Why Are Job Seeker's Ghosting Interviews?

John Krautzel
Posted by in Career Advice

After decades of mistreating job seekers, employers are discovering how frustrating it is to be "ghosted" before and after interviews. Amid a strong job market, there is a growing trend of job seekers who skip interviews, never show up for the first day of work or quit current positions without giving notice. Is your recruitment team dealing with a sudden surge of no-shows? Here are common reasons why candidates blow off a decent job.

Low Unemployment Rates

A thriving job market should mean good times for employers and job seekers, right? In May 2018, the U.S. unemployment rate hit an 18-year low of 3.8 percent. In the same period, 2.4 percent of employed workers resigned from their current positions, typically to start another job. Unfortunately for recruiters, a surplus of jobs can reduce competition and give candidates more options.

According to USA Today, many businesses report a no-show rate between 20 to 50 percent among job applicants and current employees, leading to high turnover costs. When jobs are scarce, job seekers feel compelled to put up with long waits, weak benefits and rude behavior from employers. Now that workers are more empowered in their job search, many aren't afraid to ditch a second-rate offer for a better one.

Flawed Hiring Process

Among U.S. employers, the most common hiring methods suffer from poor management, unfocused recruiting and slow decision-making. Job seekers have dealt with ghosting from employers for years, whether it's failing to follow up after interviews or dragging out a hiring decision for months.

Too often, recruiters use a broad, cattle-call hiring process to bring in a big applicant pool. This approach attracts job seekers who submit mass applications when they aren't seriously interested in the position. And even when applicants genuinely want to work for a company, they get tired of waiting to hear back from unresponsive recruiters. It's unprofessional, but unsurprising, when many job seekers lose interest and decide not to show up once they have better offers in hand.

Communication Issues

For some job seekers, the hassle of canceling interviews or declining a job is just too awkward. Similar to an exit interview, formally declining or resigning can put pressure on job seekers to explain their reasons for leaving. Ghosting is an easy way to avoid an uncomfortable conversation, even if it means burning bridges.

From a job seeker's perspective, employers routinely break promises to follow up and keep applicants in the loop. Ghosting seems harmless, but it causes a substantial loss in resources and profits when employers are continually investing in recruiting, only to wind up shorthanded.

To stay competitive, recruiters must find ways to build relationships with prime candidates and stay connected to them throughout the hiring cycle. Many businesses are using group interviews to minimize the cost of no-shows and find committed job seekers. Others are creating shorter, more streamlined hiring methods to get new hires in the door faster. What steps does your recruitment team take to build a strong candidate pool and avoid no-shows?

Photo courtesy of Amtec Photos at Flickr.com


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    So true! Both applicant and company should be measured by the same yardstick of professional courtesy. What does it say about either when applicants fail to inform prospective employers that they have chosen another pathway and are no longer available, or when companies have cattle call hiring practices in place and fail to inform applicants of their status?

  • Lisa T.
    Lisa T.

    I agree. I put in a application two weeks ago and have not heard back. You have some companies that have you take an assessment test which there is No fail or pass so why can’t people get jobs they can do and hire people who can’t do the job. I think it’s a waste of time and money only have them quit after (2) weeks.

  • Nancy Anderson
    Nancy Anderson

    @Brad Nelson thanks for your comment. Couldn't have said it better. It is so very frustrating from a job seeker's point of view where you submit your application into a black hole. It's as if companies just don't realize the time and effort most job seekers put into submitting their application to a hiring company and then -nothingness. So companies are having to hire someone who really isn't qualified for the position and then be upset when the person quits or has to be fired. If they would respect the job seeker from the beginning of the process - keep them informed, more qualified people would apply for the open positions. I still remember the days when you could apply for a position in the morning, have a screening call in the afternoon and be on an interview the next day. Maybe companies need to take back their own recruiting or put the recruiters on notice that they won't tolerate their current behavior. That might wake up the hiring world!

  • Brad Nelson
    Brad Nelson

    Hello, the economic term is actually 'agency cost' and it is a major part of the cost of hiring and finding the 'right' person for the job. Many companies have outsourced the hiring process to personnel that profess to be hiring professionals only to drop the ball during the process. This is in the form of: -Not keeping the prospect informed of next steps; - Poor definition of the job description (leading to unqualified candidates or wasting the time of qualified candidates [senior vs. junior level positions]).

  • June P.
    June P.

    Practice makes perfect Im a Hands on Person If you show me and let me do it I learn it faster.

  • Melissa c.
    Melissa c.

    U right, or if that person doesn't have the skills your looking for give them a chance. How are you supposed to get the skills if u don't give that person a chance. That's the only one to learn if given a chance. You have to start somewhere.

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