Employers being 'ghosted' by prospective employees

A growing number of people are landing job interviews, and even job offers, but then not showing up for the prospective employer in what’s known as "job ghosting." 

It’s a job seeker’s market right now with plenty of options, so business experts said that trend is forming among some candidates.

"It is, unfortunately, becoming somewhat of a norm. It’s being looked at as acceptable to ghost interview, which I would have never thought of a few years ago. But it’s becoming commonplace," said Russell Clayton, an instructor of business administration at USF Muma College of Business.

A February survey by Indeed found 28 percent of job seekers ghosted an employer over the past year, and that’s up 10 percentage points from 2019. 

Barbie Barta owns Business Centric Technology, a staffing firm in Dallas, Texas. She shared one story from a tracker supply company.

"They had gone through the full interview process with the candidate, sent an offer letter. He signed the offer letter. They never heard from him again, and it was for a professional level job," said Barta.

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Barta said that behavior can blacklist your name within a company or staffing firm. Clayton said the consequences could follow you.

"Certain industries and even certain places are pretty small when you kind of break it down, and people talk," said Clayton. "If you ghost someone in a particular industry, well they talk and there’s a chance that your name gets around in a bad light."

It’s hard enough to land a job interview, so hiring experts said there are several reasons for someone to not show up.

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"Maybe they received another offer that they determined was better," said Barta. "A lot of candidates have multiple interviews and end up with multiple offers at one time."

Candidates may also not like the company’s culture or benefits. It's also possible there was a breakdown in communication during the interview process. 

But it’s a two-way street because 77 percent of workers surveyed said a company ghosted *them* in the last year. 

"For so long, it’s been the norm. And there’s been article after article after article about organizations ghosting us, that it may be that the workers are now saying guess what I can do that same behavior," said Clayton.

Hiring experts said businesses can cut down on job ghosting with reminder emails, checking with references or even doing a pre-interview process. Experts said both job seekers and employers should follow the rule of treating people how you want to be treated.