Ghosting Candidates

Have you ever heard of the concept of ghosting? If you’re not on top of the latest pop culture lingo, ghosting is the concept of the “slow fade” in dating. You start in typical dating fashion, enamored with the person and texting, calling or trying to make plans to see each other every day. Then, all of a sudden, the other person just stops responding – or at least stops responding as frequently. They’re not responding to the “do you want to have dinner” tonight questions. Hell, they’re not responding to anything. Poof. Your Tinder date? Now a ghost – one you’ll be left to stalk on Instagram or Facebook until you get bored with their life and move along.

Now, this phenomenon is not particular to any one gender and the intention (in most cases) is likely the hope that someone will just “get the hint” that the other person isn’t interested. I say it’s not particular to any one gender because in reality, it’s a reflection on how badly the person needs a lesson in communicating with other people – how badly they simply want to avoid an awkward encounter or hurting someone’s feelings. It’s ok that you’re just not that into someone else but not telling that person is squarely in the “not ok” camp. Communication is critical, even with someone you’re not going to spend forever torturing, I mean loving.

If you’ve read my posts before, I bet you’re catching the hint about where I’m going with this – candidate experience and communication, which also happens to be the theme of most of my speaking gigs. Really, I’m talking about the “rules” of digitally communicating with your audience from the marketer’s perspective – rules every HR and recruiting pro should apply to their own communication methods.

Now, if it’s squarely not ok to just never speak to someone you’ve been talking to frequently out of the blue, why is it ok for HR to drop the ball? Why can we treat people like this? We ghost candidates. Don’t lie, you’ve done it. We ghost them from beginning to end, if you really break down the candidate experience.

Then, candidates ghost us all the time. In fact, 50% of candidates ghost us before they even start applying. Probably because we’ve been ghosting them – even though mirroring poor behavior is an excuse. A bad one, at that.

It seems like with more methods of communication, we’re even less likely to actually communicate with people.


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Katrina Kibben View All →

Katrina Kibben is the Founder and Principal Consultant of Three Ears Media. For most of Katrina’s career, she has been a marketer living in a recruiter’s world – listening to both sides of the talent equation to understand the real issues and find solutions for engaging and hiring better people. Today, she uses her technical marketing know-how and way with words to help both established and emerging brands develop and deliver content that fuels smart recruitment marketing that makes the right people apply.

Katrina has written for,, RecruitingDaily and many other digital publications. She is a recognized leader in recruiting and employer branding who speaks regularly at conferences around the world.

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