Ghosting in Recruitment: When the Candidate Disappears


After a long and tedious recruitment process, you’ve finally found the perfect candidate. Someone who perfectly matches the requirements, performed exceptionally well in the interview, and expressed a willingness to work together. Unfortunately, at some point, your potential employee stops communicating – they cut off contact after the interview or don’t show up to sign the contract. Ghosting in recruitment is an incredibly common phenomenon. Why do clearly interested candidates disappear without a word? What can you do to avoid losing potential employees?

Ghosting originated from… dating

Each of us has been ignored by someone at least once, whether in our professional or personal life. The sudden, unexpected termination of contact by one party, without giving any reason or explanation, is called ghosting. Interestingly, the concept itself originates from dating. However, nowadays, it is increasingly heard of in the context of recruitment processes.

Ghosting by candidates – why do the interested ones disappear?

There can be many reasons for a candidate’s resignation from the recruitment process, from unexpected random events to fear of changing jobs. A common reason is accepting an offer from another company. People actively seeking employment usually participate in several recruitments simultaneously. If a candidate receives a satisfying offer, they are willing to cut off contact with another employer without explanation. What a pity! The job market is small, and it’s not worth burning bridges. 🙂

Often, the reason for ghosting by a candidate is their current employer’s counteroffer. This applies mainly to specialists or individuals with extensive experience or outstanding qualifications. When handing in their resignation, the employer may offer the employee a promotion or bonus, which encourages them to stay in the company. The candidate, not wanting to explain themselves to the recruiter who dedicated their valuable time, cuts off contact.

It’s also worth considering that some people are not initially interested in being employed. Sometimes, a candidate sends their CV even though they have no intention of changing jobs. The decision to apply for a particular position may stem from the desire to test their market value.

So when does a recruiter have an impact on a candidate’s ghosting? The most common reasons include:

  • Too long a wait for the recruiter’s response,
  • A protracted recruitment process or many recruitment stages,
  • Mismatch between the offer and the candidate’s individual needs and expectations or an unattractive offer,
  • Negative opinions about the company,
  • Unprofessional behavior by the recruiter during the qualifying interview.”
Ghosting by candidates

“How to prevent ghosting? Take care of the candidate experience!

The best way to prevent ghosting is to build a strong relationship between the candidate and the recruiter. Employers should focus on creating a positive candidate experience, which refers to the candidate’s overall experience when interacting with the company. It’s essential to accompany potential employees at every stage of recruitment, provide honest feedback, and respond promptly to any doubts or questions. This doesn’t mean talking to the candidate 24/7, but rather maintaining the promised contact – responding to emails, answering phone calls, returning calls, and showing up for meetings. The candidate should be aware of all the details of the job offer and have a clear understanding of the recruitment process.

It’s essential to aim to build a positive bond with the candidate based on trust and open communication. How can you show them that they are important to you and that you value their potential employment?

  1. Whenever possible, choose a phone call over an email. A conversation makes it easier to build a strong relationship with the candidate.
  2. Carefully analyze what matters to the candidate. Often, we talk about the offer, and the candidate nods and doesn’t ask any questions. After such a conversation, the recruiter may feel that everything is clear, and the offer is attractive. Nothing could be further from the truth. It’s essential to ask the candidate directly about their expectations, what matters most to them, and, if possible, tailor the offer to their requirements.
  3. Always ask if everything is clear to the candidate. Sometimes, it’s only when we delve into the details that we realize that certain issues remain unclear. There should be no room for misunderstandings. The sooner we identify the candidate’s needs, the greater the chances of successfully closing the entire recruitment process.
  4. After agreeing on the terms of cooperation, the candidate should receive an onboarding agenda, a brochure introducing the company’s culture, or a brief description of the team they will be working with. You can also organize pre-onboarding meetings with future colleagues to make the candidate feel like a part of the company.
  5. The candidate should feel comfortable when communicating with the recruiter. How to bridge the gap during a conversation? You can tell a joke or compliment the candidate. In face-to-face contact, a sincere smile is a must!

Quick and clear recruitment is the key to success

A protracted recruitment process can be frustrating. It’s no wonder that a candidate who has to go through several stages and wait a long time for feedback eventually gives up.

To avoid ghosting, it’s essential to shorten the recruitment process as much as possible. The process should consist only of key stages necessary to get to know and evaluate the candidate. Interviews with all decision-makers and all tests can be conducted in a single meeting. Feedback after the interview should be provided as quickly as possible.

The candidate must be aware of the full recruitment schedule. The recruiter should provide information about how the entire process will proceed, the waiting time between stages, when the final decision will be made, and when the employment is planned to start. If the previously established schedule changes, the candidate should be notified as soon as possible

Quick and clear recruitment

Ghosting by recruiters, or the lack of feedback after the recruitment process

Ghosting by recruiters, or the lack of feedback after the recruitment process, is a common issue. In an ideal world, no one would be left without a response. Unfortunately, we don’t live in an ideal world. Almost 70% of respondents in a survey conducted by HRK in the ‘Recruitment 2021’ report confirm that they regularly experience ghosting from recruiters. The eRecruiter report shows that approximately 1/3 of specialists receive feedback after the recruitment process, and only 17% of specialists are informed about the reasons for not being hired.

Why does this happen? Common reasons for ghosting include:

  • Lack of time – this is mainly due to poor organization of the recruitment process.
  • Lack of tools – contacting each candidate without specialized communication automation tools is challenging to implement.
  • Lack of knowledge about the reasons for rejecting the candidate – sometimes the decision to reject a person is made by a manager without explaining it to the recruiter.

End the ghosting of candidates!

How to prevent ghosting of candidates? First and foremost, it is necessary to establish strict recruitment and communication rules with all parties involved and stick to them throughout the process. If many people have responded to the job posting, it is worth using specialized automation tools to streamline the sending of feedback – thanks to them, no candidate will be left without a response. Remember that even a negative response is better than no response at all!

Unanswered calls should not be considered as a completed conversation. It’s worth trying until the end. If that doesn’t produce results, send an email.

The recruiter’s commitment can work wonders. Respect for potential employees and efficient communication at every stage of recruitment are essential! A recruiter who tries to maintain regular contact and build positive relationships with candidates not only prevents ghosting but also strengthens the company’s favorable image in the job market.”

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