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Why You Shouldn’t Ghost Unsuccessful Candidates

Just because a candidate isn’t the right fit for your job opening right now, it doesn’t mean they won’t be in the future. And this isn’t the only reason you shouldn’t ghost a candidate for your position, even if they aren’t the right fit.

Ghosting can also affect your business’s reputation and turn off future prospects. Following up with interviewees, even if you aren’t offering them the position, should always be a part of your recruiting checklist.

What is Ghosting?

Unfortunately, ghosting, a word associated with ignoring someone or failing to respond, has become a common occurrence in recruiting.  In a recent survey, 75% of participants said a potential employer had ghosted them. Of those surveyed, 58% said they want to get a response within a week, even if you don’t hire them, and 70% want feedback on their interview.

It isn’t hard to put interview let-downs into your schedule. The notification can be as simple as a form letter, a quick email, or as extensive as a follow-up call with feedback. You would expect the latter for late-round candidates who put a lot of time into the interview process.

So why is it important not to ghost unsuccessful interviewees? Let’s discuss a few of the important reasons. 

Integrity of Your Business

Maintaining a strong sense of integrity is important to any reputable company, and this extends to the hiring process. Informing interviewees who didn’t secure the position is a simple step that can go a long way with boosting respect for your company and its hiring process.

When applicants experience open and honest communication, even in delivering bad news, it promotes a positive image of your company. Ghosting candidates can generate negative word-of-mouth publicity, both in professional networks and on social media, potentially tarnishing a  company’s image and deterring future candidates from applying.

If your organization values integrity, you should understand the importance of treating all candidates with respect, regardless if you hire them or not. While it may seem easier to avoid uncomfortable conversations, doing so can have far-reaching consequences that can undermine your company’s credibility and reputation.

Respect for Candidates

Letting an interviewee know their application was unsuccessful shows respect for the time and effort they put into the process. Every candidate invests significant energy preparing for the interview, researching your company, and sometimes even taking part in multiple rounds of lengthy interviews.

Failing to provide closure by leaving them in the dark reflects poorly on your company. It portrays a lack of empathy towards the applicant’s time– and who knows how far that reputation will reach!

Future Hiring Opportunities

Even if a candidate was unsuccessful, they might have valuable skills, experiences, and connections that could be beneficial to your company in the future. Or, maybe they know someone else who is interviewing at your company. If they don’t hear from you, they will probably not consider future employment offers, and will tell others about the bad experience.

The Bottom Line

Informing interviewees they won’t be hired isn’t just an ethical responsibility, but a strategic choice that can affect the future of your company. So, you should always take the time to make the call or send the email! By respecting candidates’ efforts you  can foster a positive candidate experience and establish yourself as an employer of choice in the competitive job market.


Greenhouse. 2022 Candidate Experience Report. Accessed May 14, 2023.



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