Cartoon ghost on purple background
Jul 6, 2023 — Carly Miller

What is Recruiter Ghosting?: Best Practices to Avoid Ghosting Your Candidates

No one wants to get ghosted. Recruiter ghosting is a common issue in the recruitment industry that can leave candidates feeling frustrated and confused.

By understanding why it happens and taking proactive steps to avoid it, you can ensure that your candidates have a positive experience throughout their job search process and hold you to a high reputation.

In this blog post, we’ll discuss what recruiter ghosting is and explore best practices for avoiding it.

What is Recruiter Ghosting?

person wearing ghost costume on pink background

Recruiter ghosting is a term used to describe a phenomenon where a recruiter or hiring manager suddenly stops communicating with job seekers during the hiring process. This can happen at any stage of the hiring process, from the initial application to the interview stage to the final job offer.

The recruiter or hiring manager may stop responding to emails or phone calls, leaving the job seeker in the dark about the status of their application.

Getting ghosted by a recruiter is frustrating and disappointing for candidates who invest time and effort to submit job applications and participate in the interview process. It can also damage the recruiter’s reputation and brand image in the industry, leading to negative reviews and feedback.

Recruiters who engage in ghosting behavior risk losing potential candidates and creating a poor candidate experience.

Therefore, recruiters need to understand why ghosting happens and take steps to avoid it.

Why Does Recruiter Ghosting Happen?

A person in a ghost costume using their cell phone

While recruiter ghosting is not ideal, it can sometimes happen unintentionally. The hiring process is complex, and oftentimes, it can be difficult to keep track of all your candidates.

It is essential to make sure you are never intentionally ghosting candidates.

However, if you ever realize you’ve become a frequent ghoster, it’s important to assess why it is happening and implement solutions to avoid it in the future.

Here are the top reasons candidates get ghosted by recruiters.

High Volume of Applicants

One of the most common reasons for ghosting is the high volume of applications that recruiters and hiring managers receive. When a recruitment campaign receives hundreds or even thousands of applications, it can be difficult and time-consuming for recruiters to respond to all job candidates.

In some cases, hiring managers may prioritize other candidates who are a better fit for the position or are more likely to accept a job offer. However, it is important to keep each job applicant informed about the progress of their applications regardless of your busy schedule.

Lack of Candidate Qualification

Another reason recruiters may engage in ghosting is the lack of qualifications of a candidate. If a candidate does not meet the required qualifications for a particular job, a recruiter may hesitate to provide feedback, fearing that it will create unnecessary conflict or disappointment.

However, providing honest feedback can allow candidates to improve their skills or qualifications for future job opportunities.

Time Constraints

If you are in a time crunch, responding to all job seekers can quickly become a low priority. This is especially common when recruiters are juggling multiple positions or recruiting for an urgent opening with a short hiring timeline.

To avoid ghosting candidates under such circumstances, always leave them with an update and ask if they have any further questions.


Miscommunication is another common reason why recruiters may engage in ghosting. For example, a recruiter may mistakenly assume that a candidate is no longer interested in a position or fail to receive important messages from the candidate.

In some cases, recruiters may also fail to provide clear instructions or expectations to candidates, leading to confusion and frustration.

Lack of Communication Protocols

Some recruiters may not have a transparent communication process for interacting with candidates. This can lead to confusion and missed opportunities for feedback or follow-up.

By establishing clear communication protocols, recruiters can ensure that candidates are kept informed about the status of their applications and receive feedback in a timely manner.

Personal Biases

Unfortunately, recruiters may be influenced by personal biases when reviewing candidate applications. This can lead to the ghosting of qualified candidates who do not fit the “ideal” candidate profile.

To avoid bias, recruiters should focus on objective job requirements and consider diverse candidates.

By understanding these reasons for ghosting, recruiters can take proactive steps to avoid it and maintain healthy relationships with candidates throughout the hiring process.

Consequences of Ghosting Candidates

A person in a ghost costume raising their arms

Recruiter ghosting causes frustration and disappointment for candidates and has significant consequences for recruiters and employers.

By understanding these consequences, recruiters can proactively avoid ghosting and maintain healthy relationships with candidates.

Negative Impact on Candidate Experience

Ghosting can have a significant impact on the candidate’s experience. Candidates who have invested time and effort in submitting job applications and participating in interviews deserve to be treated with respect and professionalism. When recruiters fail to respond to candidates, it can lead to frustration, disappointment, and resentment. This negative experience can make candidates less likely to apply for future job openings or recommend the company to others. Additionally, candidates may share their negative experiences on social media or online review sites, damaging the employer’s brand reputation.

Damage to Recruiter’s Reputation

Ghosting can also damage the recruiter’s reputation in the industry. Recruiters who engage in ghosting behavior may be perceived as unprofessional, unreliable, and untrustworthy. This can lead to negative reviews and feedback from candidates, harming the recruiter’s personal brand and future job prospects. Additionally, recruiters who ghost candidates risk losing the trust of their colleagues and employers, making it challenging to build relationships and advance in their careers.

Lost Potential Candidates

Finally, ghosting can result in lost potential candidates for the company. Ghosted candidates may assume that the company is not interested in their application or that they are not qualified for the job opportunity. As a result, they may seek employment elsewhere, leading to missed opportunities for the company. Additionally, ghosting can harm the company’s reputation among potential candidates, making it more challenging to attract top talent.

To avoid these negative consequences, recruiters must prioritize communication and a positive attitude with candidates by providing timely feedback and follow-up throughout the hiring process. By treating candidates with respect and professionalism, recruiters can improve the candidate experience, build a positive reputation in the industry, and attract top talent for the company.

Avoiding Recruiter Ghosting

A man and a woman sitting down and smiling at each other

Implementing solutions and processes to avoid recruiter ghosting is key to ensuring the entire process is smooth for you and the job seekers you’re interacting with.

Follow the steps below to enhance your candidate communication.

Set Clear Expectations With Candidates

One of the most effective ways to avoid ghosting candidates is to set clear expectations. This includes providing clear instructions on how to apply for a job, outlining the interview process, and setting expectations for response times and feedback. By establishing clear expectations, recruiters can help candidates understand what to expect and reduce the chances of confusion or frustration.

Communicate Consistently and Transparently

Consistent and transparent communication is essential during the hiring process. Recruiters should communicate with candidates regularly and provide updates on the status of their applications. Additionally, recruiters should be transparent about the company culture, job requirements, and potential challenges or concerns. By communicating consistently and transparently, recruiters can build trust and credibility with candidates, reducing the chances of ghosting.

Prioritize Candidate Experience

Candidate experience should be a top priority for recruiters. This means treating candidates with respect and professionalism, providing a positive interview experience, and ensuring that candidates receive timely feedback and follow-up. Additionally, recruiters should listen to candidates’ feedback and use it to improve the recruitment process. By prioritizing candidate experience, recruiters can create a positive impression of the company and attract top talent.

Use Technology to Streamline Processes

Technology can be a valuable tool for streamlining recruitment processes and reducing the chances of ghosting. For example, automated emails can be used to confirm receipt of applications and provide updates on the application status. Additionally, chatbots can answer candidates’ questions and provide support throughout the recruitment process. By using technology to streamline processes, recruiters can improve efficiency and reduce the chances of missed communication.

Provide Feedback and Follow-Up

Finally, providing feedback and follow-up is crucial for avoiding ghosting. Recruiters should provide timely feedback to candidates, even if it is negative. Additionally, recruiters should follow up with candidates after interviews and provide updates on the status of their applications. By providing feedback and follow-up emails, recruiters can build positive relationships with candidates and maintain a good reputation in the industry.

Empathize With Candidates

Recruiters should put themselves in candidates’ shoes and empathize with their experience during the hiring process. Many candidates invest significant time and effort preparing for interviews and submitting job applications, and some may even be applying for their dream job. By acknowledging this effort and showing empathy towards candidates, recruiters can build stronger relationships and reduce the chances of ghosting.

Use Candidate Feedback to Improve Processes

Finally, recruiters should use candidate feedback to improve recruitment processes. This includes collecting feedback from candidates after interviews and using it to improve the recruitment process. Additionally, recruiters should encourage candidates to provide feedback on their experience throughout the hiring process. By using candidate feedback to improve processes, recruiters can create a more positive candidate experience and reduce the chances of ghosting.

How Building Relationships With Candidates Can Build Your Talent Pipeline

Job candidates sitting in a row of chairs and chatting

Building and maintaining healthy relationships with candidates is one of the most effective ways to build a talent pipeline. When recruiters take the time to establish strong relationships with candidates, they can create a pool of qualified and engaged candidates who are interested in future job opportunities.

Maintaining regular communication with candidates is critical to building a talent pipeline. This includes providing updates on the status of their application, sharing news about the company, and engaging with candidates on social media. Additionally, recruiters should keep in touch with candidates not selected for a particular role but may be a good fit for future opportunities.

By building a talent pipeline, recruiters can reduce the need to start from scratch with each new recruitment campaign. Instead of relying solely on job postings and advertising, recruiters can tap into their existing network of candidates to fill positions quickly and easily.

Building a talent pipeline also helps to improve the candidate experience. Candidates who feel valued and respected are more likely to recommend the company to others and apply for future job openings. This can help to create a positive employer brand and attract top talent in the industry.

Stop Ghosting Your Candidates

Two people in ghost costumes scaring each other

Recruiter ghosting is an issue that can have a lasting impact on both the candidate and your company’s reputation. By taking proactive steps to prevent ghosting, recruiters can improve the candidate experience, build strong relationships with candidates, and create a positive employer brand.

By following the advice outlined above, you’ll be on your way to building a strong talent pipeline that attracts qualified candidates and ensures long-term industry success.

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