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How Candidate Ghosting Can Affect Your Job Search (New Data)

We’ve talked about both employer and candidate ghosting before. While we wish this “scary” trend was curbing, new data from Indeed proves that it may be picking up pace, and candidates are at the heart of it.  

Candidate ghosting can take several different forms. In short, it’s a complete ceasing of communication for no apparent reason. You might stop communicating with your recruiter or not attend interviews; some new hires have even disappeared before or on their first day of work.

Indeed has been studying ghosting from both sides since 2019. Its latest data regarding candidate ghosting shows that:

  • It’s trending upwards. About 77% of employers say candidate ghosting became more common in 2022 than in previous years, and there’s no slowdown in sight.
  • Over three in five (62%) plan to ghost employers during future job searches, an increase from 56% in 2022 and only 37% back in 2019.
  • 70% of U.S. job seekers feel it’s “fair” to ghost employers. 59% ultimately regret ghosting, while 23% felt empowered when they ghosted an employer.

Candidate ghosting is called ghosting because there are no explanations for it, but we know you have reasons. Indeed found these to be the top reasons among your fellow job seekers:

  • Not the right job for me.
  • Not the right company for me.
  • Pay offered wasn’t/wouldn’t be enough.
  • Benefits weren’t good enough.
  • Received a better job offer.

Another reason entering these ranks is poor recruiter communication, which we know can be incredibly frustrating. Plus, Indeed found that 14% of job seekers didn’t show up for their first day of work after finding information about bad employee experiences at the company. But ghosting for any of these reasons will not serve you in the long run. Here’s why:

You’ll be remembered for the wrong reasons. At least 62% of U.S. employers keep track of job seekers who fail to show up. It’s not just for vengeance: Nearly all employers admit that candidate ghosting wastes valuable time and money.

No matter your frustrations, it’s never a good idea to cause problems for an employer in return. Even if you don’t intend to apply with them again, recruiters may pass you up for other opportunities or hiring managers may change jobs and carry their grudges with them.

It’s not helpful. Whether you found a better opportunity, were scared off by bad reviews, were offended by a lowball offer, or were frustrated by a lack of communication or transparency, letting your recruiter or employer contact know is good karma, at the very least. One of the most noteworthy conclusions Indeed made from its research is that employers aren’t good at guessing why candidate ghosting happens. If they can gather that information, believe it or not, many will want to improve their processes, behaviors, pay, culture, or whatever it is. Your honesty can help other job seekers in the future.

How can you respond? “It doesn’t feel like a good fit” is a great catch-all. As we’ve written previously, you can elaborate, but a drawn-out explanation isn’t necessary. However, we do encourage you to be fully transparent with your recruiter. They’re your advocate and can help you communicate, weigh options, and pivot as needed.

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