Since the pandemic, there has been an uprise in the talk about “job ghosting.” More specifically, employer job ghosting. We’re going to look at what this trend is, find out if it’s here to stay and understand why it’s so damaging to employers and job seekers alike. 

What is ghosting?

Ghosting originated in the online dating scene. Ghosting is when someone you are romantically pursuing and communicating with ceases to speak to you in any format. Essentially, becoming a ghost. 

What is job ghosting?

Job ghosting occurs during the hiring process and can take a number of forms. In the early stages of the process, it may happen by avoiding rejected applicants or even as far along as after a verbal offer. Regardless of when this occurs, there are highly visible consequences. 

An informal study conducted in 2020 via Linkedin polled job seekers about being “ghosted by a potential employer after an interview or after they contacted you for more information.” Alarmingly, the respondents indicated that 93% had experienced employer ghosting. 

Why is this happening?

Surprisingly (or maybe not so much), ghosting is not necessarily new to recruiters and hiring managers or the job market in general. These days, more job seekers are ghosting than before – but so are employers. Why is this losing situation still prevailing despite its negative impact?

When the economy was different and unemployment was high, it may not have seemed so detrimental not to take the time to respond to all candidates since you know a qualified applicant is right around the corner. 

Undoubtedly, the COVID-19 pandemic has played a role, but only partially, says Indeed. While the pandemic has had an overwhelming effect on new job requests for employers, with automated systems in place for many, it still seems troubling that in 2021, 51% of job seekers believe employers are ghosting more now than pre-pandemic

However, the current economy indicates that job openings in the U.S. are at record highs, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Many businesses are struggling to find the staffing they need to run effectively. 

Even if ghosting has become standard practice, it’s crucial to identify why this is so damaging and why it can negatively impact your entire brand. 

Why the candidate experience matters 

Is ghosting a prospective candidate illegal? No. But providing a good experience through the hiring process is beneficial to your organization for several reasons. It is a direct reflection of your company culture. If handled poorly, it can have lasting effects on your brand. 

Let’s look at some of the reasons why: 


  • People talk. Word of mouth carries a lot of weight. If you ghost a candidate, their word will travel fast, and there is no knowing just how far or wide this could travel.
  • Integrity. As an organization, it is essential to uphold your reputation as a company with good values for how you treat others – even if it wasn’t a good fit. 
  • Candidates may be customers. Why risk losing potential or existing customers due to poor professionalism. Need we say more?
  • The internet talks. These days especially, online reputation is pivotal to a business’s success. Even if people aren’t going to be applying for a job, bad reviews can negatively affect your business’s bottom line. 
  • Morale. There is an undeniable correlation between how someone is treated as an applicant and how they will be treated on the job. 
  • Referrals/retention. If someone within your organization referred an applicant and you ghost them, this reflects poorly on you to the applicant and your employee who made the referral. Later, this may cause issues with retention. 


  • Building relationships. Getting to know if someone will blend well in your company culture is about understanding them. Focus on building relationships, and you will find the process to go smoother. 
  • Stay transparent. Budget change? That’s unfortunate, but ensure you communicate with the candidate promptly that the position will no longer be available. 
  • Be courteous. When things don’t work out, be attentive in sending out a rejection letter.
  • Provide a timeline. Let the candidate know where they’re at in the hiring process and focus on improved communication.
  • Mutual respect. Employees are ghosting – why can’t we? Simply put, there should always be mutual respect between both parties, whether the job is a good fit or not. 

Increasing employment opportunities 

  • You may lose an excellent candidate. If you don’t act on it or maintain communication, you may miss out on a great opportunity. 
  • Loss of future referrals. No one wants to look bad. Your employees will not be recommending your organization if word gets out you are ghosting candidates. 
  • Employee experience. With more and more organizations focusing on company culture, poor communication from you will instantly cue candidates that this is not where they want to be.  
  • Quick decision-making. You’re probably not the only job applied for – don’t keep people waiting. 

Unfortunately, it looks like ghosting is here to stay.

Job ghosting is never okay, whether early or late-stage; the hiring process needs to respect the candidate experience. You never know the potential the candidate you choose to ghost may have to impact your business, for better or worse. 

What can you do about it?

Let’s build your workforce together. By partnering with Elite Staffing Agency, we can help you fill your hospitality service positions by connecting our talent with your opportunity.

Reach out today to find out how Elite Staffing can assist you!