How to Avoid the 5 Ghosts of Abandoned Interviews

As companies are putting their shoulder into recruitment to add new positions and to backfill positions from one in four people leaving their jobs in 2021, some are getting ghosted at interview appointments by prospective new hires! Hiring managers accustomed to playing hard-to-get as a method for seeing which candidates rise to the challenge are experiencing carefully selected interviewees becoming no-shows. While a no-show can be called out as bad manners and as a poor choice on the part of the candidate, this ghosting behavior stems from a deeper divergence of mutual interest. Some not-so-uncommon expectations of employers have become red flags for job seekers in today’s labor market.

As a step that follows candidate screening, job seekers are most often excited and appreciative of receiving a request to meet for an interview. What is causing them to abandon the process?

The 5 Ghosts of Abandoned Interviews

Ghost 1, Job Post Quality

The candidate received an interview invitation from a different employer with a position that sounds like a better fit for them (likely because the job post from the competing employer is more informative). The best way to prevent candidate loss from competing employers is to write a great job post.  Make sure the job post includes the 5 essential parts: responsibilities, salary range, opportunity, a challenge, and the company mission. A great job post will enable the candidate to self-screen if this position is a likely fit for them, and it will increase their commitment to winning the job if enough detail is provided for them to picture themselves as a part of your company. 

Ghost 2, Compensation Clarity

The candidate feels insecure about the compensation your company is offering. Be clear in your communications that the compensation your company provides is both competitive within your industry and that great work is rewarded. Also, proactively acknowledge that your company is addressing the rising cost of living, whether it be through annual reviews, offsetting transportation costs through remote work flexibility, or other employee benefits. The trend towards greater income security causes candidates to prioritize employers who communicate their understanding of its importance.

Ghost 3, Business Vulnerability

The candidate views the company as having business vulnerabilities. As an example, companies with that did not address their vulnerabilities to the COVID-19 pandemic could be viewed as being at greater risk of not adapting to future calamities. It’s important to share with candidates about recent challenges the company has overcome on behalf of its workers. Share about any processes or methods that have improved working conditions, company culture, or the resilience of the company. Share about how the products or services your company delivers are meaningful to its customers and to its partners to show why it is your company is going to continue to prosper. A company’s ability to overcome adversity is a concern candidates have about companies of all sizes.

Ghost 4, Timing

A known hiring motto is to “hire slow and fire fast”. That may sound catchy and resonate for some situations but it can impede what would otherwise be an efficient and streamlined process for onboarding the best candidates. When a candidate sets a personal goal of starting a new job within a specific timeframe they are searching for job opportunities within that time frame. Even if the position you’re offering is perfect for the candidate, there is no guarantee they will show up for the interview if the job start date feels too far out as compared to a different more timely opportunity. Winning a new hire with time sensitivity begins with knowing about it. Ask them early on in the process when they are available to start in the position if selected. A solution for hiring slowly without losing a time-sensitive candidate is to offer them a trial period to work with your company, maybe for 30 to 90 days. Some candidates know this is a way for them to shine on the job and they will feel encouraged.

Ghost 5, Communication

The candidate received better communication from a different employment opportunity. Even if the competing employer was not offering a better position or higher pay, the candidate may feel that opportunity is the one for them to pursue whole-heartedly if they received better communication from that company’s hiring manager or recruiter. Candidates are led to believe they cannot expect responses to their emails or voice messages because they are one person in a great field of candidates. When a prospective employer is instead responsive this sends the signal that it may be the right opportunity. Sending a candidate an appointment time for an interview is not enough, especially if any of their communications have gone unanswered. 


Direct Hire and Contract Recruiters of top talent build relationships with the best candidates to earn their trust in what will be a meaningful life decision. Staying connected through the hiring cycle to get to know and understand top candidates will result in interview appointments everyone is excited to show up for on time – or even a bit early.

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