March 14, 2019

Getting Ghosted by Candidates? Check Your Own Behavior First


Recently, I’ve read a lot of articles about candidates ghosting employers. These candidates don’t show up for interviews. They don’t even call to cancel. Sometimes, they don’t show up to their scheduled first day on the job! They simple disappear after accepting the offer, leaving employees frustrated.

The rising popularity of ghosting would be bad enough, but on top of that, many employers are also dealing with talent shortages. Companies just can’t seem to find qualified candidates, and when they do, those candidates often disappear without a trace.

If you’re a hiring manager struggling with this situation, I want to ask you to think back to the last time you looked for a job. I’m not talking about the time a friend called and offered you a role — I’m talking about the last time you had to scour the job boards or even the newspaper to find a job. I’m talking about the time you were applying to everything you could find, hoping each interview would finally be the one that led to a job.

Remember how it all felt? How vulnerable you were on the job market? Your candidates feel the same way today. Keep that in mind, and do your best to treat every job seeker with the same level of respect you wanted employers to give you.

This includes making it easy to apply. You probably hated long online applications when you were a job seeker, so why put your own candidates through that ordeal? Make the process simple and you’ll have more candidates to pick from.

Think hard before deciding to ask candidates to take tests as part of the interview process. Personality and IQ tests are not perfect indicators of future performance, but they are surefire ways to turn off candidates. If you decide that tests are necessary for your hiring decisions, at least save them until late in the process. Don’t force candidates to devote time to your screening process if you aren’t sure they could be a good fit.

Be flexible with candidates. When it’s time to schedule an interview, give them some options in terms of dates and times. Schedule a few days ahead of time so the candidate will have time to reorganize their schedule. Don’t force the job seeker to pick between their existing commitments and you. They don’t even know you yet!

Follow through on your commitments. If you tell the job seeker you’ll let them know something next week, then let them know something next week. If next week comes and you don’t have an update yet, let them know. They’ll understand, and they’ll appreciate that you kept them in the loop.

Be reasonable with your requirements. Do you really need someone who can write code, market, and manage projects? Decide what is most important to success in the role and focus on those qualifications. If you go looking for a unicorn, you’re going to come up empty-handed.

Pay attention to your online reviews. I know that they aren’t always fair, and disgruntled employees sometimes post inaccurate or subjective comments about your organization. However, your candidates are reading these reviews, so it’s your job to keep track and engage with them when necessary.

Ultimately, the bottom line is simple. If you’re having trouble attracting candidates, treat other people the way you want to be treated. You may be surprised by how much your talent pipeline improves as a result.

A version of this article originally appeared on Copeland Coaching.

Angela Copeland is a career coach and CEO at Copeland Coaching.

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Angela Copeland is a career coach and CEO at her firm, Copeland Coaching ( She is host of the Copeland Coaching Podcast, and author of the career eBook "Breaking The Rules & Getting The Job". Follow Angela on Facebook (, Twitter (, and Instagram (