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Six Reasons Why Ghosting Ruins the Candidate Experience

Maybe you’ve heard of the term “ghosting” – when you’re in communication with someone then without explanation, the communication suddenly stops. You’re left feeling confused, frustrated and sometimes, even angry. The term (and the practice) is commonly used in the world of dating, and is also carrying over to other aspects of life – including the hiring process. Not only does ghosting leave candidates feeling rejected, it can have a negative ripple effect on the hiring manager and your company. If you want to ensure a positive candidate experience from start to finish, it’s best to avoid ghosting – here’s why:

1. Ghosting goes against the Golden Rule.

A candidate coming in for an interview likely traveled to get to your office, paid for parking, took time off from work and prepared for the meeting. At the very least, the hiring manager should be able to tell the candidate that they weren’t selected – and being able to give a reason why is even better. Keep in mind the importance of treating others the way you would want to be treated.

2. Ghosting begs for negative reviews.

With all the possible outlets available for letting others know about an experience, why risk being bashed simply because you didn’t take the time, or have the courage, to let someone know they weren’t the candidate of choice? Your candidate could have had a wonderful and positive experience during most of the interview process, but when you ghost them, that’s all they’ll remember - and they may share those negative thoughts on their social media pages and sites like Glassdoor. Wrap up the interview process with a thoughtful phone call or a detailed email. While the news is hard to hear, the candidate will likely leave the process with positive (or at least neutral) thoughts about your company.

3. Ghosting almost assures you’ll lose the candidate permanently.

Ghosting is offensive at any stage of the hiring process, but particularly ugly after the candidate has been through several rounds of interviews – and it happens frequently! If you find that someone isn’t a fit for the role, they may be the perfect fit for a different opportunity in the future. But ghost them and you’ll lose them! Not only is it rude and off-putting, many candidates take it as an indicator of how they may be treated as an employee. If you can’t communicate effectively during the interview process, who’s to say you will once the candidate is hired?

4. Ghosting shuts down networking opportunities.

In many industries, people are strongly connected with other business professionals and often use their network to share job openings and other opportunities. Ghosting your candidate will surely cut you off from their networks. They wouldn’t want to have someone they are affiliated with be treated in the same, disrespectful way they were. The competition for top talent is real. Ensure you’re keeping your hiring network open by following up with candidates, even if they didn’t land the role. 

5. Ghosting hurts your company’s brand.

Your organization could have an amazing reputation for providing stellar products or services. They could be on the forefront of technology or known for their work in the community. But get a few people to start complaining about being ghosted during the interview process, and all those warm and fuzzies will disappear – that brand everyone works so hard to build and maintain will lose its appeal. By simply getting back to someone and letting them know in a respectful way that they aren’t moving forward in the interview process, you can help protect your company’s brand while giving the candidate a top experience from the first touch to last. 

6. Ghosting hurts your personal brand. 

In addition to reflecting poorly on your company, when you ghost a candidate you have been taking through the interview process, you are potentially damaging your own reputation as well. When we behave in ways that have others questioning our motives, integrity and competence, it can undo years of hard work and dedication we’ve put into our careers. Protect your personal brand and simply let the candidate know they were not selected.

There are endless excuses for leaving a candidate in the dark – being too busy, afraid of delivering bad news, wanting to avoid conflict, just forgetting… but whatever the reason, ghosting your candidate will not stand up to the negative, domino effect that comes from ignoring their outreach. Preserve the company’s reputation and your own by letting the candidate know if they weren’t selected.