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What do you do when a job candidate ghosts you?

Jobseekers are ghosting employers at increasingly higher rates. Here's insight on navigating the situation from's Culture Builder newsletter.

In the last year, more than a quarter of jobseekers ghosted an employer. Photo by Laura Davidson on Unsplash

Written by Technically Media CEO Chris Wink,’s new Culture Builder newsletter features tips on growing powerful teams and dynamic workplaces. Below is the latest edition we published. Sign up here to get the next one this Friday.

The salary was negotiated. The offer letter was signed. The start date was agreed upon. But the candidate never showed.

An hour after the start time, the CEO left a voicemail: “I hope everything is OK.” A week later and still no word. The hiring manager sent a curt email, rescinding the offer, and they restarted the hiring process.

Ghosting among jobseekers is known to have been steadily increasing in recent years, and according to a survey from Indeed, it spiked in 2020. In the last year, more than a quarter of jobseekers ghosted an employer — stopped responding to emails during the interview process or, in fact, not showing up once they already have the job – a big increase from the 18% in 2019. Don’t get it twisted though. Employers still do this far more often: three quarters of employers have ghosted candidates in the last year, and the majority report it’s more common today than in the past.

I know I’ve been overwhelmed by hiring processes before, and so I am certain I haven’t always been as thorough in closing the loop for a candidate as I’d like. Sometimes the impersonal mass email or ATS blast somehow feels worse than nothing. I don’t think I’ve ever ignored a candidate’s followup, though many of us have.

Now, this is happening in reverse: The jobseeker is ghosting the employer. Has this happened to you? I want to hear the stories! Email me at

A few things are at play. Big jobs platforms like ZipRecruiter, Indeed and LinkedIn increasingly optimize for one-click applications. It’s easier than ever to apply for a job, so many jobseekers apply without any real research on the company they’re applying for. An increasing share of professionals are overwhelming themselves with options. Those with the most coveted skills might feel confident enough to not worry about ghosting.

What do you do? Let me promise you, the high road is the right road. The “I hope everything is OK” email or phone call is the right first step. Years ago I had a new hire ghost me, and I heard from her a week later that her father had died suddenly. We still went our separate ways, but I’m glad I didn’t vent my anger too openly with her.

There is a real toll. Another CEO told me two software engineer finalists disappeared on him a couple months back. His time tracking software reported the damage: 80+ hours of staff time recruiting, interviewing and processing between the two of them wasted.

Despite the pain, the CEO did eventually get on a video call with both of them a few weeks later to hear what happened. Both took other offers and were too nervous about confrontation to respond. The CEO kept things cordial, and they all went their separate ways. Play the long game.

And now the links.

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