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NextGen Magazine


Survey Explores Why Job Seekers Ghost Employers

S.J. Steinhardt
Published Date:
Dec 8, 2023

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Job seekers ghosting prospective employers by not showing up for interviews or even the first day of the new job became more of a trend during the pandemic, causing real headaches for employers. A new survey provides some insights into this trend—and it’s not all about the money.  

The survey, by jobs site Indeed, revealed how prevalent this phenomenon has become. Fully 78 percent of job seekers admitted ghosting an employer prior to 2022, and 77 percent of employers said ghosting had become more common among job seekers during 2022, compared to previous years. Three quarters of U.S. job seekers and employers said that ghosting has become entrenched in the hiring landscape.

The survey also found that 59 percent of job seekers regretted ghosting an employer and 36 percent felt guilty about it. Despite that regret and guilt, 62 percent of job seekers said that they planned to do it again.

As for why they ghosted employers, the top five reasons respondents gave were that the job was not the right one for them, the company was not the right one for them, the pay offer was not enough, the benefits were not enough, and the job seeker received another offer. Twenty-three percent said doing so made them feel empowered. (They didn’t say how or why).

The top five reasons why employers said they were ghosted by applicants were that the applicants received another offer, it was not the right job for them, they were uncomfortable communicated their decision, they weren't sure how to pull out of the process, and the pay offer was too low.

The report noted that ghosting in the hiring process hasn't been a one-way street: "Historically, it has been common practice for employers to cease all communications after interviewing a candidate they don’t plan to hire, and the data supports that this practice continues today."

Notably, the survey found that 70 percent of job seekers said they believed it was “fair” to ghost employers, noting that many applicants may believe that ghosting is justified following years of perceived poor treatment from employers who’ve ghosted them during the hiring process. 

When asked what strategies would prevent applicants from ghosting employers, the employers surveyed said improving communication and transparency (54 percent), streamlining the hiring process (43 percent) and offering flexible work arrangements (36 percent). However, applicants offered a different list of factors that would prevent them from ghosting: higher pay (42 percent) better pay transparency (41 percent), and better benefits (38 percent), with better communication with recruiters and managers ranking fourth at 34 percent.

To arrive at its results, Indeed used Censuswide to conduct surveys of 1,507 U.S. job seekers aged 18 to 64 who have ghosted employers in the past. Those surveys were carried out between April 26 and May 9, 2023. Additional surveys of 1,502 U.S. employers that have been ghosted during the hiring process were conducted between April 26 and May 3. Surveys were also conducted in the United Kingdom and Canada.