Workplace

Time kills deals: How to avoid getting ghosted by job candidates

84% of job seekers admitted to ghosting in the last 18 months.

Ghosts fleeing from phone call

Ghosting employers isn’t new, but the hot talent market is driving a resurgence of this behavior.

Illustration: Christopher T. Fong/Protocol

Their LinkedIn was mesmerizing. Sparks flew during the first interview. But afterward, that promising job candidate just… disappeared.

Job seekers are ghosting employers all over the place these days. In the last year and a half alone, 84% of U.S. job candidates have ghosted an employer, potential employer or both, according to a February study from the people analytics software-maker Visier.

Alexandra Von Tiergarten, a Los Angeles-based regional director for the talent firm Robert Half, was ghosted by an entry-level candidate for an internal role within the last week. The candidate had gone through two prior interviews with the firm, but skipped the third-round virtual interview without warning.

“I went back to my team to find out what steps we didn’t do correctly,” Von Tiergarten said. “There were too many days in between the first interview and the interview with me. In that instance, I think time killed us.”

Why you’re getting ghosted

By surveying more than 2,300 senior managers and more than 2,400 workers in the U.S., Robert Half found that 35% of employers who had lost out on a candidate had done so because they were slow to make an offer. 40% lost a candidate because they didn’t allow enough schedule flexibility, and 24% offered too little pay.

“It’s really a representation of what’s going on with talent right now, because we have much more choice,” said Andrea Derler, an organizational economist who works as Visier’s head of Research.

Ghosting employers isn’t new, but the hot talent market is driving a resurgence of this behavior. (And disappearing like this might not be a great employee trait, anyway.) Of the U.S. workers surveyed by Visier, 37% admitted that in the last 18 months, they’d disappeared from an employer, and 30% said they’d ghosted a potential employer. 10% said they’d ghosted both.

And employers are feeling the effects. 39% of employers surveyed by Robert Half said that candidates are ghosting more often than they were two years ago.

Men are more likely than women to ghost, Visier found, with 90% of men and 68% of women admitting to ghosting. Office workers also admitted to more ghosting than front-line workers did. The biggest ghosters of all were senior leaders: 99% of senior vice presidents and 96% of C-level executives admitted that they’d ghosted a potential employer before. Vice presidents (93%) and directors (91%) also did their share of ghosting.

How to ward off ghosts

In order to avoid being ghosted, Robert Half recommends that companies move fast on strong candidates: Time kills deals. Quickly follow up with all candidates, even the ones who aren’t a fit, in order to build a reputation for providing a strong candidate experience. Make that communication “friendly, persuasive and specific,” Robert Half recommends in its report.

Even waiting two or three days to follow up with a strong candidate is too long in this market, Von Tiergarten said.

“In that time frame, they will get other job interviews and perhaps other offers,” Von Tiergarten said. “As you are interviewing a candidate, you’ve got to give them feedback, perhaps at the end of the interview, as to whether or not you are going to be pushing them forward in the process.”

One in three candidates told Robert Half they had ghosted because of a subpar interview process. 29% said they did because they’d received another offer, and 23% ghosted because the job wasn’t what they expected. 16% of workers said they’d ghosted because the company would have required them to work from the office.

Visier found similar results. The main reasons workers reported to Visier were low salary (29%), better job offers (28%), inaccurate job description (27%), poor reputation or online reviews (26%) and poorly perceived work culture (22%).

Poorly written job descriptions are a common obstacle to hiring. Robert Half deals with this type of miscommunication “on a regular basis,” Von Tiergarten said.

“Sometimes there’s a disconnect between what the hiring manager is wanting and the HR professional that wrote the job description,” Von Tiergarten said. “You’ve got some companies that write huge job descriptions with 20 things that they want, and then you have companies that write very narrow job descriptions because they’re trying to get a bigger pool.”

Given how many candidates ghost because they’re disappointed by the compensation on offer, Robert Half recommends that companies make sure their offer is above average on compensation, flexibility and perks, like a sign-on bonus. Von Tiergarten recommends making sure a candidate’s salary expectations fit within budget early. That could happen on the first interview if it’s with the hiring manager, she said.

The tables have turned, and they’ll turn again

Of course, many employers have ghosted on candidates, too, and it can sting. (37% of workers told Visier they’d be more upset about being ghosted by an employer than being stood up on a date.) But as candidates hold more and more power, employers are getting a taste of their own medicine.

“Years ago, it was the employee who was always on the weaker branch of the tree and had to take what they could,” Derler said. “It has implications for how leaders and managers treat employees, from the start of the first hiring interview until they want to consider who gets promoted.”

This is a phase, Derler said, but companies need to adjust if candidates are slipping through their fingers.

“I think that the responsibility currently really lies with the organization, because it’s on them now to create a really good candidate experience and employee experience,” Derler said. “It’s on HR leaders, but also business leaders, to make sure they get the right talent.”

Fintech

Judge Zia Faruqui is trying to teach you crypto, one ‘SNL’ reference at a time

His decisions on major cryptocurrency cases have quoted "The Big Lebowski," "SNL," and "Dr. Strangelove." That’s because he wants you — yes, you — to read them.

The ways Zia Faruqui (right) has weighed on cases that have come before him can give lawyers clues as to what legal frameworks will pass muster.

Photo: Carolyn Van Houten/The Washington Post via Getty Images

“Cryptocurrency and related software analytics tools are ‘The wave of the future, Dude. One hundred percent electronic.’”

That’s not a quote from "The Big Lebowski" — at least, not directly. It’s a quote from a Washington, D.C., district court memorandum opinion on the role cryptocurrency analytics tools can play in government investigations. The author is Magistrate Judge Zia Faruqui.

Keep Reading Show less
Veronica Irwin

Veronica Irwin (@vronirwin) is a San Francisco-based reporter at Protocol covering fintech. Previously she was at the San Francisco Examiner, covering tech from a hyper-local angle. Before that, her byline was featured in SF Weekly, The Nation, Techworker, Ms. Magazine and The Frisc.

The financial technology transformation is driving competition, creating consumer choice, and shaping the future of finance. Hear from seven fintech leaders who are reshaping the future of finance, and join the inaugural Financial Technology Association Fintech Summit to learn more.

Keep Reading Show less
FTA
The Financial Technology Association (FTA) represents industry leaders shaping the future of finance. We champion the power of technology-centered financial services and advocate for the modernization of financial regulation to support inclusion and responsible innovation.
Enterprise

AWS CEO: The cloud isn’t just about technology

As AWS preps for its annual re:Invent conference, Adam Selipsky talks product strategy, support for hybrid environments, and the value of the cloud in uncertain economic times.

Photo: Noah Berger/Getty Images for Amazon Web Services

AWS is gearing up for re:Invent, its annual cloud computing conference where announcements this year are expected to focus on its end-to-end data strategy and delivering new industry-specific services.

It will be the second re:Invent with CEO Adam Selipsky as leader of the industry’s largest cloud provider after his return last year to AWS from data visualization company Tableau Software.

Keep Reading Show less
Donna Goodison

Donna Goodison (@dgoodison) is Protocol's senior reporter focusing on enterprise infrastructure technology, from the 'Big 3' cloud computing providers to data centers. She previously covered the public cloud at CRN after 15 years as a business reporter for the Boston Herald. Based in Massachusetts, she also has worked as a Boston Globe freelancer, business reporter at the Boston Business Journal and real estate reporter at Banker & Tradesman after toiling at weekly newspapers.

Image: Protocol

We launched Protocol in February 2020 to cover the evolving power center of tech. It is with deep sadness that just under three years later, we are winding down the publication.

As of today, we will not publish any more stories. All of our newsletters, apart from our flagship, Source Code, will no longer be sent. Source Code will be published and sent for the next few weeks, but it will also close down in December.

Keep Reading Show less
Bennett Richardson

Bennett Richardson ( @bennettrich) is the president of Protocol. Prior to joining Protocol in 2019, Bennett was executive director of global strategic partnerships at POLITICO, where he led strategic growth efforts including POLITICO's European expansion in Brussels and POLITICO's creative agency POLITICO Focus during his six years with the company. Prior to POLITICO, Bennett was co-founder and CMO of Hinge, the mobile dating company recently acquired by Match Group. Bennett began his career in digital and social brand marketing working with major brands across tech, energy, and health care at leading marketing and communications agencies including Edelman and GMMB. Bennett is originally from Portland, Maine, and received his bachelor's degree from Colgate University.

Enterprise

Why large enterprises struggle to find suitable platforms for MLops

As companies expand their use of AI beyond running just a few machine learning models, and as larger enterprises go from deploying hundreds of models to thousands and even millions of models, ML practitioners say that they have yet to find what they need from prepackaged MLops systems.

As companies expand their use of AI beyond running just a few machine learning models, ML practitioners say that they have yet to find what they need from prepackaged MLops systems.

Photo: artpartner-images via Getty Images

On any given day, Lily AI runs hundreds of machine learning models using computer vision and natural language processing that are customized for its retail and ecommerce clients to make website product recommendations, forecast demand, and plan merchandising. But this spring when the company was in the market for a machine learning operations platform to manage its expanding model roster, it wasn’t easy to find a suitable off-the-shelf system that could handle such a large number of models in deployment while also meeting other criteria.

Some MLops platforms are not well-suited for maintaining even more than 10 machine learning models when it comes to keeping track of data, navigating their user interfaces, or reporting capabilities, Matthew Nokleby, machine learning manager for Lily AI’s product intelligence team, told Protocol earlier this year. “The duct tape starts to show,” he said.

Keep Reading Show less
Kate Kaye

Kate Kaye is an award-winning multimedia reporter digging deep and telling print, digital and audio stories. She covers AI and data for Protocol. Her reporting on AI and tech ethics issues has been published in OneZero, Fast Company, MIT Technology Review, CityLab, Ad Age and Digiday and heard on NPR. Kate is the creator of RedTailMedia.org and is the author of "Campaign '08: A Turning Point for Digital Media," a book about how the 2008 presidential campaigns used digital media and data.

Latest Stories
Bulletins