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Ghost-busting in 2024

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Ghosting can also harm the company’s ability to retain its employees. If job seekers who were ghosted end up working for a competitor, they may be less likely to refer friends and colleagues to their former company.

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As we step into 2024, it’s time for HR leaders to reflect on their recruitment practices and make necessary changes to enhance the candidate experience. One such practice that needs immediate attention is ‘ghosting’ – the act of abruptly ceasing communication with job applicants without any explanation.

This phenomenon, unfortunately, has become all too common in the recruitment process, causing frustration and disappointment among job seekers. However, the negative impact of ghosting extends beyond the candidates; it also harms employers in several ways.

Ghosting can lead to a negative candidate experience, which can significantly damage an employer’s reputation. Job seekers often share their experiences with friends, family, and social media networks. A poor candidate experience can dissuade highly qualified candidates from applying for open positions at the company and even lead to negative reviews on employer review websites.

Moreover, ghosting can make it difficult for companies to attract top talent. It can result in poor reviews on online platforms such as Glassdoor, which can negatively impact the employer brand and deter highly qualified candidates from applying for future job openings.

Ghosting can also harm the company’s ability to retain its employees. If job seekers who were ghosted end up working for a competitor, they may be less likely to refer friends and colleagues to their former company. This could lead to lower employee referrals and higher recruiting costs for the company.

Why ghosting happens:

  1. Candidate Reasons: Candidates ghost for various reasons. A significant 46% cite an impersonal interview process as the cause. Other factors include receiving more attractive job offers (28%), role misrepresentation (27%), negative company reviews online (26%), and a dislike of the perceived workplace culture (22%)​​.
  2. Recruiter Reasons: On the other side, recruiters also ghost candidates due to volume overwhelm, shifting priorities, communication breakdown, and avoidance of delivering unfavorable news. This has led to a disturbing trend, particularly impacting applicants of color, who find themselves ghosted at higher rates, raising concerns about inherent biases​​.

To prevent HR ghosting, HR leaders should implement the following practices:

Navigating the Ghosting Maze: Strategies for HR Leaders

  1. Effective Communication: Maintain open and transparent communication throughout the recruitment process. Regular updates and clear feedback can build trust and reduce ghosting​​. Automated email templates can be used to keep candidates informed of their status in the hiring process.
  2. Realistic Expectations: Setting clear expectations early in the recruitment process, including timelines and stages, can manage candidate expectations and reduce uncertainty​​. This can reduce anxiety and stress for job seekers and help them plan their job search effectively.
  3. Fostering Personal Connections: Building a rapport with candidates by showing genuine interest in their career goals and aspirations can make them more likely to communicate honestly​​. This can be achieved by using their name in emails, sharing information about the company’s culture, and acknowledging any specific skills or experience that the candidate brings to the table.
  4. Provide Closure: Even if the candidate has been rejected for the position, employers should provide closure to job seekers. This can be done by sending a personalized email that thanks the candidate for their time and interest in the company, provides feedback on their interview, and invites them to apply for future job openings.
  5. Adaptability in Hiring Practices: With the evolving job market and the rise of AI in recruitment, adaptability and vigilance against bias are crucial. AI tools, while efficient, can perpetuate unconscious biases if not carefully managed​​​​.
  6. Focus on DEI: Emphasizing diversity, equity, and inclusion in recruitment is essential. As more Gen Z’ers enter the labor market, there’s a growing demand for fair and inclusive workplaces​​.
  7. Pay Transparency: With new legislations pushing for pay transparency, being open about salary ranges in job postings can improve candidate experience and foster a fair job market​​.

HR leaders who engage in ghosting risk harming their employer brand, reducing employee referrals, and increasing recruiting costs.

By establishing clear communication protocols, providing realistic expectations, personalizing communication, and providing closure to job seekers, HR leaders can create a positive candidate experience, improve the employer brand, and attract top talent to the company in 2024.

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