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Why Are Job Applicants Ghosting You?


In today’s job market, companies face numerous challenges when it comes to hiring the right talent.  One growing phenomenon that has perplexed employers in recent years is job applicant ghosting. It is frustrating when candidates suddenly and inexplicably cut off all communication during the hiring process. Yet, if we dive deeper into the process, there are often red flags that have been waiving the entire time – either on the applicant’s side or within your own hiring process.

Lack of Proper Communication: A breakdown in basic communication will often lead applicants to abandon ship. If there is a lack of regular updates or feedback during the process, they may feel as if their time and effort are being disregarded. Likewise, an overall lack of communication on their end should trigger warning bells that they just aren’t that interested in the position.

Offers & Counteroffers: Do you know if the applicant is interviewing elsewhere or has received offers or a counteroffer from their current company? When faced with the pressure of making a choice, some candidates may opt for the easier route of cutting off communication rather than delivering potentially uncomfortable news of deciding on another offer or withdrawing from the process.

Your Process is Bad:  If your process lacks a timeline, clear steps to the hiring finish line, or involves too many people, the ghosting is likely a process problem. Clearly defining the process and having everyone on-board prior to beginning the interviews is critical in keeping candidates engaged and moving through the interview process. If you’re taking too long and can’t define the process easily, you are inviting the applicant to become disengaged.

The Applicant Isn’t Serious about finding a Job: Were they mindlessly clicking Easy Apply on LinkedIn after a mediocre performance review or bad day at the office? Drilling into a candidate’s motivation to leave their current position is critical. It helps you gauge whether they’re actually looking to make a move. An applicant who is dragging their feet and not returning calls should let you know that it’s time to move on to someone else.

Fear of Confrontation: Ghosting can simply stem from a fear of confrontation. Applicants may hesitate to reject an offer or withdraw their application due to apprehension about potential conflict or burning bridges. They might feel that ghosting is less confrontational method of exiting the process, even thought it leaves a company without closure.

Pressure to Maintain Options: As the market changes, candidates may attempt to maintain multiple options until securing the desired position. Ghosting allows them to keep doors open without completely burning bridges.


Though not all ghosting can be avoided, employers can strive to build a reputation as an organization that values candidates’ time and efforts. Likewise, ensuring that the hiring process is tight will keep up the momentum and potentially weed out unserious candidates from the get-go.

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