You’ve found the perfect candidate for your company, but they fell off the face of the earth! That’s called GHOSTING. Employers do it too. Annelle Barnett tells us why this happens, and what the steps to take that prevent silence.

Ghosting : Employers and Candidates |Episode 68

Welcome to the epic company culture Podcast, where your host, Josh Sweeney will give you the business leaders, HR professionals and company culture aficionados, the knowledge you need to take your company culture to the next level.

JOSH [0:16] Hello, my name is Josh Sweeney, and welcome to the epic company culture podcast. This is season two, which is all about hiring. I’m joined with my co-host Annelle Barnett.

Alright, so the topic of today is called ghosting. So I don’t know how many of our viewers know what ghosting is. Before we get into hiring, tell us what ghosting is.


ANNELLE: [0:41] It’s kind of the same as it would be in your social life or in dating where somebody sets up a date and doesn’t show up.

[0:58] The same thing can happen in job interviewing. The employer will sometimes go to candidate in the feedback process and, and after the interview. But there’s a new trend where the candidates are ghosting employers. That is very interesting and different.

Employers Ghosting

JOSH: [1:21] Yeah, that’s a different dynamic. Before we get into the candidates ability to do that and why that’s happening, let’s talk a little bit about how employers have been doing this for years. What are the different ways that employers have ghosted candidates for the last 20 years?

ANNELLE: [1:38] Employers definitely go to candidates for forever. I think it’s a number game. Many people apply to positions that it’s difficult for employers to actually give candid feedback to the people who apply specifically. Sometimes there’s thousands of people that apply for a job opening. So, getting back to each of those individuals is  pretty tough.

Then, probably the worst-case scenario is when someone got interviewed in the company, and then that individual never gets any reply of whether they filled the position or if they’re still in consideration. It’s definitely a problem that employers have that should be solved.

JOSH: [2:26] Yeah. So the candidate gets all the way through the process. Never gets a letter, never gets a call, but spend all this time on site or going through testing or whatever it might be to see if they’re a fit. Then, got no response.

Chat Bots

ANNELE: [2:38] There’s technology that’s simplifying this process a little bit more now for employers. There’s even chat bots that can communicate with candidates individually to make it more of a human experience even when it’s a chatbot. It does at least make the candidate feel as though it’s a human experience.

JOSH: [3:07] That’s a little bit on ghosting from an employee’s perspective which happens at all levels; all the way through the hiring process, but never were updated. Or even at the front end of it where they just don’t get a letter saying, “We filled the spot or you’re not a right fit”.

ANNELLE: [3:29] Candidates have no confirmation that the resume was even received. I call it the black hole of online applications. You send resume, and then you never know where it goes or if anyone even sees it.

JOSH: [3:51] Submit and goes from the beginning.

Alright, that’s a little bit about ghosting candidates as an employer. But there’s this new trend where candidates are not showing up at various stages of the interview process. Tell us about that.

Candidates Ghosting

ANNELLE: [4:09] Well, for the first time in the US history.I believe it’s US history. That might be exaggerated but basically, there are more jobs than there are candidates or people that are unemployed. The power has dramatically shifted from the employer having all the power to the candidates having all the power.

Candidates will accept invitations to interview and not show up for an interview without telling anyone that they aren’t going to show up. They just leave the employer hanging.

JOSH: [4:50] Gotcha. So if you’re an employer and somebody has had a bad experience, the out of glass door, are there places where the employer can leave bad feedback about the candidate ghosting?

ANNELLE: [5:00]  No, there’s none. That’s interesting.

JOSH: It’s an opportunity for somebody who has this big database of employees or potential employees. and you get plus one on the ghost credits or something.

Recruiters and Hiring Managers Talk

ANNELE: [5:14] I will say though, that as a recruiter, we communicate with each other. We communicate with our hiring managers. If we have a bad experience with the candidate, then we actually let each other know.

[5:31] It’s as candidate is one, extremely unprofessional two, is you never know what bridge you’re burning.  You never know when the person that who didn’t show up will end up and up working at the company his dream job eventually is. That person who burned his employer, then he will less likely be even consider in the next opportunity.

JOSH: [6:03] So with the with the recruiters talking, it sounds like there’s like this special recruiter backchannel slack system going on, right? Little bit of a local share to make sure you’re not wasting your time and your your customers aren’t wasting their time as well.

[6:25] It’s bad for everyone. If a candidate doesn’t show up, it seems as though the recruiter didn’t do their job. Even though they did and they vetted the individual as well as they could.

But people are the most unpredictable. So, even if somebody checks all the boxes and appears to be the strongest candidates, we won’t follow through and do what we say that we’re going to do.

JOSH: [7:04] I could definitely see that happening with people not showing up. We’re seeing and working with clients and talking to other people where candidates are in the process of being interviewed at multiple places. They get one offer, and they just take it right.

The Factors

For me, it seems a little odd. I’ve worked in a number of employers, most of you have a week or two to make a decision. To make a snap judgment and be like, “Oh, this is the one”, instead of finishing out your other interviews. Seems like an odd way to go.Like you said, people are kind of unpredictable. Maybe, some of them just found that perfect fit and maybe other ones are pressured to take a role and get started. There are all kinds of factors there.

ANNELE: [7:45] Yeah, they often have their top pick as well. So, if they’re interviewing with multiple companies, that candidates often have their number one. When that number one

offers them a job, they usually take that.

To your point, it’s certainly a good thing to be open minded and see what other offers are. See if other companies are going to make you an offer, and then form a decision around that.

Actually, a candidate can use that in the negotiation process as well. If they’re being offered a job from two different employers, and the salary of the one that you don’t want is higher than the salary of the one that you do then, you can frankly use that in your initiation process.

JOSH: [8:42] A little bit of power for taking that extra time and going in interview with the rest of the company.

Power of the Candidates

ANNELLE: [8:46]  I think,  that’s the power the candidates now have that they haven’t had in the past. I’m not sure that they know how to handle it, as well as maybe the employer does.

[9:04] And then candidates need to consider that the economy is not always going to be like this. That they are not always going to have the power. They should make decisions accordingly of how they follow through and handle the interview process.

JOSH: [9:19] Yeah, because it could definitely come back to bite you in a crunch situation a little bit later as economics change.

ANNELLE: [9:25] Yes. Without questions.

JOSH: [9:28] Well, thank you for sharing a little bit about ghosting.

So, as an employer or as a candidate, think about whether or not you’re ghosting your candidates. What you can do to increase the feedback and make sure that you’re not getting any poor Glassdoor rankings on the glassdoor.com website.

Have a great day.

[9:54] Thank you for tuning in to today’s episode of the epic company culture podcast with Josh Sweeney.

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