Ghosting appears in workplace hiring

If you work in human resources or any sort of hiring capacity, you might have noticed that as the demand for workers at many places has increased so has a relatively new workplace phenomenon — ghosting.

Ghosting, is not a completely new idea, just a newer addition to the workplace lexicon. The term ghosting refers to when someone quits communicating with you, seemingly out of nowhere, with no clear explanation why.

Essentially, that person disappears from your life — like a ghost. Often this happens via texting or on social media in romantic relationships or friendships gone wrong. However, this behavior also is occurring in the workplace.

While it might not have been called ghosting, many organizations have been doing this to applicants for years.

You might have had it happen yourself. You apply for a job, maybe even speak with a recruiter on the phone or go in for an interview, then radio silence. You never hear back from the company and have no idea why.

This often leaves the job seeker feeling confused, upset and a bit disenchanted with the hiring process. A study of 500 job seekers and 500 employers in the U.S. conducted by, found that 77% of prospective employees reported being ghosted by a company since March 2020.

With the recent increased demand for workers, applicants are beginning to flip the script and ghost companies. That same study by also found that 28% of prospective employees surveyed reported that they had ghosted an organization, and 76% of organizations reported being ghosted by an applicant.

With the current great resignation and workers having more offers of employment, it is probably safe to assume that the number of job seekers ghosting employers will continue to be an issue for some time

On the surface, this experience is annoying for both applicants and organizations alike. However, ghosting is not only annoying, but it also could potentially be costly.

From an organizational standpoint, businesses might want to assess their hiring processes to look for ways to reduce the amount of times that candidates ghost them. While it might not be possible to eliminate ghosting entirely, if this is becoming a common occurrence you might want to reassess your hiring process.

For example, if you have a very lengthy selection process it is possible that candidates find another offer by the time that you are ready to move forward in the hiring process.

Make sure that there are clear lines of communication between the hiring department and job seekers. If potential employees don’t hear back from you in a timely manner they might assume that you are ghosting them, even if that is not the case.

Assess your communication practices and make sure that you are keeping potential job seekers informed about where they are in the process to avoid losing their interest.

This also is behavior that job seekers should avoid doing. The aforementioned survey by found that 93% of employers surveyed said that they keep a record of applicants who ghost them.

While ignoring calls from the recruiter at a company you are no longer interested in might seem like the easy solution at the moment, you don’t want to get a reputation as a ghoster.

You might need to keep that line of contact open, or might even want to seek employment at that organization again sometime in the future. Even if you’re not interested in a job, a quick call or email letting the HR representative know you are no longer interested can go a long way.

From both an employer and applicant perspective, ghosting comes down to an issue of respect. Yes, it could be a little awkward to tell the HR employee that you found a different job, or the job seeker that you are no longer interested in them, but it’s the right thing to do.

Whether at work or in your personal life, no one wants to be the person whose time is wasted by getting ghosted; so in the future think twice about ignoring those calls or leaving those texts unread, and respectfully let that individual know you are no longer interested.