Job ghosting – when the employer does not contact you anymore

Job ghosting – when the employer stops contacting you

You have successfully completed the interview with your employer of choice and are waiting for a positive response – but there is no reply from the employer. This phenomenon is called job ghosting.

The term “job ghosting” actually comes from the dating environment, where people talk about ghosting when their dating partner goes off the grid and doesn’t respond to messages and calls. In the work environment, the whole thing also works in reverse: the applicant no longer reports to the employer.

But what are the reasons for the sudden witching hour?

And most importantly, what can applicants and employers do about it??

Job ghosting – What exactly is it??

What does job ghosting mean? Job ghosting is when one employee or employer does not contact the other during the application process. He has disappeared like a ghost and can no longer be reached. Often no reason is given for job ghosting and the contact is suddenly discontinued.

Ghosting in the job can occur in many different forms – on the part of the applicant or also on the part of the employer. It can also occur at different stages of the application process. Applicants can become unavailable to employers as soon as they submit their applications. Most of the time, however, the ghosting takes place after the first interview. There are even cases where the applicant has successfully made it through the interview and has already signed an employment contract, only to fail to show up for his or her first day of work.

Conversely, it causes great applicant frustration if the employer falls silent or does not get in touch at all. Again, ghosting can occur at various stages of the application process: Either the employer does not get back to the application received at all or does not respond after the interview.

A study by the online job platform StepStone shows that every second respondent has not received a qualified answer from the company even 45 days after sending the application. Since 2016, according to the study, the feedback rate has actually deteriorated by five percent. The sudden silence between applicants and employers is therefore by no means a rarity. But what are the reasons for this?

Job ghosting woman waiting for employer's reply

Job ghosting: the employer no longer responds

When you are ghosted, the feeling of helplessness quickly spreads within you. So what do you do when you just don’t hear from the applicant or employer anymore??

The reasons for job ghosting by employers

There are various reasons for the sudden breakdown in communication by employers:

  • The employer finds out already after the first skimming of the application or after a first personal contact that he has no interest in the applicant. The reasons for this lack of interest are similar to those for the applicant: the employer finds that the applicant’s profile does not fit the job posting (well enough), the salary expectations are too high, or the applicant’s personality does not match the advertised position.
  • Another candidate has convinced the employer.
  • The company is completely overloaded. Either too many applications are received and it takes too long to organize them, or internal restructuring, illness or relocation disrupt processes. Or the company does not have its own HR staff or HR department. Applications are then often only processed “on the side.

Tips for applicants: What to do if the personnel manager does not react (anymore)?

Many applicants are frustrated when no one responds to their application, in which they have invested a lot of effort and work. You should not let it get that far. We have therefore compiled some tips on how to stay positive in job application phases despite ghosting.

Tip 1: Keep calm

How long do you have to wait for a response to an application?? At what point do we talk about ghosting on the job? How long does it take to get a response to an online application? How long to wait after confirmation of receipt? How long does it take to hear back after an interview? As an applicant, there are often thousands of questions buzzing around in your head – after all, you are really interested in the job you have applied for and want to receive a (positive) answer to your application as soon as possible. It is easy to become impatient.

But following up with the company you applied to after just a few days is not always a good idea. In any case, wait until the application deadline has passed and then give the employer one or two weeks to carefully review the applications received.

If you have already received an invitation to a personal interview, ask by when you can expect to hear back and give your contact person three more days to think about it after this deadline has passed. If you do not receive a response, this can be considered job ghosting.

As for how long it takes to respond to an application, there are no blanket times – every company handles it differently. However, good and reputable employers will make every effort to get back to you as soon as possible. After all, you want to make a good impression on qualified professionals.

Tip 2: Become active!

The employer does not get in touch anymore, what now?? If you despair right away when the company you applied to doesn’t get back to you, you’re making things unnecessarily difficult for yourself. You should rather become active: The deadline by which the contact person wanted to get back to you has already passed? Give him a few more days after the deadline, then simply get in touch, preferably by phone. If this does not work, contact him by mail.

Tip 3: Decide against the company

If no one can be reached by phone or e-mail, you should ask yourself whether you really want to work for an employer who treats applicants with such disrespect. Job ghosting is not a good thing. Finally, it makes the company seem unreliable and poorly organized. Company culture seems disrespectful to potential new colleagues. And this may also be reflected in their daily work routine.

Tip 4: Look for alternatives

Don’t linger too long with employers who haven’t heard back about your application. Realize that it is not uncommon for companies not to get back to you, so don’t question your qualifications. It’s better to look ahead and start searching for other suitable jobs to apply for. If you’ve found some, check out review platforms like kununu and co. to see how the employer is rated.

Tip 5: Make yourself indispensable

Of course, there are companies that – no matter how good your application – don’t get back to you, for example because they are overworked. However, many other companies can get you to respond quickly by writing a compelling application that stands out.

Of course, your qualifications must match the advertised position and you must give sufficient reasons for your interest in the job. You should definitely refrain from merely exchanging the company name in your applications. Instead, write custom cover letters tailored to the job postings and the company to avoid ghosting on the job.

TIP: Here you will find important tips for your application to a temporary employment agency.

Man waits for answer from employer

Job ghosting: The applicant has “disappeared”

Companies also have to deal with ghosting. According to a study by Indeed, 83% of companies have already been ghosted. On the other hand, 18% of applicants admit to ghosting themselves. That is almost one fifth of the applicants!

Where in the application process job ghosting takes place?

Again, the statistics split two ways: When do applicants admit to self-hosting and when do companies experience job ghosting. In your own company it also makes sense to keep these statistics in order to identify possible weak points in the application process.

Application process: Applicants ghost at these points

  • 50% do not show up for the interview
  • 46% stop responding to messages from recruiter
  • 22% have accepted the position but do not show up for the first day of work
  • 19% have verbally agreed to a job offer but never signed the contract

Application process: When do companies experience job ghosting?

  • 84 % Candidate did not show up for interview
  • 65% have experienced a candidate not showing up for the first day of work
  • 64% Candidate has hired communication without stated reason
  • 60 % of candidates have accepted a job offer verbally and then “disappeared”

So ghosting can happen at any point in the application process, though it’s striking how often candidates decide not to interview differently. But why do employees ghost. What are the reasons for job ghosting??

Job ghosting: Why do employees ghost??

What reason do candidates have to stop contacting the potential employer??

  • 40% receive another job offer
  • 26% did not feel comfortable telling the recruiter or company that they had made a different decision
  • 23 % Application process took too long
  • 22% Payment not sufficient
  • 15 % Benefits not sufficient
  • 15 % Application process not transparent
  • 13 % general problems with communication with recruiter
  • 11% did not know what would happen next and did not contact the potential employer again
  • 9% didn’t want to hurt the recruiter’s feelings

It is amazing how many cases of job ghosting can be traced back to inadequate communication or the application process. Here are many points where companies can start to holistically improve the candidate journey and candidate experience.

Another interesting fact: only 29% of companies have a strategy in place to prevent ghosting before the candidate “disappears”

Tip: An application process that takes too long or is impossible for the candidate to navigate should be a thing of the past. As an HR consultant, we advise companies and help them optimize their processes.

Tips for employers: what to do when the candidate stops contacting you?

You were convinced by a candidate’s application? You have found your ideal candidate during the interview process? Then you should contact this person quickly, after all, he or she has certainly applied to other companies. But what happens if the applicant no longer responds to contact attempts and has disappeared off the face of the earth??

Develop smart strategies against job ghosting! In the current applicant market, companies have to fight for employers. Therefore, it makes perfect sense to retain applicants you have already reached out to!

Tips 1: Be patient

If a candidate has really convinced you, you should not stop contacting them after one call, unnerved. Also try emailing or calling again at a later date. You can also leave a message. If the candidate still hasn’t contacted you after three or four days, he or she is probably no longer interested in your job offer.

Tip 2: Make an effort to contact several candidates

Basically do not back only one horse. This makes you dependent and creates disappointment if that one candidate cancels or doesn’t get back to you. So give more than one candidate the chance to convince you.

Tip 3: Operate employer branding

By making your company an employer brand, you become much more attractive to applicants. Their motivation to work for you increases significantly – and so does the feedback rate. Because with employer branding, you clearly emphasize the values of your company, present benefits and interesting areas of responsibility in your job advertisement. With this communication, you are primarily addressing candidates who can identify with your company and who are genuinely interested in shaping their professional future with you.

Tip 4: Work on your own application process

If you present yourself as an unattractive employer in the application process, for example through a complicated procedure, an unfriendly manner or a lack of interest, you end up punishing yourself. Because qualified personnel nowadays have the choice of where they want to work. Accordingly, companies need to look for suitable candidates, not the other way around.

Tip 5: Careful selection of applicants

Even if it is tedious – choose future employees carefully. Before you get into trouble with dubious candidates, it’s better to keep looking and possibly redesign your job posting or choose unconventional ways to find new employees. Videos or postings on social networks are a good alternative to the conventional options here. When publishing your job advertisement, do not limit yourself to just one platform, but rather use multi-channel posting, i.e. publish on several platforms at once. This way you will reach as many candidates as possible and have a larger selection later on.

Tip 6: Take legal action

If it actually happens that your desired candidate has signed his employment contract with you, but then does not show up for his first day of work and can no longer be reached, you should draw legal consequences. Compensation for damages is difficult to enforce, but you should terminate the contract in any case in a legally secure manner.

Man waiting for job interview

Help, I am the ghost!

Whether intentionally or unintentionally, sometimes employers or job applicants make themselves invisible. To prevent this, both parties should place great emphasis on transparency – loosely based on the motto “Only people who talk can be helped.”So tell us straight away if the job is no longer suitable for you or, conversely, if the applicant has not been able to convince you. Of course, there are more pleasant conversations – but if you justify your decision rationally, your counterpart will understand you in any case.

Employers who don’t get back to you because you simply can’t keep up with the applications should also find a solution for your overload. One option is to outsource your applicant management to an external provider or implement an HR department internally.

The consequences of job ghosting

If you are not interested in a candidate or in a job, why should you still get back to them?? In fact, there are good reasons for doing so in addition to the necessary politeness. If you behave unprofessionally as an employer in the application process, you can expect that applicants will not leave a good impression of you on evaluation platforms. Future applicants find out about the company on these very platforms and as a result are more likely to refrain from applying. Job ghosting therefore has a negative impact on your reputation as an employer.

But even if you suddenly disappear from the scene as an applicant, you don’t stand a good chance. Finally, employers are strongly networked depending on the industry. So if you leave a bad impression on an employer by ghosting them, this negative image may be passed on to other companies you have applied to – and you will receive a rejection or be ignored yourself. A short feedback is therefore worthwhile in any case.

DAHMEN, your reliable partner against job ghosting

Applicants who are interested in a quick and transparent application process are in the right place at DAHMEN Personalservice. We work exclusively with reputable employers and get back to you quickly on your application. If problems arise, we are always available for you. You don’t like the job as much as you thought or the company has decided to hire another candidate? Then we’ll look around for alternative job openings for you – here’s how we’ll find you your dream job.

DAHMEN can also help employers as a strong partner in the successful search for suitable candidates for vacant positions. DAHMEN analyzes exactly which candidates might fit your staffing needs and benefits from an extensive applicant pool. If you have problems in recruiting new personnel, we will be happy to assist you in establishing an HR department or provide you with a recruiter. With our concepts “Recruitment Process Outsourcing”, “Rent-a-Recruiter”, “On-site-Management” as well as HR-Consulting we are at your disposal by phone or if required on-site with advice and support. In addition, as Employer Brand of the Year, we are happy to assist you with employer branding. We work with you to develop a successful and authentic employer brand and also offer multi-channel posting, for example. In this way, we generate a large number of suitable candidates for your vacant positions.

Whether you are an applicant or a company, we listen carefully to your needs and find a customized solution that includes the components that will help you succeed.

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