Candidate Ghosting – A Deadly Sin of Executive Search

Candidate ghosting is an expensive and an extremely common problem in executive search. It seems like a breeze now that you’ve completed the interview process, selected your top applicant, and sent out the offer letter.

And then radio silence from either end!

What impact can candidate ghosting have on your executive search firm?

For recruiters, it can be frustrating because they are unable to move forward with their hiring plans. They may also lose potential candidates who may have already been interested in the job.

For candidates, it can be frustrating because they may not know what is happening and may not be getting any feedback. They may also lose interest in the job if the process takes too long.

This can have a significant impact on the business, as qualified candidates may move on to other opportunities and the recruitment process may need to start over from scratch. It is critical for both parties to avoid this and ensure the recruitment process continues smoothly.

A recent LinkedIn report indicates that  almost 95% of executive recruiters have experienced ghosting, and a shocking 40% of candidates have no qualms about ghosting a recruiter.

This throws light on an interesting fact that though the term ‘candidate ghosting’ is popularly used for candidates who stop responding to a recruiter’s calls, it is also being used for recruiters who take the candidates up until the final step and then drop them like hot potatoes without offering any reasons for doing so. While a hot candidate driven market might be a reason, the roots run deep. Job seekers who have experienced employer ghosting in the past often feel justified in leaving hiring managers in the dark. They may not feel any guilt, as the experience has likely left them feeling frustrated and ignored.

There are several reasons why avoiding ghosting is important. The first reason is that ghosting can be very damaging to your brand. If potential candidates are constantly being ghosted by your executive search firm, they are going to be much less likely to approach you. Additionally, ghosting can also be very damaging to your recruiting process. If you ghost candidates , they are going to be much less likely to want to apply through your firm. This can significantly reduce the number of potential candidates that you are able to recruit. And also impact the number of potential employers that you are able to place your candidates with. 

Creating a high touch candidate experience is the key for a successful candidate placement. First, be authentic and communicative. Let them know what to expect and be clear about what the process will be like. Second, put your candidates first. Make sure they feel valued and appreciated, and that you are responsive to their needs. Stay in touch with your candidates, letting them know when they can expect to hear from you and following through on your promise to reach out. If you do these things, you’ll be able to establish a strong relationship with your candidates and minimize the risk of being ghosted.

Want to build your own recruitment business? Become a Tanner Menzies Licensee. To know more, you can reach out to Peter Gleeson, Ian Stacy or Peter Tanner at (03) 9190 8904 or visit