Recruiters are ghosting candidates (and vice versa), surveys show

Recruiters are ghosting candidates after initial job interviews, but some job applicants are inclined to return the favor, two surveys show.
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· 3 min read

Ghosting isn’t just a disappearing act reserved for the odd Tinder match or the bloodthirsty apparitions who chase Pac-Man through his endless labyrinthian metaphor for American consumerism. Ghosting—the act of severing all ties and communication with someone suddenly and without warning—happens between job candidates and companies, and perhaps more often than you’d think.

According to The Greenhouse Candidate Experience Report, a survey of 1,500 candidates by the hiring software maker Greenhouse, 75% of job applicants say they’ve been ghosted by a prospective employer after an interview. This tracks with a 2021 survey from Indeed, which found that 77% of workers had been ghosted by a potential employer since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020. And while it isn’t exactly tantamount to being left at the altar, the issue of ghosting just scrapes the surface of applicants’ misgivings about the interview process.

Ghosting the most(ing): If you’ve interviewed a candidate and then failed to call, email, or follow up with them about their application in any manner, then congrats, you’ve channeled your inner Patrick Swayze. But how does that make Demi Moore feel? Kimberly Reeves, an HR, payroll, and finance consultant at A Better Way Consulting, told SRHM last year that recruiters need to ensure the humans who apply never feel like the hiring process is becoming paranormal. “Are people important or are people not important? In the staffing business, people are your bread and butter. They’re your client, and they’re also your product,” she explained.

However, as resignations remain high nationwide—4.3 million US workers quit their jobs last December, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics—the broader Greenhouse survey results could be useful for recruiters.

Here are some things you might not be hearing from candidates after the interview process, according to the survey.

  • 84% of candidates and employees surveyed said they are open to a new job in six months, whether that means actively looking for a new job or being “open to new opportunities within the next six months.”
  • 58% of candidates said that they expect to hear back from employers within a week or less after submitting their initial applications.
  • 70% of candidates would like feedback after an interview.
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Ghosting goes both ways. Candidates are ghosting back, according to a survey from the people analytics company Visier, which queried 1,000 UK employees and 1,000 US employees at organizations with at least 5,000 employees, 84% of job seekers have ghosted a potential or current employer, or both, in the past 18 months. (Visier defines ghosting in this context as “abruptly ending communication without explanation in association with the workplace anywhere from the recruitment stage to starting a new role,” according to spokesperson Chelsey Omoerah.)

But, but, but…Sometimes ghosting’s good? Brian Hershey, head of enterprise strategy at the talent marketplace Gloat, told Visier, “If it’s not a serious conversation or a good fit, I think employee ghosting early in the process is probably a net positive for both parties."—SB

Do you work in HR or have information about your HR department we should know? Email [email protected] or DM @SammBlum on Twitter. For confidential conversations, ask Sam for his number on Signal.

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