Integrated Human Capital

Candidates “Ghosting” Interviews Have Employers Spooked

August 23, 2018

With a booming job market, job seekers are holding their cards waiting for the perfect employment opportunity. Employers are now dealing with a phenomenon that is most known in the world of dating apps but has since crept its way into the job market. Referred to as ghosting, candidates are pulling a disappearing act by not showing up to their interviews or their first days of work and refusing to return calls or emails.

In a recently published article from USA today, a California company reported that nearly half of their 65 candidates didn’t show up to their interview in the month of July. A similar situation happened to an Atlanta-area call center where, again, half of their 10 new hires didn’t show up to work on their first day. Employers nowadays are seeing a commonly practiced trendscheduling interviews and/or accepting job offers and inexplicably not showing up for their first day of work. Businesses, recruiters,staffing agencies, and even job websites are starting to feel the effects of this trend. Businesses are reporting between 20% to 50% of applicants and workers are pulling no shows, ultimately forcing employers to change their hiring practices.


Dawn Fay, district president of staffing firm Robert Half in New York, claims this trend might be happening due to the fact that job seekers have more choices than ever before. “You’re seeing job candidates with more options,” says Fay. “It’s definitely influencing their behavior.” Ghosting has now become a practice throughout all industries, not just light industrial and warehouse positions. Alex Riley, president of staffing firm Merit Hall, argues that up to 20% of white-collar workers are now participating in this disappearing act. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, with a low unemployment rate of 3.8%, there are more job opportunities than unemployed people (see 3 pieces of job advice every new grashould know). In accordance with these statistics, every month roughly 2.4% of U.S. workers are leaving their jobs to accept other positions.

CNBC reports that employers have been notorious for inconsistent, or even non-existent, communication with potential candidates. Now that the economy is more candidate driven, job seekers are adhering to an established precedent. Human Resources and Organizational Development expert Carlos Escobar says, “There are some generational and some technological influences, but at its core is the lack of trust and the lack of a relationship….It’s been brewing for a long time.”

With the age of the “Gig Economy”, applying online has never been easier, eliminating much of the need for job seekers and employers to communicate during the initial stages of the application process. Employers don’t even have to send an acknowledgement that they’ve received an application. An automatic response can be generated to be sent for them. Because job application processes have become less personal, it makes it easier for a potential employee to disappear.  

So why shouldn’t job seekers ghost their interviews even though employers haven’t extended the same courtesy when it comes to communicating with job seekers? Ghosting interviews may close the doors to different opportunities that could arise with the same company. Many companies take record of potential candidates coming through the office. Because most systems are digital, if a job seekers decides to re-apply with an organization, HR may have noted that they didn’t show up for a previous interview. Employers may know one another, meaning a proclivity for ghosting may start to precede candidates. Finally, simply put, ghosting harms a candidate’s professional reputation. Communication on part of both employers and job seekers can lead to a friendlier job search/hiring process and less time wasted for both parties.

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