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Why Firms Are Being Ghosted By Job Seekers

Ghosting in the job hunt is now a fact of life. But firms that are upfront about salaries and benefits might stop the ghosting.

By Michael Grothaus, Fast Company (TNS)

Unfortunately, ghosting just doesn’t happen in the dating world. The practice is quite common in the professional world when it comes to job hunting. Talk to any recruiter and you’re likely to hear stories about how they had a promising candidate for a position, but that candidate just stopped replying to them. The recruiter, in other words, had been ghosted.

But just how common is ghosting during the job hunt and what are the reasons that job seekers decide to suddenly ghost prospective employers? The jobs site Indeed has just released an interesting report that gives us some insight into the matter. Specifically, the report, titled, When Candidates and Recruiters Vanish, reveals:

  • 78% of job seekers admitted ghosting an employer prior to 2022.
  • 77% of employers said ghosting had become more common among job seekers during 2022 versus previous years.
  • 75% of U.S. job seekers and 74% of employers say ghosting has become entrenched in the hiring landscape.
  • 23% of job seekers who ghosted an employer said doing so made them feel empowered. 
  • Yet 59% of them regretted ghosting, and 36% felt guilty about it.
  • Still, in 2023, 62% of job seekers said they planned to ghost again.

The report also found that 70% of job seekers felt it was “fair” to ghost employers. This comes down to the fact that job seekers have long been at the receiving end of ghosting. Many who submit applications never hear back from the employer and often, the recruiter will be the one who ghosts the job candidate.

But payback isn’t the main reason job seekers ghost. According to Indeed’s survey, the top five reasons are:

  • The job isn’t the right one for the job seeker.
  • The company isn’t the right one for the job seeker.
  • The pay offer wasn’t adequate. 
  • The benefits were not adequate.
  • The job seeker received another job offer.

So what should recruiters and employers do if they want to avoid being ghosted? This is where there’s a sharp divide between what employers believe and what job seekers actually say would stop them from ghosting.

Employers believe that improved communication and transparency, reducing the hiring process length, and offering flexible schedule options would prevent them from being ghosted.

But job seekers disagree. The top three things that job seekers say would prevent them from ghosting an employer are higher pay, better pay transparency (by offering the job’s salary range up front), and better benefits.

In other words, for job-seeking ghosts, it’s, understandably, about the money.

To arrive at its results, Indeed used Censuswide to conduct surveys of 1,507 U.S. job seekers aged 18 to 64 who have ghosted employers in the past. Those surveys were carried out between April 26, 2023, and May 9, 2023. Additional surveys of 1,502 U.S. employers who have been ghosted during the hiring process were conducted between April 26, 2023, and May 3, 2023. Surveys were also conducted in the United Kingdom and Canada.


Fast Company © 2023 Mansueto Ventures LLC. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency LLC.