Candidates Open Up About Ghosting

Almost half of respondents in a new survey say it's reasonable to ghost companies during the interview process.
By: | September 4, 2018 • 3 min read

We’ve written recently on the ghosting phenomenon among candidates and new hires—in an ever-tighter job market, some of them feel less compelled to show up for scheduled interviews and in some cases for the first day of the job (or depart without explanation shortly after).

Of course, ghosting is hardly new—employers have been doing it to candidates since forever. Think of the “black hole” that so many send their resumes into—even today, many don’t even get an acknowledgement that their resume was received. Then there are the job interviews that are followed by … radio silence. Candidates have been typically left to figure out for themselves that the company simply isn’t interested after all.

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Now a new survey offers some more insight into what candidates think about ghosting. Clutch, a business-to-business research, review and ratings firm, recently asked 507 full-time employees who’d started a new job within the previous six months about ghosting.

More than 40 percent said it’s reasonable for candidates to ghost companies during the interview process, abruptly cutting off communication when they decide not to pursue a job. Common reasons given for ghosting include job seekers accepting another job (30 percent) or deciding a role is not a good match for them (19 percent).

One survey respondent, Marissa Connell, told Clutch she ghosts companies that post inaccurate job descriptions or do not answer her questions about a role.

More than half of the respondents said they abandon between one and five job applications during the job search.

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Perhaps not surprisingly, job applicants view ghosting more favorably when they initiate it, compared to when companies ghost them. More than one third of the respondents (35 percent) say it’s “very unreasonable” when a company ghosts applicants, while only 21 percent believe it’s very unreasonable for an applicant to ghost a company.

Many of the respondents have some bitter experience with being ghosted: more than one third (36 percent) said the last company that rejected them did not respond at all.

Andrew R. McIlvaine is senior editor for talent acquisition at Human Resource Executive. He oversees coverage of talent acquisition and recruiting and also edits the weekly Recruiting Trends Bulletin e-newsletter and its associated website, RecruitingTrends.com. A Penn State graduate, Andy also spent two years in the U.S. Army prior to attending college and attained the rank of sergeant while serving in the Army Reserves. He can be reached at [email protected]