Ghosting: Your New Hire May Be a No-Show!


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 a recruiter who is calling with an offer.

Hiring strategies

Organizations are adopting better ways to find great talent.

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.


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What else can a 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 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. 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

Job Seekers: Hiring Managers have a long 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.


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Showing 4 comments
  • Amy M

    They do it because they lack manners and basic consideration. I write this after my hire didn’t show up today and I’ll be working 3 extra hours tonight to do the work I saved to incorporate in her training. It isn’t because she wasn’t treated with respect, or kept up on the process.

    I hate hiring people. All I do is spend time I don’t have on people that don’t show, don’t call, don’t email. OR they aren’t suited for the position and have none of the requirements for the position and I waste time sifting through 30 resumes from people seeking jobs in health care but applying for a job in manufacturing.

    I “can” kick my dog, but I wouldn’t. I “can” spit my gum on the sidewalk, but I wouldn’t. They don’t do this because they “can” but because they are the sort of people that would.

    • Ken Schmitt & Victoria Willenberg

      Amy, I think you have an excellent point here. It’s a choice. The choices we make reflect who we are as people, professionally and personally. While people are quick to say “recruiters do it, too”, that doesn’t make it ok. Ghosting an employer leaves them hanging in more ways than one, as you demonstrated. Not only are you scrambling to find a new hire now, but you’re stuck doing your original job as well! Not OK! I have seen a lot of changes in this area over the last few years, not all of it good. I am hopeful, however, that those who choose to behave like mature professionals will outnumber those who don’t.
      Thanks for your comment.

  • Tom

    I guess people are fed up of employers doing the same thing. What goes around comes around.

    • Ken Schmitt & Victoria Willenberg

      Unfortunately, I think you are correct in some cases. “What goes around comes around” may be the case here, but I’d like to add “2 Wrongs don’t make a right.” Hopefully both sides are getting a taste for how frustrating and disrespectful it is to ghost someone professionals (and personally, if you want my opinion). Personal integrity regardless of the behavior of others should be everyone’s mantra.
      Thanks for the comment!

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