There’s been a lot of chatter about the rise of ghosting in the job market. There was a time when employers were famous for going radio silent during the search process, leaving candidates dangling for weeks or months. The tables have turned. In today’s hot job market, job seekers are exacting their revenge – failing to return phone calls, ignoring emails, and simply not showing up on their first day.

Ghosting employers

Now you see them! Now you don’t! Ghosting is on the rise!

Why are candidates ghosting employers? Because they can. Professionals are not desperately searching for a way out. They aren’t worried about their resumes landing in a stack of a thousand just like it. In fact, two-thirds of employees who left their jobs in 2017 voluntarily quit. Most were only passively looking for something new and received multiple offers – offers that were 15-25% higher than their current base pay. Simply put, job seekers can afford to be picky.

Unfortunately, “picky” seems to be synonymous with “rude”. It’s easy to argue that employers have been ghosting job seekers for years. Eternally long and inefficient hiring procedures left candidates in the dark. Stringing job seekers a long with interview after interview and then nothing- not even a phone call thanking the candidate for his time or informing him he is no longer being considered for the position. There’s no denying many hiring strategies have room for improvement. However, we would argue, “he did it first” is not the best argument for ignoring an executive recruiter who is calling with an offer.

The silver lining in this discouraging tale is that companies are finally revamping their hiring strategy. To improve the candidate experience, they are implementing automated follow-up to keep candidates up to date on where they are in the pipeline. Additionally, they are using video interviews to accommodate the candidates’ schedules.  To make their jobs less frustrating and avoid a wasted afternoon, some hirers have started overbooking interviews, with the assumption many won’t even show up.

Download our Ultimate Hiring Recruiting Sheet for more proven hiring tips

What else can an executive recruiter of hiring manager do in the “ghosting” age?

Be transparent.

Your hiring strategy is not a military secret. No one will accuse you of espionage for making it public. You will, however, build a reputation as an organization that values its applicant’s time and desire to work for you.  Simply informing job seekers of the “next steps” following their application submission, eases their fear that they’ve sent their resume into the dark abyss.  Simultaneously, you are preventing excessive “just checking in” emails and phone calls from eager applicants. Briefly outlining the process on your Open Jobs page (For example: application submission, review by in-house executive recruiter or HR, phone interview if you match the job spec, and in person interview) informs applicants where they are in the process.

Automation in hiring

Automation eliminates candidate confusion and hiring manager overload.


No expects hiring managers to personally respond to every resume or phone call. And with today’s AI technology, they don’t have to. Generating automated responses to submitted resumes, follow up emails, and even initial phone screenings is a simple way to ensure each applicant knows where they stand. We DO NOT recommend using an automated response for candidates who have moved farther into the hiring process. Once you’ve met a candidate face-to-face, they deserve a personal phone call (or at least an email) with some feedback… even if the feedback is that they are no longer being considered for the role.

Act like a human being.

Human beings communicate. They use (or should use) manners. They return phone calls and emails in a timely manner and are respectful and honest. Executive recruiters and hiring managers should do the same. Acknowledge the other person by closing communication loops.

Forgive, but don’t forget.

Believe or not, some of these people will actually reapply for the very same position. Even if they apply for a different position within your organization, they’ve already given you a glimpse of their professional side. They’ve already given you a clear indicator of what it could be like once that person joins your team. So, while you may forgive a candidate for pulling a disappearing act, their behavior has consequences and you have a looooong memory!

Job seekers, here’s a bit of advice for you…

Make the awkward phone call. Send the uncomfortable email. Be a grown up. Do NOT simply fail to show up on your first day or take another job without leaving your current one. Trust us, the professional world is smaller than you think. You are not doing your reputation any favors by “ghosting” anyone.


Hiring/Executive Recruiting