Industry Insights

Why Candidate Ghosting Happens and How to Prevent It

Companies invest heavily in finding top talent, often reviewing numerous applications and conducting multiple interviews for each position. However, candidate ghosting, where applicants drop out of the hiring process unexpectedly, has become a growing issue. The trend leads to prolonged and costly hiring processes. Explore the reasons behind candidate ghosting and learn preventive measures.

What Is Candidate Ghosting? 

Candidate ghosting is when a candidate applies for a job but then stops responding to outreach from the hiring team without an explanation. This can happen at any point in the hiring process, from ignoring an initial interview request to disappearing after receiving a formal offer letter. 

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Why Do Candidates Ghost? 

There are many reasons for ghosting. In some instances, companies unintentionally contribute to the issue.

Drawn-Out Hiring Processes With Limited Communication 

Extended hiring processes can discourage candidates, reducing their interest and creating frustration—even resentment, particularly when there’s minimal communication with the hiring team.

The proof is in the numbers. Talent Board’s 2022 Candidate Experience Benchmark Report found that 34% of candidates waited up to two months or longer for initial communication after applying. The study also found that candidate resentment rates were increasing year-over-year in the US. 

Moreover, in a recent survey, 65% of job seekers expressed that job positions requiring more than three rounds of interviews indicate a negative or hostile work environment, contributing to the ghosting problem.

Vague Job Postings 

Navigating through a flood of unqualified candidates for a role is not the most efficient use of your time. One solution is learning how to write a job post that steers clear of clever yet vague job titles and descriptions that obscure clarity. It will ensure you attract the right people to your open roles based on required responsibilities, skills, and experience. 

It also pays to be upfront about salary. Integrating pay transparency into your job posts cultivates trust, ensures fairness, and empowers candidates to make well-informed decisions about job opportunities.

Candidates Are Searching for the Best Offer 

Candidates often have ample options in a job seekers’ market where skilled professionals have significant sway. When this favorable environment strikes, candidates have the luxury of being discerning about their next career moves. 

Multiple job offers or general dissatisfaction with recruitment can cause candidate ghosting. During these times, revisiting your compensation philosophy can make your open roles more appealing.

Applicant Burnout  

Applicant burnout, stemming from prolonged job searches or multiple rejections, can lead to candidate ghosting. Remember, job seekers are people too.

When emotionally exhausted, candidates may lack the motivation to engage fully in the hiring process, resulting in abrupt disengagement, such as ignoring communication or missing interviews. Knowing how to write engaging interview invitation emails could help reignite a candidate’s enthusiasm.

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Candidate Ghosting Goes Both Ways

We would be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge the issue of employer ghosting. Reports from various news sources and personal experiences highlight its impact, often making the idea of candidate ghosting acceptable.

But here’s what to know: hiring managers and people operations professionals who ghost underestimate how this behavior impacts brand perception. It reflects poorly on a company’s professionalism and regard for people’s time. Negative interview experiences quickly spread through word-of-mouth, social media, and online reviews, tarnishing the employer’s reputation and reducing its appeal to potential candidates.

Additionally, when candidates feel disrespected or overlooked by an employer, they are less inclined to engage with the company in the future, whether as customers or advocates.

The Impacts of Candidate Ghosting

Candidate ghosting disrupts the hiring workflow and extends the time to fill open roles, straining internal resources.

Increased Workload 

An increased workload often delays projects as existing staff compensate for unfilled positions. This adversely affects work quality and team dynamics while wasting resources like hiring costs and time spent on additional candidate reviews.

Additionally, it undermines trust and communication, impacting employee morale as teams strive to maintain productivity amidst heightened pressure.

Lost Opportunities With Job Candidates

​​As the interview process progresses, your candidate pool naturally narrows down. However, if a top candidate ghosts after being selected over others, companies risk losing the chance to engage with their second or third-choice candidates.

How to Reduce Candidate Ghosting  

Implementing proactive measures can effectively prevent instances of ghosting while also fostering stronger candidate engagement.

  • Write detailed job descriptions for each posting. Provide candidates with a clear understanding of the job title, roles, skills, and salary involved to weed out applicants who aren’t a good fit.
  • Create a transparent hiring practice: Share each step in the hiring process with candidates, including the timeframe for final decisions, to create more informative and positive interview experiences.
  • Assign a skill or DISC+ assessment:  Both accelerate the hiring process by swiftly identifying candidates’ qualifications, streamlining evaluation, and ensuring alignment between job requirements and candidates’ capabilities.
  • Text recruiting: Candidate texting has helped our customers cut no-shows by up to 71%.
  • Be responsive. Quick, decisive action and regular, friendly updates can keep your candidates engaged and eager to join your team, reducing the chance of them ghosting.

Wize Words

Candidate ghosting highlights the need for transparent communication and respectful interactions. By prioritizing improved communication and streamlined hiring processes, organizations can mitigate ghosting’s impact, uphold their reputation, and forge stronger connections with talent.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are job candidates ghosting employers like never before?

Job candidates are ghosting employers more than ever for different reasons. Factors such as greater access to job opportunities through online platforms and changing attitudes toward job loyalty contribute to this trend. Moreover, many candidates ghost because they are uncomfortable with confrontation. Ghosting’s normalization in communication, coupled with the perceived anonymity of digital interactions, fuels its prevalence.

Why do recruiters ghost candidates after the interview?

Recruiters may ghost candidates after interviews for various reasons, including overwhelming workloads, shifting priorities, lack of time for productive feedback, or unforeseen circumstances. Additionally, recruiters might prioritize other candidates who better fit the role’s requirements, leading to a lack of follow-up with unsuccessful candidates. Sometimes, recruiters may fear confrontation or discomfort in delivering negative news, prompting them to opt for silence. However, clear communication and respect for candidates’ time remain essential in fostering positive hiring practices.


  • Deirdre Sullivan

    Deirdre has more than 20 years of experience in content creation, leading creative teams and producing engaging online experiences. With a strong background in content marketing, she is committed to delivering valuable and captivating content to Wizehire's audience, going beyond recruitment tips.

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The article was reviewed by Leighann Emo

Deirdre Sullivan

Deirdre has more than 20 years of experience in content creation, leading creative teams and producing engaging online experiences. With a strong background in content marketing, she is committed to delivering valuable and captivating content to Wizehire's audience, going beyond recruitment tips.

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