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Ghosting: The Silent Epidemic in the Recruitment World

Posted by Devika Hastak

May 12, 2024

A healthy dose of empathy, transparency, and authenticity can shield your recruitment processes from the haunting after-effects of ghosting.

Ghosting, a term the modern dating world is all too familiar with, is also haunting the recruitment world. An Indeed report says that instances of ghosting have increased after the COVID-19 pandemic, with over two-thirds of employers and job seekers reporting that the other party has ghosted them. This unfortunate by-product of modern digital communication has far-reaching repercussions for everyone involved in the hiring process.

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This article explains ghosting and why it’s an increasingly common phenomenon. We will also share some recruitment strategies for pharmaceutical companies, consumer brands, and SAAS organizations to avoid ghosting and being ghosted.

The Chilling Phenomenon Explained


When someone abruptly ends communication without explanation, it is defined as ghosting. In the context of recruitment, this could look like recruiters failing to follow up with a job seeker after an interview or, on the flip side, job seekers refusing to respond to a potential job offer. This sudden silence can leave job seekers feeling uncertain, undervalued, and even disheartened.

According to NBC News, ghosting is primarily caused by a rising fear of confrontation and conflict. With an increasing preference for digital interactions, we must catch up with the transparency and engagement that in-person interactions demand. As a result, people are less willing to communicate and solve issues and prefer to take the more accessible, less awkward path of ghosting instead. In other words, people like to disappear instead of letting the other party know that they are no longer interested in pursuing the recruitment process.

From a recruiter’s perspective, ghosting could occur if the employer chooses a more suitable candidate or if the hiring process is delayed or suspended. Candidates typically ghost recruiters if they receive a more favorable offer elsewhere or are dissatisfied with their recruitment experience.

The Haunting After-Effects


Like ghosting in the dating realm, recruitment-related ghosting can have a slew of negative repercussions, and not just from a psychological perspective. According to experts in HR consulting for consumer brands, ghosting or being ghosted can seriously affect a company’s finances, recruitment efforts, employee brand, and organizational morale.

According to a Greenhouse Candidate Experience Report, candidates have more choice and power regarding their job search. When choosing the right job, they are now more critical of factors such as recruitment experience, the perks on offer, and the company’s commitment to its employees. Specialists in HR services for life sciences companies and small businesses cite slow response times, careless treatment of candidates, and a lack of commitment to diversity and inclusion as catalysts for ghosting. As a result, companies lose out on top talent and incur unnecessary recruitment costs.

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As a recruiter, ghosting potential candidates can significantly damage your employer’s brand and employee morale. When job seekers are left hanging in the middle of the hiring process, their distrust of the organization increases. It raises potential questions about inherent biases in your recruitment practices. If your employees catch wind of your unprofessional treatment of candidates, it could cause their trust in their employer to waver, affecting their morale.

The ghosting trend is here to stay, and there is no guaranteed way to stop it. However, with a few valuable strategies from our experts in HR outsourcing for SaaS startups and established businesses, you can mitigate the effects of this phenomenon on your organization.

Become A Recruitment Ghostbuster


As the saying goes, ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’ Your first step, then, is to avoid ghosting them. Next, mindfully cultivate a recruitment environment that prioritizes empathy, transparency, and authenticity so candidates are encouraged to reciprocate in kind. Here, recruiters play a crucial role in setting the tone and expectations of the recruitment process, making them feel valued and integral to the process.

Practice Clear and Open Communication


According to a 2022 Job Seeker Report, 35% of respondents cite poor communication from recruiters as a critical frustration within their job search process. This report also stated that 47% of respondents agree that excellent communication is vital in enhancing the recruitment experience. Even in today’s digital age, where most interactions occur virtually, people still value clear communication, mutual respect, and understanding. By practicing clear and open communication, recruiters can foster trust, understanding, and a positive recruitment experience.

Job seekers often ghost recruiters because they are uncomfortable voicing concerns about job fit, salary expectations, and company reputation. Experts in HR consulting for consumer brands recommend practicing open and frequent communication early in the hiring process to help build a strong recruiter-job seeker bond. This strategy will also inject empathy into your hiring process and encourage both parties to practice straightforward and honest communication, even when it’s bad news.

Additionally, be empathetic and considerate in your interactions with candidates. Suppose someone is taking time out of their day to attend or conduct an interview. In that case, whether virtually or in person, they deserve respect regarding communication. Regular communication with applicants will make them feel more invested in the process, encouraging them to replicate your respect and professionalism.

Build Trust Through Transparency


Transparency will help you build a trustworthy recruiter-job seeker relationship in line with open and transparent communication. Applicants often balance their job search efforts with other responsibilities. They are likely to appreciate insight into the success of these efforts. As part of our HR outsourcing for SaaS companies, our advisors encourage their clients to regularly update candidates on recruitment timelines, especially if there are delays and always follow through when they say they will. It is also best practice to let applicants know whether they are a good fit for the job and provide feedback when requested.

Candidates want to know that their employer has their back, and the recruitment process sets the tone for the workplace culture they will encounter. Secretive or ingenuine interactions could erode their trust in you and, consequently, their willingness to continue with the recruitment process. According to Korn Ferry’s 2024 Talent Acquisition Trends Report, HR services for life sciences and various other industries are now relying on AI to ensure transparent communication and reduce recruiter ghosting.

Go Into The Process Prepared


Make sure all your ducks are in a row, so to speak before you set out on your recruitment journey. Gather all the necessary information to support your efforts – available job roles, clear job descriptions, salary expectations, timelines, and interview processes. Experts who offer HR consulting for consumer brands, small businesses, and nonprofits can help you map out a structured hiring process for your organization. This will positively impact your employer brand, signaling that you are organized and reliable. It will also simplify your hiring process, which job seekers view as favorable.

In Conclusion


Whether in romantic relationships, friendships, or professional settings, we are all likely to fall victim to ghosting at some point. In a professional setting, however, it can have more significant implications on the psychology, finances, and reputation of recruiters and job seekers. Fortunately, mindful human resources emphasizing empathy, authenticity, and transparency can reduce ghosting and improve recruitment and workplace practices.

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Want to know more about impactful recruitment solutions? In addition to taxes, accounting, bookkeeping, and CFO services through its FinOps, Escalon’s Essential Business Services include PeopleOps (HR, benefits, recruiting, and payroll) and Risk (business insurance). Talk to an expert today.

Author

Devika Hastak
Devika Hastak

Devika Hastak is a dynamic content writer who is passionate about using the power of the written word to promote knowledge sharing and drive business success. She is adept at crafting compelling content tailored to client objectives and successfully executing SEO strategies that significantly impact brand awareness and lead generation. When she’s not wielding her digital pen, you can find her conducting culinary experiments in the kitchen or enjoying a good laugh with her family and friends.

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