You’ve found the perfect candidate for a position. You’ve talked, they were interested, the hiring manager loved their resume, and now you just need to call them back to get the interview process rolling. You call, but they don’t answer. You send an email, nothing. You call again, nothing. It’s like they fell off the planet, but really, you’re probably being ghosted.


What is Candidate Ghosting?

‘Candidate Ghosting’ doesn’t mean being haunted by the candidates that didn’t get the job. Although that would probably be preferable to recruiters. “Candidate Ghosting” occurs when a candidate simply ends their professional relationship with a company or recruiter without explanation and ends all communication. It is like they have turned into a ghost.  Sometimes it occurs during the screening process with the worst perpetrators actually accepting a job and just not show up for their first day! Ghosting originally became a thing in the world of dating, but it didn’t take long to expand to other relationships. With our world relying so heavily on technology, rather than person-to-person contact, it’s becoming easier to just disappear and ignore any calls, text, or emails that may come in.


Why Does It Happen?

Ghosting can be boiled down to a massive breakdown in communication. We’re not just talking about the moment when it’s on one party to say, “This job isn’t going to work.” We’re talking about the entire process when it’s on both sides to keep talking and remain honest even if the conversation is difficult. A Clutch study found that there were 6 main reasons why candidates may ghost: they accepted another job, they were ghosted by the company, they realized they weren’t actually a match for the job, had doubts about the company, experienced technical problems with the application, or they had a bad interview experience. While those are all legitimate reasons to not move forward with the process, it’s always best to be open about a situation.

Regardless of the top 6 reasons that Clutch found, every candidate and situation is different. They could take a counteroffer from their existing company, they could have something happening in their personal life, and more, and that’s why it’s so important to be proactive from the start.


What to Do to Avoid It

When you first work with a candidate, ask yourself: What could go wrong? If you’re placing for a position in Boston and your candidate lives in Cambridge, it may seem like that commute would be no big deal but it might be a dealbreaker for them.

Does that make your job harder? Absolutely.
Does it make your candidates less likely to ghost if you consider the small details that make a huge impact? Absolutely.

There’s no detail too small so if it feels like you’re being too focused, you’re just getting on the right path.

When you’ve thought of what could go wrong, you have to keep control of the situation in order to avoid those exact things happening. A little bit of psychic power would be great here, but we’re guessing that’s not something that’s up your alley. So how do you keep control? Communication. Be open and honest to your candidates especially when it may be uncomfortable to do so, like if there’s uncommonly high expectations at a company. Not sugarcoating things will mean that your candidates won’t try to sugarcoat them either.

Now we know you all have a ghosting story. Let us revel in the annoyance of it altogether and share your stories with us on Twitter!