Have you ever been ghosted?

No, I’m not talking about your Tinder date ghosting you. I’m talking about when candidates ghost recruiters. I assure you that it happens quite frequently, probably more so in the recruitment process. 

Everybody has heard of recruiters ghosting potential employees. What does candidate "ghosting" mean? When an applicant receives all the details about the position, the interview process, and the firm but then they simply vanish. This happens even at the last stage after an offer has been rolled out - they just mysteriously disappear. No messages, no response - they’re just gone. Poof!

getting ghosted

However, there are things that you can keep an eye out on. If you’re a recruiter or are on the hiring team for a particular role, here are a few things to keep in mind throughout the entire recruitment process. 

Everyone isn’t ghosting you

First things first, most candidates are genuine. They’ll either let you know they’re unavailable, not interested or are taking up another offer elsewhere. However, there are situations that may come up that may seem like ghosting but are not. For example,  as a recruiter, you send potential applicants 10 or more emails per day as part of outbound recruiting, but they don't reply or accept your invitation. That doesn’t mean they’re ghosting you.

You also need to remember that ghosting is not one-way communication. Today, candidates face intense competition. To save time and money, every firm wants to hire the finest candidate possible, and every applicant wants to be hired by the greatest organization. They apply for multiple openings in several companies and often can’t recall doing so.

If you’re getting ghosted a lot lately, take a step back and evaluate your process, response time, job offers, etc. It could be an issue from the recruiter’s end too! If not, the least you can do is to catch on to these signs earlier rather than later. 

Signs may include:

● The candidate does not interact well with you, lacks excitement, and asks no questions about the position or the business.

● They are constantly booked, making it extremely challenging to get them to agree to an interview.

● Even when you encourage them to accept the offer, they refuse to sign it and provide a precise joining date.

You should take into account these clear-cut signs and reevaluate your decision to hire them. Most likely, they were just passing their time or trying to see if they still ‘have it’ in them to crack an interview.‍ 

Ghosting can be avoided

As a recruiter, I have occasionally experienced ghosting by my candidates, including after offer rollouts and during interviews. There’s not much you can do about it but here are a few things you can try to warm up to them. 

1. All about the conversation

The importance of communication cannot be overstated. Talk to your candidates about their expectations, the company culture, benefits, and perks. I know everything is usually available on your website but reiterate it. Tell them how these have helped you grow and maintain your work-life balance.. Only when you convey enthusiasm will they reciprocate it. 

2. Clarity is key

Be open and honest with your candidates about the next steps in the interview process. Create a deck describing your business, give it to them, and include links to its website, YouTube channel, and even Glassdoor reviews. Keep them interested by providing them with some reading material while they wait. 

3. Quick responses count

Set up interviews as soon as you can. Before anything else, let the applicants know how long the interviewing process will take; don't overcommit. For instance, I typically inform my prospects that the process will take two weeks even though it usually only takes six to eight days, so even if an interview panelist is on vacation, I won’t be misleading my candidates. 

4. Connection is the need of the hour

Whenever you talk to your candidates about the next rounds of interviews, give them feedback on how they can improve as well. Connect with them, so they won’t shut you down. If a candidate is in the offer stage, and the hiring team needs time to decide, send the candidate personalized messages to let them know that you haven’t forgotten about them. I know it takes time but starting from scratch to hire for a position - all over again - takes even more time!


Of course, none of these might actually work but don’t let it haunt you. There isn't a one-size-fits-all remedy for ghosting, you see. However, it is acceptable to email or message the candidate and inquire as to why they’ve disappeared. You may not be able to hire them but you could turn them into a possible client or foster a relationship with them that will be helpful for you in the future. That’s the best you can do.