lucky if you’ve never experienced the emptiness of being ghosted. Ghosting recently gained notoriety in the dating scene. One person would end all modes of communication with another in the hopes that they would get the hint and move on. And now we’re starting to see this trend find its way into recruiting.

At the time of publishing, the current job market is a job seekers dream. With more positions available than candidates, job seekers now hold all the power. And with this power, they are disappearing on recruiters. According to USA Today, “Many businesses report 20-50 percent of job applicants and workers are no-shows.”

So how can you, as a recruiter, lower your specter rate? Here are some tips to manage employee ghosting.

Manage expectations

Take a note from your sales team, be a rudder; steer the conversation. Set expectations from the beginning and potential employees are likely to listen.

Something as simple as, “Here’s how my job works, here are my intentions and here’s what I’m expecting from you.” If you’re keeping your candidate up-to-date on the hiring process, they will be less likely to ghost you later down the road.

Allow potential employees to hold you accountable. This respect could be the difference between a ghost and a new hire.

Be open and consistent

LinkedIn’s editor-in-chief, Dan Roth, thinks the reason ghosting has become so pervasive among candidates is that “job seekers see it as retribution for all the times’ potential employers ghosted them.” Job seekers have been scorned many times before. Having a consistent dialogue sets the tone for future interactions.

Even if a candidate doesn’t land the job, a polite email detailing why will be appreciated. This is an easy way to be respectful. And with popular review sites like Glassdoor, the better your company is received online, the better you will be treated. That means less ghosting!

Let it go

Chances are you’re bound to get ghosted. This is an unfortunate side effect of a healthy job market. But you can make it better for yourself by letting it go. If a candidate doesn’t respond to an email within 72 hours, give them a call. Still no response? Move on! You’ve given them ample time to respond and your time is valuable.

At the end of the day, it’s not you, it’s them. Despite being great on paper, if a candidate lacks soft skills (like answering an email in a professional and timely manner) then they were never a good fit!

Honestly, ghosting is an indirect way of saying, “I’m bad for the job.” So break up with your bad candidate! There plenty of fish in the sea.

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