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Why ghosting potential employees crushes them & only hurts you

Ghosting potential employees has become a staple LinkedIn topic. It’s becoming far too common, but the company itself suffers the most.

A woman sits in front of a laptop with a hand to her head and a tired expression on her face as she deals with ghosting from a potential employer.

A majority – if not all – of our lives nowadays revolve around our employment status and getting ahead of the rest. Jobs are easy to find but are getting increasingly difficult to actually obtain, thanks to ghosting and other horrible hiring tactics. Every company is coming up with more and more rules and regulations that only benefit them and not the employees.

Now coming from personal experience, I have left positions that I found no longer suited me in the hope of a better one like many workers do. We all just want to live happy and comfortable lives. So when we are on our way out of the door, we are thinking we are making the right decision.

Then we all apply to everything that interests us, meets our needs, and we have skills in. You’d be thinking well, all you need to do now is sit back and wait right?

That’s the problem though – we wait….and wait….and wait. Days, and sometimes weeks, go by and its radio silence from employers, so we apply to more positions in hopes that it was just a fluke. The cycle continues until a company decides that you fit what they need and they reach out.

Yay! We got an interview – that’s great. We go through the interview, they seem to like us, and again we wait…and wait…and wait. Silence.

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The problem with this is companies are simply ghosting those that they don’t find qualified for a position. Not only is it incredibly rude, but it makes the potential employee feel invisible. I have applied to similar positions with credentials that meet the needs of those positions. 80% of the time, I hear nothing back.

It’s not just me either. Forbes reported in early 2021 that,

“An astounding 77% of job seekers say they’ve been ghosted by a prospective employer since the onset of Covid-19, with 10% reporting that an employer has ghosted them even after a verbal job offer was extended.”.

That number has steadily grown since then. Just the other day I had gone through three rounds of an interview process and I knew at the end I wouldn’t be getting the position due to some of the finer details not being expressed till later…I just had a feeling. That’s all fine and well, I won’t fit into every position perfectly – no one will – but at the end of the final interview, they asked If I had any questions. I told them I didn’t and I looked forward to hearing from them and then nothing. Ghosted. Okay, not so bad, I knew I wasn’t getting it anyway.

Another position for a very well-known company had me also go through several rounds of interviews and tests. They told me they were excited to have me on board and I would have a final meeting with the COO the following week. They sent me a Zoom conference link and everything. Prior to this, they also expressed that I was the only one they were interviewing and that I had the position in hand.

However, when the day came, the COO did not show up to the meeting. I reached out thinking I had the date and time wrong. They informed me that they would set up another one – that day came and went as well. I reached out again trying to understand and was completely ghosted. No emails, phone calls, or even acknowledgment of leaving me out dry. Then sure as the sky is blue, they reposted the position no more than a week later. I didn’t reapply.

Now, if I didn’t meet their requirements, that’s fine, I’m not hurt by that. If they went with a better fit that’s okay too. But no feedback was ever given to me about what they needed.

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It may seem like a string of bad luck or maybe these companies were small and shady. These are reputable well known companies. Companies you see every day. I won’t name names as it won’t do me any favors, but how exactly does this all trickle down?

Let’s say I didn’t have the right degree for the job or lacked an extra year of experience before applying, but then I went and got that degree or the experience. Now, do you think I would reapply for a company that had ghosted me prior? Or respond to their request to fill out an application? I wouldn’t.

I wouldn’t touch the company with a ten-foot pole. I won’t be shopping in their stores. Now I can tell everyone who is interested in applying to them that they ghost people and don’t care about potential employees. Maybe out of sheer spite, I would apply and go through the process again, just to ghost them after an offer was given.

That would be petty and I wouldn’t actually do that, however, after speaking to other people in my age range facing the same problems, this is how they feel. They don’t want to give work for a company that doesn’t at least acknowledge someone who has applied for a position. Companies every day are being canceled and losing loyal customers due to ghosting. This is another avenue that needs to be taken seriously.

The right move would be to speak with your recruiting and HR departments. They are the front lines and the reason people are growing more upset. We even wrote about how HR was destroying your brand nearly 9 years ago! This is not new. What is new, however, is how new generations are handling ghosting.

I do not think most of us expect a full report of feedback from HR. But we do expect at least a thanks, but no thanks. Simply send an email saying you’ve selected someone else or you are not interested anymore, but thank you. This will go a long way in helping your company.

At the end of the day, ghosting potential employees hurts the company the most. Treat others how you expect to be treated and send that dang email.

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A native New Englander who migrated to Austin on a whim, Stephanie Dominique is a freelance copywriter, novelist, and certificate enthusiast. When she's not getting howled at by two dachshunds or inhaling enough sugar to put a giant into shock, she is reading, cooking or writing about her passions.


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