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Talent Acquisition:

The 10 Lessons I learned from evaluating, testing and selecting over 56,000 applicants in the last 10 years.

Lesson 5


In this lesson, we will address the subject of candidate ghosting. Ghosting is mostly known in online dating when your potential future half never shows up. However, the term has recently become very popular in the recruitment arena – when candidates make an appointment for a recruitment interview and never show up or suddenly stop communicating – they simply disappear.
Candidate ghosting has been on an emerging trend since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Indeed, at least 77% of employers have reported being ghosted by candidates in the last year.


What is Candidate Ghosting?

Ghosting is mostly known in online dating when your potential future half never shows up. However, the term has recently become very popular in the recruitment arena – when candidates make an appointment for a recruitment interview and never show up or suddenly stop communicating – they simply disappear. Candidate ghosting has been on an emerging trend since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Per Indeed, at least 77% of employers have reported to be ghosted by candidates in the last year.

Why are you being ghosted?

Blame the economy, the social unrest or COVID itself, what is real is that the talent acquisition landscape has dramatically shifted in the last 15-18 months; and it will take time before it gets back to “normal.”

In a nutshell, you need to understand that when it comes to hiring GOOD people, you are operating nowadays in a 100% applicant-driven employment market. Like it or not, candidates have more power in the whole recruiting process than ever before.

Below is a non-complete list of reasons I have observed why you are being ghosted as a potential employer. Do not feel bad, it is common to the vast majority of small businesses. Good news is, if you change a few of these points, you will be able to attract more applicants than your competitors.

1. You are too slow.

This is the killer number One. In the current employment market, you MUST be fast – very fast in reacting when candidates apply. My Golden rule is within 24 hours. Why? Simply because good people have many opportunities. In fact, [good] applicants send their resume on average to over 40 potential employers. They have choice – way more than you do.

2. Maybe you “don’t care.”

If you do not react fast on applications, a lot of those young(er) candidates might just feel that they are not important enough to you. Like it or not, you must treat applicants the same way you would treat potential customers. They are leads – and not all of them qualify. We hear this from many candidates: the employer did not really care and/or did not show friendliness during the early steps of the recruitment process.

3. You are too “old-fashioned.”

Knowing that the majority of applicants are probably Millennials, you need to understand their selection criteria. Before they show up for an interview, guess what many of them will do? They will check you and your organization out - your website, your FB page, your LinkedIn profile, etc. Most applicants will want to know who you are (yes, you – not just your company or practice). If they do not find exciting information, they might just think that you are old school.

4. Where is your career landing page?

Here is the deal: Applicants will pick/select a potential employer who has one [career landing page], 10 times over an employer who does not. Why? Again, it demonstrates how important you consider candidates to be and what you are willing to do to welcome them. Interestingly, 8 out of 10 candidates will feel more curious and more tempted to apply if they see an inspiring, attractive career page on your website.

5. Qualified applicants have multiple offers.

Most qualified applicants will have to choose between 5 to 8 employers before they make an employment decision. So, power of choice allows them to be picky and more demanding. They will dump your organization in a heartbeat if they “feel” something is not right – not the right attitude, not the right offer, etc. Remember, you are competing against hundreds – maybe thousands of employers in your area who are also desperately trying to hire good people.

6. Your offer is not competitive.

The harsh reality about salaries is that in the last 2 years, we have seen a 15 to 20% salary inflation in almost every type of open position. Bigger employers do not hesitate to bet on the money to attract qualified people. If you do not know what the market is offering, you will lose a lot of qualified applicants who easily see higher base salaries on the same job board page.

7. You are not clear on the numbers.

That is a classic one. Some employers try to avoid posting numbers – hoping that they can attract applicants with a mystery. Let it be clear: no numbers in the posting = no candidates. You should also avoid cheating on the numbers; we see a lot of employers posting huge salary ranges which realistically seem unreal. Well, that is because they are [unreal]. Do your homework, be competitive but be real.

8. Lack of transparency.

You need to be 100% transparent. If you hide anything about the job – or the organization, in the early step of the hiring process, you increase the odds of ghosting by 100% to 200% somewhere later in the process. Unfortunately, with the pandemic phenomena, many people have developed more animosity and less trust in their relationship with employers. If they perceive something is not clear or remains vague, they will run away – rather than asking for clarification.

9. Your recruitment process is too burdensome.

Between preselection, interviews, testing, reference checks and background checks, the administrative part of the recruitment process might annoy many candidates. We have observed more than once that when an applicant can choose between a simple, streamlined hiring process and a lengthier or more procedural one, they will go the for the first one. Applicants do not want to be pushed and will naturally chose employers who offer a less formal, friendlier hiring procedure.

10. The current employer made it hard for the applicant to quit.

It happens very often that once a candidate informs their employer about their decision to find another job, they are offered better conditions and benefits for not leaving their current position. In fact, some people will apply and get a few offers in order to be able to renegotiate their conditions of employment with their current employers.


In a world increasingly managed by machines, digital communications and impersonal messaging, your willingness to put a personal touch and the genuineness of your communications with potential employees are badly needed – more than ever. And that is exactly what could make your organization more competitive, more attractive to potentials employees. Realize that besides the economic/money factor, the majority of job seekers are also craving for friendlier, more trustful relationships at work.

You can take advantage of the current challenges related to talent acquisition. Consider a high ghosting rate in your recruiting campaigns as a sign of disconnection with the current employment market reality.

If you have not done it yet, download our recent e-book “How to Avoid Candidate Ghosting” at this link.

If you need help in (1) getting tons of qualified applicants, (2) preselecting them and (3) handling the whole admin side of the process, with a three-month placement guarantee, check our Recruitment Process Outsourcing services.

Best success,

Patrick Valtin,
CEO Hirebox

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