Any employer can agree that finally onboarding the right candidate after a grueling hiring process is a small victory. While today’s job market is full of potential candidates, going through all of them is taxing and seems to take forever. There is also that big “what if” of a candidate deciding not to take the offer and completely cutting lines of communication: in other words, “ghosting”. 

Sadly, ghosting happens far too often these days. This is particularly frustrating to recruiters because the thought of finally completing a recruitment suddenly disappears, with the new hire gone. 

We encourage you not to give up on a candidate who has ghosted you. Perhaps, there’s a side to the story you haven’t heard, and it may be worth hearing. We’ve talked about what to do to prevent candidate ghosting, but it’s entirely different when they actually go through with it. Here are some suggestions on how to handle this particular dilemma in recruitment. 

What Are Some Reasons Candidates Choose to Ghost a Prospective Employer? 

Aside from a salary that’s lower than expected, finding another organization that has better benefits, or seeing a job post with an entirely different set of responsibilities from the actual job offer, here are other reasons why a candidate might decide not to reply to that congratulatory email: 

Job seekers are out there “window shopping” for jobs. As an offshoot of the Great Resignation, many job hunters are out there looking for careers and organizations that cater to their specific needs. With many roles to choose from, potential hires are moving as fast as possible, knowing the job market is more competitive than ever. If they find out the role doesn’t meet their professional standards, it just makes sense to move on to the next one. Sadly, this means ghosting the employer, as a reply to them “takes too much of their time.”

Another part of job shopping is that job seekers “collect and select.” They distribute their applications to multiple employers and just pick one they like. No need to exert effort to reply to others. 

They don’t like the “return to office” rule. With 70 percent of professionals returning to the office at least once a week, it’s inevitable for a new hire to endure the hassles of commuting to work. Some applicants fail to ask about work arrangements or assume a WFH option is possible. Their dismay with knowing that they have to turn up at the office leads them to quit responding.  

An employer ghosted them before. An eye for an eye? This might be the thought on the minds of job seekers whom organizations ditched during the hiring process. A prior candidate communication may have left a bad taste in their mouths, and they retaliate by ghosting you.  

Candidates Ghosting is Becoming More Common than Ever 

While it’s an unspoken rule for a candidate to inform their potential employer if they aren’t moving forward with the application process, a growing number of job seekers would rather not say anything. In fact, in 2021, Indeed found that 28 percent of applicants have resorted to ghosting employers. This is an alarming jump from 18 percent in 2019. A recent survey conducted by Visier stated that 31 percent of respondents admitted they would ghost their employer after their first day of work. 

There are several reasons candidates call it quits during the hiring process: the salary offered was unattractive, better opportunities in another organization, the job description was not as advertised, and so on. However, one of the culprits of candidate ghosting is the lack of constant and proper communication. Pankaj Jindal, one of the founders of Sense Talent Labs, shared in a live LinkedIn event that they use candidates’ mobile devices to engage with them during the hiring process. With the pandemic and the rise of remote working, it is integral that employers engage candidates while they are still in the recruitment process. Keeping up this connection is a fantastic way to reduce the probability of being ghosted. 

Related Article: How to Engage Top Candidates in A Candidate-Centric Market 

Engage With Potential Employees Who May Have Ghosted You 

The probability of potential hires ghosting employers is still there, even when proper communication is consistent throughout the hiring process. Be open to wooing the candidate and give them one last shot to consider the opening or perhaps come back to you in case they go back on the market.  

Simply ask not to be ghosted.  

Sounds straightforward because it is. When sending a message to job candidates who may have ceased communications, include a request to reply if they have changed their mind about applying. While a response is not assured, it pays to remind them of the courtesy to give your recruitment team the heads up to look for another candidate. 

Perhaps a counteroffer might make them respond.  

Especially if job candidates seem like one in a million and they’ve ghosted you because they found another organization. If you have talent that is the perfect fit for the role and you are determined on getting them for your organization, a counteroffer might be a good way to win them back. 

This tactic may require some thought on the extent of the counteroffer. For example, should a salary figure be divulged? How about additional benefits? Perhaps a simple message asking if they are interested in an enhanced job offer might suffice.   

Maintain the relationship you’ve started.  

In some cases, a no-response is the response, but this is no reason for you to let go of the potential hire. Down the line, they might approach you once they are in the market again. After all, if the recruitment process was smooth, even if they didn’t choose you the first time, candidates who experience a smooth hiring process may still want to stay in touch. 

Keep the applicant on your mailing list for job opening updates. Some ardent employers send job links via LinkedIn to someone they now see as a passive candidate who may consider a change in career at any time. Social media connections help a lot when checking in with passive candidates.  

There are many ways to stay engaged with candidates who may have ghosted you. What is important here is always to give the benefit of the doubt on why they chose to ghost you, and who knows, they might turn out to be the top talent you have been looking for. 

Related Article: What Does Top Talent Want? 


Candidate ghosting can be prevented, and, as we discussed here, there are still solutions, even if it has actually happened. To avoid being ghosted, try using a people-centric approach in your recruitment process. ACS Professional Staffing maintains relationships with all our candidates and provides them with a high-touch service. These are signature qualities that make ACS Professional Staffing the top choice of clients when it comes to gathering top talent. Contact us now to see how we can help you, so ghosting will be a thing of the past.