In today's dynamic talent pool, HR professionals and hiring managers are facing an increasingly perplexing challenge - talent who appear to disappear without a trace.

While it is not uncommon for job candidates to drop out during the job interview process, ghosting without leaving any feedback or updates can come across as rather impolite to employers. What could be more challenging for employers is when talent bail on the offer just before their first day.

Despite a low employment rate and surplus of talent in some areas within the labour market, why are job seekers willingly dropping out of the hiring process?

In this article, we explore the top 5 reasons why job seekers are ghosting their potential employers and 5 things employers can do to reduce the number of dropouts.

why do job seekers ghost employers
why do job seekers ghost employers

5 common reasons why talent are ghosting you

There is no better time to reflect on the company's recruiting process to improve the candidate experience.

Here are five key reasons that shed light on this elusive behaviour.

1. mismatched expectations

In an era where talent's demands and the juggling of job opportunities have become an intricate dance, the first encounter – the interview – is make or break.

Job seekers often find that the job or company does not meet their career goals or expectations during the hiring process. This mismatch can occur in areas such as career development opportunities, work-life balance assurances, or even the cultural fit during the actual job interview.

Candidates may perceive a discrepancy between the company's advertised employer brand and their actual experiences during job interviews. This gap can prompt them to consider other employment options.

In these scenarios, candidates may choose silence as a form of communication, opting not to deliver the uncomfortable "no, thank you" message.

2. communication breakdown

lack of communication and interview feedback
lack of communication and interview feedback

Communication during the recruiting process is a two-way street. But poor communication can often leave job seekers in the dark post-interview, uncertain about the status of their application.

Without a clear timeline or feedback, potential hires may feel disrespected, undervalued, or simply forgotten. When the conversation ends abruptly, the candidate may feel that mirroring the unresponsiveness they've experienced is acceptable, which results in ghosting.

3. competitive atmosphere

The current job market is fiercely competitive, with many job seekers going for a few interviews with multiple companies at the same time.

In this environment, some job seekers might use silence strategically as a means to keep their options open. Ghosting an employer can be perceived as less risky, allowing the candidate time to consider other roles if their first choice doesn't pan out.

Perhaps they are also waiting on other companies to make their offers so that they can evaluate and make the right decision, so you may want to give them some extra time to get back to you.

4. unwanted pressure

The interview process is inherently stressful for candidates, and it's not uncommon for that pressure to lead to ghosting.

This avoidance behaviour may come from a place of discomfort or imposter syndrome, especially when it's a dream role or major career shift. In such cases, the job seeker may retreat out of fear of inadequacy or confrontation, especially if they believe they have underperformed during the interview.

Rather than facing the possibility of rejection over the phone, many individuals may prefer to avoid answering calls altogether. Yet, by doing so, they could overlook a valuable opportunity or miss out on constructive feedback from the company.

5. other reasons that has nothing to do with the company

Job seekers juggling personal situations or dealing with external influences – from health issues to family emergencies – might prioritise their need for silence over professional etiquette.

Employers and hiring managers can be unaware of these circumstances, but they play a significant role in a candidate's decision to ghost.

5 solutions to prevent job seeker ghosting

The silence of job seekers doesn't have to be the last word.

Employers looking to foster more meaningful interactions with potential hires can employ strategies that not only reduce ghosting incidences but also improve the overall talent management strategy. Taking this opportunity to improve your candidate experience can also strengthen the organisation's employer branding and position the company as an attractive employer in a competitive job market.

1. setting clear expectations and clear communication

Establishing clear expectations with candidates not only sets the right tone for your job applicants; it paints a clear picture of what they can expect when joining your team.


From the first glimpse of your job description to delving into your company's culture on social media, every detail should resonate with their expectations. Imagine a workplace where growth opportunities and flexible work arrangements are not just perks but promises.

By crafting an accurate job description that mirrors the role's demands, you empower applicants to assess their fit with confidence.

You should also keep the lines of communication open to manage candidate expectations and experience, as well as eliminate the uncertainty that often leads to ghosting.

2. streamlined recruitment process

Lengthy or convoluted recruitment processes can seriously test the patience of even the most dedicated job seeker.

As employers strive to be more meticulous in their talent selection, there's a limit to how many interviews a job candidate can handle before feeling overwhelmed. A drawn-out hiring process might signal deeper issues within the organisation, like decision-making uncertainties or bureaucratic obstacles hampering employee productivity.

Embracing a streamlined approach not only highlights organisational efficiency but also shows consideration for the valuable time of both the candidate and the employer.

3. consistent follow-ups

Proactive and consistent follow-ups after every round in the interview process are crucial for maintaining an engaged talent. It not only keeps job seekers informed about their status but also shows respect for their time and effort.

Regular communication, even if a final decision hasn't been reached, reassures candidates that they are valued and still under consideration for the role. Even if the ultimate decision is a "no", it's considerate to engage with the job seeker by providing feedback on why they fell short compared to other applicants.

4. personalisation and feedback

Using a template 'thank you for X' message might save some time, but it can leave candidates with more questions than answers as they will want to know how they should improve or why they have been rejected for the job. This might even make them say no to future interviews with your company, even if the right opportunity arises.

Giving personalised feedback, no matter the application's result, is key for improving the talent experience. Whether it's helpful tips or words of encouragement, it shows that you value the candidate's efforts and care about their development, building rapport and boosting engagement.

5. adopt a talent-centric approach towards recruitment

The most impactful solution to prevent ghosting is developing a talent-centric recruitment strategy. This approach requires employers to consider the unique needs, values, and experiences of each talent.

By treating talent as partners in the entire process, rather than just potential employees, employers can create a more empathetic and engaging recruitment process. This alignment of values and experiences ensures that both the talent and the company avoid the haunting experience of ghosting.

a talent centric recruitment strategy
a talent centric recruitment strategy

partner with randstad to improve your talent experience

We hope that these insights and solutions will help you better understand and address the issue of job seeker ghosting in your recruitment process. By implementing these strategies, you can create a more positive and respectful experience for both candidates and employers. Remember, communication, transparency, and personalisation are key in fostering strong relationships with potential hires.

At Randstad, our recruitment consultants are experts in their fields. We focus on enhancing their expertise so they always have the right insights to support talent through the recruitment process at our clients' organisations. Whether you need contract workers or permanent employees, you can connect with our recruiters to improve your candidate experience.

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