Four Reasons Candidates Are Ghosting You

Silhouette shadow of woman looking at city from office

About three-quarters of recruiters say they’ve been ghosted by a candidate, and nearly half (47%) of candidates admit to ghosting potential employers, according to a recent Monster survey. That means that at some point during the recruiting or interviewing process, nearly half of the candidates disappeared without a trace or an explanation.

Silhouette shadow of woman looking at city from office. Ghosting
Nearly half of candidates admit to ghosting a potential employer.

“I’ve seen people literally set up an interview and just not show up for it,” says Matthew Burr, a human resources consultant in Elmira, NY. “Labor is in such demand that people have options. They’re going to pick and choose and probably put in a number of resumes with organizations.”

Candidates have a variety of reasons for ghosting. Monster’s latest survey of 1,000 Gen Z job candidates found the top four reasons they gave for ghosting. Below are their responses and expert tips on what companies can do to keep Gen Z talent on board.

#1 Employers were rude or misleading

About a third (31%) of job candidates say they disappeared because the recruiter or the hiring manager was rude, or lied to them about the position, according to Monster data. In the war for talent, mistreating job seekers is risky business.

“I’ve had that happen to me before, where I took a job that promised 25% travel or less,” Burr says. “I got into the job, and it was 99% travel. I resigned after six months.”

For best results, recruiters must be transparent about job responsibilities and company culture. If you gloss over the less glamorous parts of the position or any company issues you’re having, you leave yourself open to a poor hiring experience. Recent Monster data revealed that nearly a quarter of candidates are skeptical of what is promised in a job ad. “You’ve got to be completely honest with people in the job ad and in the interview to make sure it’s a fit,” Burr says. “If you hire the wrong person, it’s not going to last.”

#2 Recruiters took too long

In 29% of cases, candidates say they ghosted because the recruiter or hiring manager took too long to get back to them. Gen Z is a generation that expects and values immediacy, so leaving them on the hook can backfire.

“Recruiters and business owners are slow at times in picking up the phone and calling a candidate,” Burr says. “In my opinion, if you get someone decent to apply, you’ve got to get someone on the phone in 24 to 48 hours setting up an interview.”

In a labor market where entry-level talent is in high demand, taking too long at any stage of the hiring process can lead a candidate to jump on another job offer. The more companies can streamline their processes and make sure they’re being responsive to candidates, the better their chances of getting job seekers to the finish line.

#3 The process felt impersonal

Twenty-three percent of candidates say they ghosted because the job process felt impersonal. The combination of many companies relying on artificial intelligence for parts of the process and, in many cases, not responding at all to applications leaves Gen Z feeling like they aren’t connecting with real human beings.

“Gen Z are the feedback generation,” says Todd Cherches, CEO and co-founder of executive coaching firm BigBlueGumball. “It’s not necessarily about money, it’s about feeling validated and feeling special and feeling chosen. If you treat people like cogs in a machine, they’re going to feel that way and act that way.”

That means staying in touch with candidates throughout the process, letting them know when you’ve received applications and other materials, and telling them when/if you hire someone else for the role. “One of the most important pieces is to send that rejection note so people know they’re not an applicant and they know you appreciate them applying for the job,” Burr says.

#4 Employers are asking for too much

Forty percent of college grads say that employers asking for multiple years of experience for an entry-level position is the most frustrating part of the job search.

“If it’s an entry-level hire, a lot of what we have to do is educate our clients as to what that means,” says Bill Nichols, practice director for Robert Half. “If you want an entry-level hire, we’re really recruiting around expectations, and a lot of it is soft skills. Sure, do they have some internship experience? But part of taking a chance on a hire is what that person could be.”

Companies that are more understanding of what it means to invest in the right talent and have good training in place will have an easier time recruiting the Gen Z crowd.

“At some point, the pendulum will swing back in favor of companies,” Cherches says. “But until then — and hopefully beyond — recruiters, HR people, and hiring managers will realize that in today’s post-pandemic hybrid workplace, they need to take a more personalized and interpersonal approach to dealing with people if they want to be treated that way in return.”

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