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Workplace Ghosting

Posted By Administration, Saturday, October 27, 2018


“Workplace Ghosting”

A phenomenon that’s spooking employers everywhere

Written by: Lori McKnight


Workplace Ghosting is not a new phenomenon, but the popular dating term has recently been adopted to explain candidates who:

·       don’t show up for an interview

·       accept a job then don’t show up

·       leave with zero notice


Why are candidates vanishing?


1.     It’s a candidate-driven labor market. Ghosting tends to spook employers during good economic times (think 60s, the late 90s, now) when demand for certain types of workers exceeds supply. It doesn’t explain the immature behavior but does explain why it’s happening more now.


Fast fact: 34% of employees voluntarily left their job within the first year in 2017 compared to total labour turnover of 14%


2.     Technology has made communication less personal. While technology has made recruitment more efficient and less biased, the lack of face-to-face conversations means relationships lack depth in the courting and interview stages. Not to mention candidates often have multiple recruiters after them.


Fast fact: According to a LinkedIn survey, almost 50% of people would be “extremely or very interested” in hearing from a corporate recruiter.


3.     Candidates are doing their homework.  Candidates are researching you; they’re assessing your company culture and employee engagement through Glassdoor and other crowd-sourcing sites. If they don’t like what they read or feel it’s not a good fit, you’ll be removed from their shortlist, sometimes without notice.  


Fast fact: According to Glassdoor the average job seeker reads at least six reviews in the process of forming an opinion on a company.



Is it a generational thing?

While millennials may have created this term, there’s no data to support they are the villains. HR professionals are hearing of it across all ages in the job search process. It’s a case of immaturity and inexperience and more prevalent in high-demand, entry level positions with an abundance of jobs.




Here are a few things you can do to avoid candidates going missing in action.


1.    Build a Relationship

Stay close to your candidates. Ask about their hobbies and interests to establish rapport, be respectful, show your personality and communicate vigilantly throughout the process.  

Even over-communicating is a positive differentiator and will alert you to any issues. 


2.    Update your Onboarding Program

Most orientation programs are geared to Boomers and Gen Xers who are more inclined to watch PPTs and read through binders of information. Millennials aren’t interested in PowerPoints. They want videos and more team-based and interactive learning. Here are some ideas to create a more engaging and effective onboarding program:


·       Match each new hire up with an employee who serves as a company Ambassador for one year to foster social connections, show around the office and who he/she can safely ask questions


·       Develop a structured onboarding program. CSI STARS Onboarding has a series of pre-scheduled, well-thought out touch points that ensures managers and new hires meet regularly, soliciting feedback and discussing learning opportunities before an issue escalates


·       Train your Managers. You know the saying…employees don’t leave companies, they leave bad managers. Not enough mentoring is happening from day 1. Millennials were raised in activities and sports that involved coaching and teamwork. A strong mentorship program could the deciding factor in wooing top talent. Check out SHRM’s comprehensive library of Onboarding resources .


3.    Focus on Culture. Culture. Culture

Ghosting is a symptom of a bigger problem either with your recruiting process, reputation or culture. Ask why this is happening. Make sure you are giving an honest reflection of your culture and that candidates selected are a good cultural fit.  Take a serious look at your company’s reviews on social media. It could be hurting you.



Do you have a “ghost story”? I’d love to hear about it. Send me an email at


To learn more about how to prevent Ghosting in the Workplace, sign up for our upcoming webinar on Nov 6th at noon.





"All data and information provided on this blog is for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal or HR advice (which should be obtained through formal retention of a lawyer or HR professional, respectively).  Nothing contained in this blog reflects the opinions of GOSHRM or any of its directors or members. GOSHRM makes no representations as to accuracy, completeness, current-ness, suitability, or validity of any information on this blog and will not be liable for any errors, omissions, or delays in this information or any losses, injuries, or damages arising from its display or use. All information is provided on an as-is basis."

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