The Ghosting Phenomenon: The New Trend Haunting Recruiters & Job Seekers

Ghosting has become a unique but negative trend that’s recently dominated the recruiting and hiring industry. It’s the Michael Myers of recruiting, a cold-blooded act of ignoring, purposely forgetting or avoiding the person who you were in recent communication with.

Today, more than ever before, employers and job seekers have been finding themselves ghosted by the other between the steps leading to a successful hire. In result, the feelings of resentment and distrust have gained power amongst both parties involved and the word recruiting has lately gained a negative connotation to it.  

What is ghosting, why does it happen and how can we solve it before it’s too late? These are valid questions with oftentimes simple answers put on paper, but complex to put in practice. Nonetheless, get ready to learn all about ghosting so you can better prepare yourself in case you’re ever haunted by this trend!

What is ghosting?

Ghosting is a term commonly used in dating slang. A person is considered ‘ghosted’ when they stop receiving responses from someone they were talking to. In other words, ghosting simply means that one of two parties, previously in communication with each other, disappeared without notice = became a ghost. When the ‘no-answer’ becomes the answer.

Unfortunately, the dating scene isn’t the only environment that is contaminated by the ‘terrifying’  ghosting situation. Recently, there’s been an outstanding growing number of ghosting cases within the recruiting and hiring industries as well.

In this particular ghosting situation, on one hand, we have candidates not showing up to scheduled interviews or the first day of their job ultimately leaving their recruiters upset and stressed out. On the other hand, we have recruiters who’ve stopped speaking to candidates and returning their calls amidst a competitive and highly desirable application process – leaving job seekers in complete darkness.  

Why are candidates and recruiters ghosting each other?

There’s a couple of reasons why candidates and recruiters can be ghosting each other today.

Increasing Demand: According to this Glassdoor article, our strong job market which has a low unemployment rate of 3.9% may be to blame for the ghosting behavior. On one side, recruiters are receiving an increasing amount of resumés through the various job boards in which they participate in and end up not having the bandwidth to reply to all of them, which results in ghosting their candidates. Candidates, on the other hand, are applying to tons of positions themselves (up to thirty in a week), they start feeling more entitled to not respond to all employers and eventually decide to ghost recruiters to save them some time or because in their minds, ‘recruiters’ get enough candidates already. In the end, we have a vicious ghosting circle caused by increasing demand on both sides.

Easy Way Out: There’s also a couple of ‘minor’ reasons that can result in ghosting on both sides. These can be candidates getting better offers, recruiters not accepting a given salary number, candidates simply not being professional, recruiters closing a previously open position, candidates who never really wanted the job, to begin with, recruiters avoiding unpleasant conversations etc. Again, in all of these scenarios, either candidates or recruiters are being unresponsive and ultimately choose to ghost to get themselves out of awkward situations.

How do we solve for ghosting?

One thing we’ve learned in our past is that we don’t solve something by doing the same exact thing we want to solve. In other words, we’re never going to solve ghosting by ghosting some more. Both recruiters and job seekers have some work to do if they want to fix this issue and want to stop being ghosted themselves.

Recruiters, let’s start treating candidates like they’re people and not products!  It’s always important to keep in mind that you’re still dealing with human beings with feelings, who are most likely (anxiously) waiting for you to give them some type of answer – a bad one is better than no answer at all. If you don’t have the bandwidth to reach out to every single candidate that’s applying for a job, start looking into technology solutions that can ultimately automate your processes and leave you with enough time to do as you please. Always keep a transparent and open communication with your job seekers and put yourself in their shoes. Feedback is more important than leaving a candidate full of questions on where they went wrong.

Candidates, let’s start being more respectful and professional. Despite applying to hundreds of jobs at once, make sure that even though you might not want that particular position, that you’re always leaving a great impression with the employer. You never know who they might know or what you might want in the future. If you can’t show up for all the interviews, or schedule all the calls, it’s time for you to re-think your priorities and pace yourself. Ghosting an employer is definitely not good karma for your future self!

Conclusion – break the spell!

Being ghosted by a person is not something we should ever be proud of or wish for someone else.  It makes us all feel like we’re not worth someone’s time and not good enough for them. Even though we’re referring to the same ghosting seen in dating, it still hurts and takes a blow to our self-esteem.

If we want to live in a respectful, friendlier world and be more professional when it comes to our soon-to-be or current profession, this is one of the most important trends we need to break and find solutions for. Open communication, transparency, and honesty will break this spell. Let’s be humans, not ghosts.

Leave a Reply