Have You Been 'Ghosted'? Your Industry Might Be Part of the Problem

Both job applicants and employers are guilty of radio silence following interviews

Kathy Gurchiek By Kathy Gurchiek July 9, 2019
Have You Been Ghosted? Your Industry Might Be Part of the Problem

Job candidates who had a great interview but don't respond to the employer's calls, texts and e-mails about an offer; new hires who never report to work; or employees who walk off the job without a word—these are people who drive HR professionals and hiring managers crazy.

No one likes to be "ghosted," which is more prevalent in certain industries, according to The Knowledge Academy, a provider of training courses. The findings are based on a survey the organization conducted between March and May 2019 with 1,325 full-time U.S. workers.

The advertising, marketing, public relations and media sectors are more likely to see job applicants disappear without a trace, it found, with candidates not showing up for interviews or responding to job offers. 

In a robust economy with unemployment at a historic low, job candidates have adopted behavior that has become commonplace on online dating sites. They're juggling multiple job offers or jumping to another position after accepting an offer.

Sometimes, candidates who've waltzed through the hiring dance realize they don't want the new job after all. So they find it easier to just not show up.

For the employer, though, ghosting is not just an inconvenience. No-shows affect the bottom line, forcing recruiters and hiring managers to restart a hiring process they thought was over and delay projects that relied on the very people who never showed up for work.

When ghosting happens often enough, it may prompt employers to rethink their recruiting and interview process—and perhaps reflect on how they've treated candidates in the past. It was not uncommon, for example, for applicants to never hear from employers after an interview, or for recruiters to dodge phone calls and delete messages from candidates wanting to know their status in the selection process.

[SHRM members-only toolkit: Interviewing Candidates for Employment]

See below to find out which industries are most often on the giving—and receiving—end of ghosting behavior.

ghosting chart.jpg



Hire the best HR talent or advance your own career.

Are you a department of one?

Expand your toolbox with the tools and techniques needed to fix your organization’s unique needs.

Expand your toolbox with the tools and techniques needed to fix your organization’s unique needs.



HR Daily Newsletter

News, trends and analysis, as well as breaking news alerts, to help HR professionals do their jobs better each business day.