It's not unheard of for a company to bring a job candidate in for an interview, follow up with a second meeting, and then never reach out again. It's known as ghosting, and while it's often thrown around in the context of dating, it applies to the workplace as well.
Ghosting essentially means disappearing without a trace of communication. For years, job seekers have been bemoaning the fact that employers have no qualms about ghosting them at any point during the application process. But these days, a growing number of companies are getting a taste of their own medicine. Candidates are increasingly likely to ghost employers by failing to return calls or emails after having initiated the interview process.
Part of the candidate ghosting trend stems from the fact that the job market is fairly healthy these days. And when employment opportunities abound, job seekers have an easier time pulling out of the interview process without offering the courtesy of a heads-up.
If you're looking to fill open roles at your company, the last thing you want is to get ghosted. Once that happens, you'll have to start the applicant-vetting process from scratch, which means you'll end up wasting time, money, and energy.
Now, it's not always possible to predict when a job candidate will ghost you. But here are a few clues that you may be dealing with someone who's likely to go dark at the worst possible time.
1. It's a struggle to schedule that initial interview
It's not completely unusual to encounter scheduling challenges when trying to set up a job interview. After all, you can't expect candidates to put their current jobs at risk in an effort to get hired, and so you may need to accommodate certain requests, like meeting early in the morning or after-hours. But if you have candidates who make it exceptionally difficult to get that first interview scheduled, it could be that they just don't care all that much about the opportunity, in which case you could wind up ghosted.
2. It's equally difficult to schedule a follow-up meeting
By the time candidates are called back for a second interview, it means that they have a pretty strong shot at getting the job. Therefore, if you have an applicant who makes it equally difficult to set up a follow-up meeting, you might take it as a sign that you're dealing with someone who isn't all that interested in working for you, and may very well stop communicating with you out of the blue.
3. The candidate is noncommittal about a potential start date
Getting an official job offer is something candidates should celebrate. But if you reach the point where you've made it clear that an offer is incoming, but the candidate in question won't lock in a start date, it's a sign that person doesn't particularly want the job. So you shouldn't be surprised if you present that offer and don't get a response.
Whether done by a job candidate or an employer, ghosting isn't professional. And frankly, it's just not nice. As an employer, it pays to look out for red flags that a candidate could end up ghosting you. At the same time, revisit your communication practices with regard to recruiting to ensure that you're not ghosting applicants who, at the very least, deserve a quick note or phone call thanking them for their time, and letting them know you've moved on.