Why You Shouldn’t Ghost Candidates, and How to Stop Them Ghosting You

Written by: Lucy Walters
Published on: 25 May 2023

Why You Shouldn’t Ghost CandidatesIn today’s competitive recruitment landscape, effective communication and a positive candidate experience are paramount. However, a concerning trend has emerged: ghosting. Ghosting refers to the abrupt cessation of communication by one party without any explanation or closure. Whilst it has traditionally been associated with dating or friendship scenarios, ghosting has infiltrated the professional realm, leaving both employers and candidates frustrated.

In this article, we explore the ramifications of ghosting candidates and provide actionable advice on how to prevent them from ghosting you.

4 Reasons You Shouldn’t Ghost Candidates

Damaged Employer Brand

Ghosting candidates can have severe repercussions on your organisation’s reputation. Word-of-mouth travels fast, and jobseekers who experience ghosting are likely to share their negative experiences on platforms like social media and job review websites, tarnishing your employer brand.

Lost Talent Acquisition Opportunities

Ghosting can discourage talented candidates from considering future opportunities with your company. Potential hires who have been ghosted are more likely to reject any future engagement, hindering your ability to attract top talent and grow your talent pool. This is backed up by a 2022 survey by ZipRecruiter which found that 47% of jobseekers who had ghosted employers had previously been ghosted themselves, finding that ‘ghostees’ can quickly become ‘ghosters’.

Lack of Candidate Feedback

Candidate insights can help you to improve the recruitment process, enhancing the candidate experience and protecting your employer brand. Ghosting denies you the opportunity to receive valuable feedback from candidates who have the potential to add value to your future hiring.

Wasted Time and Resources

Ghosting prolongs the hiring process as it prevents you from building up a strong talent pool for you to tap into each time you’re hiring for a new role. By not having a talent pool at your disposal, you may worsen your time to hire, quality of hire and other important recruitment metrics.

6 Ways to Stop Candidates Ghosting You

Set Clear Expectations

Clearly communicate the expectations and timelines of the hiring process from the beginning. Let them know what stages they will go through, when they can expect updates, and when they can anticipate a final decision. This helps manage their expectations and reduces uncertainty and will ultimately increase their engagement in the process.

Engage Early Talent

Ghosting is reportedly more common amongst first-time jobseekers, with 31% of this group admitting to ghosting an employer compared to only 12% of experienced professionals. The needs of a younger generation workforce won’t necessarily mirror those of the older generations, so if you’re trying to bring more early talent into your organisation, you need to have a strategy in place to keep them engaged throughout the hiring process.

For example, Deloitte’s 2023 Gen Z and Millennial Survey found that the top three concerns amongst Gen Z were cost of living, unemployment and climate change. Think about how you can incorporate things like financial support, job security and corporate responsibility into your advertising, and even in the interview process itself.

Be Transparent

Maintain open lines of communication with candidates throughout the hiring process. Clearly communicate timelines, next steps, and provide timely updates. When a decision is made, inform candidates promptly, regardless of the outcome. Honesty and transparency go a long way in fostering trust and respect.

Personalise the Candidate Experience

Tailor your interactions with candidates to make them feel valued and respected, and to help build up rapport. The further candidates get into the hiring process, the more personalised your communication should become. For example, if you’re sending them an invite for a second interview, you could include a personalised note that thanks them again for their time in the first interview and references a particularly interesting part of your conversation. Show them that you value their time and appreciate their effort in applying for the position.

Automate and Streamline Processes

Leverage technology to streamline and automate elements of your recruitment process. Utilise applicant tracking systems (ATS) to automate candidate communications and provide regular updates. Automation helps ensure that no candidate falls through the cracks and allows you to maintain a consistent and timely flow of information, without you having to take huge blocks of time out of your day.

Keep the Hiring Process as Short as Possible

Streamlining the hiring process can help to reduce time-to-hire and enhance the candidate experience, improving candidate engagement. Don’t make the hiring process any longer than is necessary. You can streamline elements of the process by:

  • Clearly defining job requirements before initiating the process and communicating these effectively in your job adverts and descriptions. This will help you to attract candidates who closely match the role, reducing the need for extensive screening or unnecessary interviews.
  • Conducting initial telephone screening to filter out candidates who may not be a good fit.
  • Utilising video in the first round of interviews, making the interview more convenient for both parties.
  • Conducting panel interviews where multiple interviewers from different teams/departments can assess the candidate simultaneously, consolidating the process and reducing the number of separate interview rounds.
  • Preparing structured interview questions to ensure consistency across all candidates and to keep the interview focused and concise.

Remember that whilst efficiency is essential, it’s crucial to maintain a thorough and fair evaluation of candidates. Balancing speed with quality will help to create a positive experience for both parties.

Nurture Positive Relationships with Top Talent

Ghosting candidates during the hiring process can have detrimental effects on your employer brand, talent acquisition efforts, and employee engagement. By prioritising transparent communication, personalising the candidate experience, leveraging technology, and providing useful feedback, you can minimise the chances of candidates ghosting you and establish a reputation as an employer of choice. Remember, treating candidates with respect and professionalism not only benefits the individuals involved but also strengthens your organization's overall recruitment strategy.