The term “ghosting” refers to when someone cuts off all communication without prior notice or warning. It is often used when talking about friends or someone you’re dating. This being said, it also occurs in the recruitment world and it doesn’t hurt any less.

The pain is greater with more qualified candidates, namely the people who seem perfect for the job. The time and effort put into each candidate adds up to a significant amount, and ghosting basically means your efforts were wasted.

To clarify, an applicant is anyone who applies to a job, qualified or not. A candidate is an applicant who has made it through the screening process with at least the bare minimum requirements and can potentially get the job.

With the changes in work culture, brought about by variables such as world events and the different generations of people that make up the working force, there’s been an increase in efforts to gain and retain top talent. While the boomer generation is seemingly phasing out of the workforce and a huge wave of Gen Z is populating new job positions, there’s been a significant push to gain and retain top candidates. Here are a couple of tips to keep your top candidates from ghosting you and your company.

Depiction of being upfront with salary

1. Be Upfront About The Salary

You’ve probably heard the saying “treat others the way you want to be treated,” with this in mind, whenever allowed, be upfront about the salary. If you make an applicant jump through hoops to find out the salary just for it to be below their asking salary, don’t be surprised if they ghost you when they hear numbers they don’t like.

No one enjoys their time being wasted and if it takes an initial interview, a couple of assessments, and a follow up interview for an applicant turned candidate to be told the salary only to find out it’s below their asking amount, you just wasted the time of everyone involved.

While it is true that there is a high and low end to the salary of every position, it’s best to be upfront about it. It will definitely reduce the number of people who ghost you, but as a tradeoff, many of the candidates who you would’ve interviewed if you hid the salary may not even apply.

2. Find Out What Each Candidate Wants

As a recruiter, it’s imperative to find out if applicants are qualified enough to become candidates. By taking it a step further, finding out what a candidate wants or expects from a company can help you gauge the risk of them ghosting you. Just like with salary, being upfront and honest about everything is the best policy.

The goal is to find any deal breakers and address them as early on in the recruitment process as possible in order to move past that issue. Whether this means removing them from the job requisition or trying to find a suitable compromise, it removes the chance of ghosting.

If you find that their expectations are met by the company, it should be your goal to highlight the compatibility of the candidate’s beliefs and the company’s culture, especially if the candidate has exhibited all of the traits and skills required in the job description. In a way, if you know the company matches their beliefs, “selling” the company should be easy for any recruiter.

A “FAST LANE” sign in an office

3. Hire Candidates Faster

Patience is a virtue…for those without other options. For high-level, sought-after staff, patience is not needed as multiple companies will be fighting to get them hired. Any stalling or hold-ups in the hiring process can mean being a day or even an hour late to give a qualified candidate a job offer letter.

In a survey conducted by Lighthouse Research & Advisory, 36% of all candidates stated that they decided to ghost their recruiter due to the process taking too long and for being too complex.

Recruitment teams should find a way to streamline the process of hiring. It’s reasonable to ask for assessments and portfolios from candidates in order to see the quality of their work or to test their skills.

These assessments and portfolios should be checked as soon as possible to reduce the time it takes for any candidate to hear back from the recruiter, whether they’re pushing through the process or being dropped from the candidate pool. Any prolonging of the process increases the chances of a candidate ghosting.

4. Improve Employer Brand Image

Company branding is important as it is how most of the world will view and judge your company. Employer branding is almost the exact same thing, only targeted to applicants. This branding is the first thing people will see when searching for your company.

Positive employer branding will help you both hire and retain the best employees, so creating and maintaining a positive employer image is important, especially with the newer generation of employees placing a greater emphasis on workplace culture and goal alignment.

Having a well-crafted employee value proposition (EVP) helps greatly in this regard. An EVP consists of:

  • Compensation: salary, raises, and bonuses
  • Benefits: paid time off, healthcare, and remote work
  • Career: advancement opportunities, education opportunities, training, and coaching
  • Culture: mission, vision, and atmosphere


Having a competitive EVP with other businesses in your industry will have employees thinking of you before other companies when applying. Given that the benefits are better than your competition, they could also be why your employees stay with you versus looking for other opportunities.

It’s best to start creating a positive employer brand at the beginning of the company’s life, but it’s never too late to start. Stay true to your company branding and your employer brand will form from it.

Happy recruiter doing an interview, improving candidate experience

5. Improve Applicant/Candidate Experience

Improving the applicant and candidate experience is critical for attracting and keeping quality staff. This experience encompasses all previous tips as it is the whole process before hiring. This means from the moment they click onto your company website or on a job advertisement till they’re either hired or dropped from that specific requisition, the experience has to leave a good impression.

Reviewing the recruitment journey that most applicants take is the first step in improving this experience. Every single step must be looked at in order to make any type of improvements and ensure that ghosting isn’t caused by any specific step.

Taking a survey of candidates can help you better understand what areas you need to improve. CareerArc did a survey involving candidates and HR professionals in order to see what part of recruitment needs the biggest improvement, and 59.2% of the candidates agreed that communication needs to be better across the entire process.

The Wrap Up

Avoiding ghosting as a recruiter is simple in theory: treat others the way you’d want to be treated if you were an applicant and respect their time. Whenever applicable, be as transparent as you can, especially with matters such as involving the employee value proposition.

You want to provide a candidate experience that is both professional and streamlined as you’re racing to hire the best talent while not ignoring the people who don’t make the cut as their reviews will hurt your employer brand. If you combine all of these tips, you should see an increase in the talent you’re able to find and keep.