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  • Writer's pictureRalph Kellogg

Left in Limbo: The Unsettling Reality of Being Ghosted by an Employer During the Job Hunt

When I started my career, it was common practice to hear from an employer when applying for a job. One of two things would generally happen – a polite “thanks but no thanks letter,” or a call from a recruiter wanting to schedule an interview.

We have all had the sense of doing well in an interview and anxiously awaiting a callback, only to have our hopes dashed and our egos bruised by never hearing back from the company.

Or how about making it through one, two, or even three rounds of interviews only to never hear from the company again? 

I often hear about the practice of “ghosting” from job seekers. While organizations believe they may not have the time or feel that reaching out to applicants is not worth the investment, as someone who works in human resources, I can tell you that ghosting applicants damages an organization’s reputation and the bottom line.

  1. Reputation Damage:

  • Word of mouth travels quickly, especially in professional circles. If job applicants have a negative experience with your hiring process, they may share their experiences on online platforms like Glassdoor or other social media platforms. This publicity will harm your company's reputation and make it less attractive to potential employees.


2.      Impact on Employer Branding:

  • The way you treat job applicants reflects your employment brand. Companies known for being respectful, transparent, and communicative during the hiring process are more likely to attract top talent. Conversely, ghosting can deter qualified candidates from applying.


3.      Missed Opportunities for Feedback:

  • Providing feedback to applicants, even if it's a rejection, offers them insights into areas for improvement. It's an opportunity for candidates to understand why they weren't selected and to learn from the experience. Ghosting denies them this chance for professional development.


4.      Impact on Diversity and Inclusion:

  • Ghosting can disproportionately affect underrepresented groups. It can contribute to a negative perception of the company's commitment to diversity and inclusion, making it harder to attract a diverse pool of candidates in the future. Moreover, according to a 2018 Harvard Business Review article, companies that embraced diversity were 9% higher with EBIT results.


5.      Impact on Employee Morale:

  • How a company treats potential employees can influence the morale of current employees. If potential colleagues see that the company is not respectful or communicative during the hiring process, it may negatively impact their perception of the workplace culture.


6.      Legal Implications:

  • In some jurisdictions, there are legal implications for failing to communicate with job applicants. Laws may require employers to provide feedback or inform applicants about the status of their application.


7.      Networking Effects:

  • The professional world is interconnected, and people often network within their industries. Ghosting can result in adverse networking effects, with applicants sharing their experiences with colleagues and peers, potentially impacting partnerships, collaborations, or future business relationships.


Employers must maintain open and transparent communication throughout the hiring process. Even if the company rejects an applicant, providing timely and respectful feedback can contribute to a positive employer brand and help build long-term relationships within the professional community.

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