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What is Candidate Ghosting and How to Avoid It?

What does the term “candidate ghosting” entail, and what steps can you take to prevent it from occurring to you? What is candidate ghosting? Candidate ghosting is when a job ...

What is Candidate Ghosting and How to Avoid It?

What does the term “candidate ghosting” entail, and what steps can you take to prevent it from occurring to you?

What is candidate ghosting?

Candidate ghosting is when a job applicant stops communicating with the employer during the hiring process. This usually occurs after the initial interview(s).

Some examples of candidate ghosting include:

  • Not appearing for scheduled job interviews without notice
  • Not responding to the recruiter’s phone calls or emails
  • Accepting a job offer but then not confirming start dates or paperwork
  • Completely dropping communication suddenly during salary negotiations

Essentially, the candidate disengages from the hiring process without explanation.

This can happen at any stage, from after applying to accepting a job offer. It wastes time the recruiter has invested and leaves positions vacant longer than required.

Candidate Ghosting

Why do candidates ghost employers?

There are a few common reasons candidates may ghost potential employers:

They found a better opportunity

Job Candidates may receive and accept a job offer from another employer while still in the process with your organisation. They may choose to ghost you rather than formally declining your role.

They didn’t want to deliver bad news

Some candidates ghost simply because they don’t want to have an awkward or tense conversation turning down the role. This is often the case if they receive bad vibes about the company culture or team dynamics during the interview process.

They are frustrated with the hiring process

Potential candidates may become frustrated by a lengthy, complex recruitment process. Especially if communication from the company drops off for a period. These individuals may disengage and focus energy on other job postings.

They accepted too many interviews

In the early stages of a job search, eager candidates may accept many interview invitations. As they progress through the process with various companies, they may ghost some employers to focus on preferred opportunities.

They lost interest in the role or company

During the recruitment process, candidates may realise the job advertised or the company is not a good fit for them after all. Not wanting to burn bridges, they quietly bow out instead of explaining this to the employer.

How to avoid candidate ghosting

While you can’t fully prevent candidate ghosting, there are ways to reduce instances of it happening and minimise its impact:

Optimise your hiring process

Lengthy, complex recruitment processes with long gaps between stages increase the chances of candidate ghosting. Streamline your recruitment process and timeline as much as possible.

Ensure each step adds value and communicates clearly with candidates. Automate repetitive tasks like screening and scheduling interviews to speed things up.

Build rapport with candidates

Candidates are less likely to ghost employers they have built a rapport with. Make it a priority to learn more about the candidate. Discuss their goals, interests, and preferred work style. Develop a relationship, not just fill an open position.

Set clear expectations

Be upfront with candidates about timelines, expectations, and next steps. If delays arise, proactively inform candidates before they ask. The more transparent you are, the less likely they are to disengage without explanation.

Get insights from candidates

Ask candidates for feedback on their interview and hiring experience so far. This shows you value their perspective. It also highlights any areas of frustration that may otherwise cause them to ghost.

Include necessary hiring steps

Evaluate whether every interview round or assessment adds value. Condense steps only to those that provide essential insights. This prevents candidate fatigue and frustration.

Use an applicant tracking system

An Applicant Tracking System (ATS) can help you manage your candidates and track their progress through the hiring process. This can help you stay on top of your communication with candidates and prevent them from feeling neglected.

Maintain regular communication

From first contact to final offer, frequently update candidates on their status. If you will be out of the office, inform candidates and provide a timeline for getting back to them. Unexplained long gaps of silence can lead to ghosting.

Give rejection feedback

If you reject a candidate after interviewing them, give them clear and helpful feedback on why. This will help them improve their job search skills and avoid making assumptions that could lead to ghosting future employers.

Maintain your talent pool

Keep track of quality candidates that you want to work with even if the original role wasn’t a fit. Reach out when suitable new job opportunities arise. Candidates that you maintain relationships with are less likely to ghost.

Offer competitive salaries and benefits

Today’s job seekers have high expectations for pay and perks. Make sure your offers align with or beat industry standards. Otherwise, strong candidates may accept roles with better compensation packages without notice.

Highlight your employer’s brand

Candidates want to work for respected companies with strong workplace cultures. Showcase your brand reputation, achievements, and employee satisfaction throughout the hiring process. The more candidates connect with your employer brand, the less likely they are to ghost.

Initiate pre-boarding early

Pre-boarding is onboarding done between the job offer acceptance and the start date. Get new hires excited by introducing them to the team, and company culture, and providing resources ahead of their first day. This sense of inclusion decreases ghosting risk.

Learn from past instances

Look at recent cases of candidate ghosting objectively. What steps in your process or factors in the role seem connected? Make changes to address these areas. Continue to improve and enhance the candidate experience.

What are examples of candidate and new employee ghosting?

Candidate and new employee ghosting can occur at various stages of the hiring process, leaving employers perplexed and frustrated. Here are some common examples of candidate and new employee ghosting:

Not appearing for an interview

One glaring example of ghosting is when a candidate fails to arrive for a scheduled interview. Despite confirming their availability and interest, they simply don’t appear without any prior notice or explanation. This leaves employers scrambling to fill the interview slot and wondering what happened to the candidate.

Not appearing on the first day of work

Another form of ghosting happens when a new hire doesn’t arrive on their first day, even after accepting the job offer. This sudden absence leaves employers confused and understaffed, as they are counting on the new employee to join the team.

Quitting without warning

In some cases, employees may ghost their employers by quitting without any prior warning. They choose to quit suddenly and stop coming to work without giving a two-week notice or discussing their decision. This type of ghosting leaves employers stranded and short-staffed, scrambling to find a replacement.

Not responding to follow-ups after an interview

After a seemingly positive interview, candidates may suddenly become unresponsive to follow-up emails or calls from recruiters or hiring managers. Not hearing from the candidate makes employers unsure about their interest and whether to continue with the hiring process.

Delivering poor-quality work before walking

Some employees may engage in ghosting behaviour by purposefully delivering subpar work before walking away from their position. This may mean that they are not happy with the job or are not committed to it. This can leave employers with low-quality work and the need to find new employees.

Employers should know about candidate and potential employees’ ghosting and take steps to stop it from happening.

What are the impacts of candidate ghosting

  • Cost implications – Ghosting can be costly for employers, both in of wasted time and resources. When a candidate ghosts, it delays the hiring process and requires more time and effort to find a replacement. This can result in increased costs associated with recruiting, onboarding, and training.
  • Reputation management – Candidate ghosting can significantly impact an employer’s reputation. Candidates who have negative hiring experiences are more likely to share them online and with their networks. This can discourage other qualified candidates from considering the company. Employers should strive to create positive candidate experiences to enhance their employer brand.
  • Talent acquisition challenges – In a more competitive job market, candidate ghosting can hinder employers in both attracting and retaining top talent. If candidates have negative experiences and feel unvalued or disrespected during the recruitment process, they may choose to pursue opportunities elsewhere. Employers need to take steps to ensure a smooth and transparent hiring process to attract and retain the best candidates.
  • Insights for process improvement: Understanding the reasons behind candidate ghosting can provide valuable insights for employers to improve their recruitment processes. Analysing and addressing root causes of ghosting, including lengthy hiring processes, lack of communication, and poor candidate experience.
  • Ethical considerations: Employers must treat candidates with respect and courtesy. Employers should prioritise open and honest communication to foster positive relationships with candidates and promote ethical practices in the hiring process.


Candidate ghosting can significantly hinder your recruitment strategy and employer brand. While you cannot prevent it completely, optimising your hiring process, building engagement, and promoting your corporate culture can minimise its likelihood.

Maintain great communication, provide transparency, and develop relationships with applicants. If ghosting does occur, take it as a learning opportunity to enhance future employee experiences. With some strategic adjustments, you can reduce ghosting and achieve great recruitment results.