Ghosting Job Candidates is Ruining Your Reputation

You may have heard about the practice of “ghosting”.

Ghosting” is defined as breaking off a relationship by ending all contact without any warning or justification, and ignoring the other person’s attempts to reach out or communicate. 

Dating isn’t the only situation where ghosting occurs.

Ghosting is a frequent occurrence between hiring organizations and job candidates.

One job-seeking friend recently told me about two companies ghosting her. Even after multiple interviews and touchpoints, no one ever reached out to say they filled the position.

Another job-hunting friend was dismayed that he hadn’t heard anything for 4 weeks from a top consulting firm after rounds of assessments and meetings. Eventually they contacted him requesting another round of interviews. His summary of this company? “This firm’s people processes are one big cluster $#%.”

Recruiters are busy. They are often charged with filling multiple positions at once, juggling hundreds of candidates. Candidates unintentionally fall through the cracks.

But that’s no excuse.

Ghosting candidates is a sloppy mistake with long-term consequences.

You alienate candidates from future opportunities. The labor market is tight. A candidate may not be a good fit for a current position, but could be a perfect fit for a future position. When you ghost candidates, you shut out talent from your pipeline.

You tarnish your reputation. Ghosting candidates is bad PR that will come back to bite you. Candidates talk about their experience to friends and family. They write and read online reviews. Research conducted by CareerArc found ⅓ of surveyed job seekers will share at least one negative review of a past or prospective employer.

You limit your pool of referrals. Employee referrals are an employers’ top source of hiresBut if employees refer candidates and those candidates are ghosted and left hanging, employees have no incentive to continue referring candidates. Why should anyone subject their personal referrals, most likely friends and family, to a negative candidate experience?

Create a positive candidate experience

Improving a few hiring processes will make the entire candidate experience more competitive and attractive.

Ashlyn Gorlin, Director of Talent Acquisition at Facing History and Ourselves, has instituted steps with her recruiting team to ensure good communication with candidates. She provides every candidate with her email address and encourages them to follow up at any time. “Job searches can go on longer than anticipated and I want to make sure it is both of our responsibilities to stay in touch through the process,” explains Gorlin. In addition, all candidates receive a “position closed” email once the position is filled.

Take the long term view. When you treat every candidate with respect, you build a positive reputation and a strong pipeline of talent for the future.

Marta Steele is a Partner at PeopleResults. Connect with her on Twitter @MartaSteele.

Marta Steele