Ghosting in the Hiring Process

Ghosting…a term that typically relates to dating, but one that also has surfaced in the hiring process. Ghosting is used to describe a situation where someone suddenly vanishes or stops returning your calls, emails or texts, and ends all communication and contact with another without any apparent warning or justification. Sadly, it not only applies to dating, but it has crossed over to the business world as well.

A few years back when I was recruiting within a law firm setting, there were a couple of times when a new hire did not show up on their start date and they never communicated as to why…just never heard from them again! At that time it was extremely rare, but when it did happen it was appalling and confusing as to why someone would be so unprofessional and disrespectful to an employer who had actively recruited them to join the firm.

Within the realm of recruiting, there are two sides of the coin: Job seekers ghosting and hiring professionals ghosting. I’m not going to dive into statistics, but I am providing a general overview for both sides.

JOB SEEKERS: Some of the reasons for job seekers to “ghost” include a hot market and they can simply take their pick. It seems the general consensus is that job seekers ghost because they have received another offer, they were dissatisfied with the offer salary, the communication from the employer was poor, the hiring process was too long, or the job wasn’t the right fit. It’s possible that our younger generation candidates prefer ghosting to having actual conversations, even if employers were in active communication with them (maybe a product of the mobile, digital, and social media era).

EMPLOYERS: People involved in the hiring process need to be acutely aware of how a candidate feels during the interview process. When days, weeks or even months go by and an applicant has not received any response, it negatively affects his or her process experience and the employer or recruiter’s reputation. To prevent a ghosting experience, work to create hiring process efficiencies by setting realistic expectations and communicating promptly. To reject a candidate, be professional, respectful and kind, and focus on being positive, avoiding words that can be misconstrued, and communicating appropriately. It is never acceptable for a hiring manager or recruiter to ignore a candidate during any stage of the hiring process. If you don’t have an update, just be transparent. It’s harmful to the organization’s brand and ungracious to the candidate to be silent.

BOTTOM LINE…Whether your decision is yes or no, always communicate in some way to avoid ghosting at all costs. The legal recruiters at McCormack Schreiber Legal Search are professionals in the recruiting process and we provide guidance in all aspects of candidate facing recruiting. We are happy to be a resource for you and welcome the opportunity to assist in your hiring process.

Amy McCormack
Founder and Co-President