Give up ghosting: How to keep potential hires from ghosting you

Give up ghosting: How to keep potential hires from ghosting you

Meg Furey-Marquess
By Meg Furey-Marquess
May 18, 2022
7 min read

As a small business owner, you’re probably familiar with this situation: After months of looking for the right candidate to fill a position, you find one. They’re perfect!

Their experience couldn’t align with the role more. The interview? Painless. They knock it out of the park. And, they couldn’t be more excited to start working. You extend an offer, they accept, you shake hands and say, “You’re hired! See ya, Monday!” 

And then… poof. They disappear. 

No call. No email. Nothing. They’re just… gone.

This is known as “ghosting,” and whether it happens for an interview, day one on the job, or even day 100, it’s incredibly frustrating for small business owners.

Is employee ghosting a growing workplace trend?

We know it’s something you’d never do, but believe it or not, ghosting work has become incredibly common across all industries. A recent survey found that 76% of employers had been ghosted in the past year, and over half feel it’s more common than ever before. 

Considering the time and cost of finding new employees, new hire ghosting is even more troubling. Another survey found that 50% of employers had experienced new hire ghosting, and almost 3 out of 10 small businesses experience new hire ghosting every few months or more. 

A large part of the explanation for this increase is the Great Resignation – the ongoing trend of U.S. workers voluntarily quitting their jobs that began in early 2021. With more jobs available and fewer people to fill them, the power balance has flipped from the hands of the employer to the hands of the employee.

Unlike during the Great Recession, when PhDs were fighting for entry-level jobs, potential employees are finding they have a wider variety of choices regarding where they work. However, having more choices means small business owners need to do more to keep potential employees engaged.

What ghosts around…

One of the biggest and least understood reasons employees ghost is because they’ve been ghosted themselves.

That’s right. Ghosting doesn’t just happen on the employee side; employers are ghosting potential hires more than ever before. 

77% of job seekers say a prospective employer has ghosted them. What’s even crazier, according to the same survey, is that only 27% of employers say they haven’t ghosted a job seeker in the past year. 

That means nearly 3 out of 4 employers have ghosted after interviewing potential hires and as the saying goes, what goes around comes around. 

Ghosting is about more than money

When you think of why a new employee would ghost to go somewhere else, your first thought is probably that the other job pays more. And while it’s certainly true that money is a driving factor for job seekers, it’s not the most important one.

A survey of job seekers found that pay was the most important factor for 22.9% of those polled. However, a whopping 28.6% of respondents said the factor that mattered most when looking for work was the opportunity for learning and growth.

A better offer doesn’t necessarily mean more money. In fact, a better offer usually means accelerated training, yearly promotions or more. When the cards are down, more employees are willing to forgo short-term monetary bumps for long-term gains. 

Communication breakdowns can cause employee ghosting

Imagine getting a job and showing up excited to work on day one and… it’s nothing like you thought it would be. According to a survey of young workers, 72% have had this happen to them. 

It’s known as “Shift Shock” – the feeling you experience when you start a new job and realize, with either surprise or regret, that the position or company is very different from what you were led to believe. 

While you can certainly accuse some businesses of catfishing, this is often the result of miscommunication between the potential employee and the person doing the interview or hiring. 

Just a few years ago, employees might’ve felt compelled to tough it out, but with so many opportunities available, why work for a company that can’t properly communicate expectations? 

Another communication breakdown that results in ghosting is when people don’t know what else to do. According to a study, 13% of potential hires who ghosted say they did so because they didn’t know how to remove themselves from consideration. 

How to limit potential employees from ghosting you

Now that we understand some of the biggest reasons potential employees ghost, we can see what needs to be done to help keep employees from ghosting you:

  • Don’t ghost. Karma has a way of coming back around.
  • Discuss opportunities. Offer a competitive salary, but also emphasize how a new recruit can learn about your industry and grow as a person while working for you.
  • Keep the lines of communication open. Be transparent about the position you need to fill and ensure you’re in contact with applicants throughout the hiring process.

These steps can help you limit the amount of ghosting you face. But, even if you do everything correctly and are the perfect employer, you’re still going to get ghosted. That’s just where the world is right now, which means you need to anticipate it. 

How to overcome ghosting after interviews and job offers

When it comes to ghosting, you have to be realistic and reset your expectations. 

If you have two openings and were previously accustomed to setting up four interviews with potential employees, set up 10. Should all 10 show up, you have that many more candidates to choose from.

And should one of the people you hire turn into a ghost, as long as you’ve kept the lines of communication open, you have eight other vetted candidates lined up who have already shown interest in the job.

At the same time, just as employees have always been told to “take every interview,” you should be fielding applicants regularly. Like the eight candidates above, should an employee suddenly vanish, you won’t have to start at square one because you’ll already have a stack of potential hires ready to contact.

If you’re prepared, you have nothing to fear

Unfortunately, ghosting looks like it’s here to stay, as frustrating as it is. However, the good news is you can limit how often it happens to you. By being prepared, you’ll be able to minimize the negatives if a potential hire or even long-term employee disappears in a puff of smoke. 

Hi there, we’re NEXT Insurance

At NEXT, we know small business owners have a lot on their plates, and employee ghosting is just one of them. Let us lighten your load and at least make getting the business insurance you need easy. 

With our online application, you can see coverage options, rates, and purchase coverage — all in less than 10 minutes. As soon as your purchase is complete, you can access your certificate of insurance.

And should you need help, we won’t ghost you. Our US-based insurance advisors are standing by to answer questions or help you get started.

Get started with an instant quote today.

Give up ghosting: How to keep potential hires from ghosting you


Meg furey marquess
About the author

Meg Furey-Marquess is an experienced writer from Austin, Texas. With a special interest in both small business and personal finance, she believes that big ideas often start small. With a knack for narrative and a relentlessly curious nature, her goal is to amplify the “little guys.”

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