'Ghosting': The creepy new HR trend

Despite ghosting being a new trend, 83% of employers have already been ghosted

'Ghosting': The creepy new HR trend

Four in five employers (83%) have experienced being “ghosted” by a job candidate who either didn’t show up for an interview or stopped replying to hiring managers entirely, a recent study showed.

Popular job search engine Indeed polled more than 4,000 jobseekers and nearly 900 employers across industries to find out how the prevalence of ghosting has impacted recruitment.

How common is ghosting in recruitment?
Employers believe ghosting during the hiring process started only recently, with seven out of 10 respondents (69%) claiming it began only in the past two years.

Despite ghosting being a relatively new phenomenon, 83% of employers said they have already experienced being ghosted by a jobseeker.

Of the 4,000-plus workers surveyed, one in five (18%) admitted to ghosting a hiring manager at some point during the recruitment process.

READ MORE: 'Ghosting': The nightmarish dating trend haunting HR

When do candidates ghost the hiring manager?
The study identified different instances in the hiring process in which jobseekers tend to ghost recruiters. Here are the most common stunts candidates and new hires have pulled:

  • Failing to show up for a job interview (50%)
  • Refusing to reply to the recruiter (46%)
  • Accepting the job offer but failing to show up for the first day of work (22%)
  • Accepting a verbal job offer but refusing to sign the paperwork (19%)

Employers echoed the same problems, albeit at a slightly different rate.

  • Jobseeker did not show up for an interview (84%)
  • Jobseeker did not show up on the first day of work at all (65%)
  • Jobseeker stopped communicating with the recruiter without explanation (64%)
  • Jobseeker accepted a verbal offer but did not show up to work (60%)

Why do candidates choose to ghost recruiters?
It might not seem logical for jobseekers to go through all the trouble of applying for a role only to ghost their recruiters in the end. However, the responses from workers offer insights as to why they do it anyway.

More than half of candidates ghosted because they realised the role wasn’t right for them, while 40% claimed they received an offer elsewhere.

There were also those who didn’t like the offer from the recruiter, either finding the salary (22%) or benefits (15%) underwhelming.

Other reasons included the following:

  • They weren’t comfortable telling the recruiter they had changed their mind (26%).
  • They had general communication problems with the recruiter (13%).
  • They just didn’t know what to do so they ghosted (11%).

Applicants also expressed concern about the hiring company’s reputation and their overall candidate experience. Some of the respondents said they felt they were lied to or misled by their recruiter while others shared that the employer was rude or had a poor attitude.

READ MORE: 'Ghosting' and social stalking: Modern signs of a hot job market

How does ghosting affect jobseekers?
Some of the workers who ghosted said they felt embarrassed about what they did. They considered the act to be rude, unprofessional and irresponsible. Others said they didn’t feel comfortable about applying to the same company again.

Meanwhile, 41% of respondents said they were afraid their past ghosting might affect their chances of getting a job in the future.

But, if ghosting does negatively impact jobseekers, then only a very small portion experience its effects. The vast majority (94%) who ghosted claimed they never had any fallout from what they did.

On the part of employers, 70% said they were “moderately” or “extremely frustrated” at applicants having ghosted them. However, only 29% have strategies to protect themselves against ghosting. 

Some employers are starting to be proactive in preventing candidates from doing so. Some keep tabs on applicants who fail to show up (71%) and those who bail out on interviews (65%).

As the Indeed survey suggests, a successful hire sometimes boils down to how pleasant the hiring process is for a candidate. Recruiters can ensure this by establishing rapport with applicants.

Pip Eastman, managing director at global consulting firm Korn Ferry, said having an informed and responsive recruiter can help give candidates a positive experience during recruitment.

“Technology has allowed us to make tremendous strides in talent acquisition, such as the use of AI to source the best candidates for a role,” Eastman said.

“However, it’s the positive interaction with a recruiter and/or hiring manager that can make or break a candidate experience.”

Recruiters can establish their credibility by giving candidates the right information. They should be able to walk job applicants through the hiring process and provide them with knowledge about the job, company and industry they are recruiting for.

Eastman believes the best way to do it is by treating job candidates like customers.

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