This post, job seekers are ghosting us on interviews and job offers , was originally published by Alison Green on Ask a Manager.
A reader writes:
I recently made a slight career change. I went from working at a nonprofit to working for a vendor I often outsourced work to, so the people I manage now do almost the same thing as the people I managed previously. Part of my job is hiring, but I’m having a much harder time hiring now than I did at the nonprofit. The pay and benefits are better— we start people at more than the max rate at the nonprofit, hours are more consistent, and we offer good PTO, matching 401k, and insurance. I’ve sent out over 30 offers to interview. Nine agreed to interviews. Three didn’t show up, two failed background checks, two didn’t want to travel even though it is in the job description that 50-75% of this job is travel, and we’ve made offers to the other two but neither has responded to accept or reject. I’ve never had so many people just not respond or not show up. Is this the new normal? Was this always normal and I just never experienced it? I’m at a loss and feeling really discouraged.
To some extent it’s the new normal, yes.. In a lot of fields (not all, but a lot), it’s very much a job seeker’s market, and so candidates aren’t jumping at interviews or offers with the same interest that they did previously. Employers are seeing a lot more ghosting: people not showing up for interviews and even not showing up for jobs. It’s a reflection of the increase in options that (some) job seekers have.
If you’re thinking that it’s awfully rude of them to just ghost rather than contacting the employer to bow out … well, employers have been doing this to candidates for years — not calling for scheduled interviews and never getting back to people who interviewed with them.
Now that the balance of power has shifted, however temporarily (and maybe it’s not that temporary, who knows), the tables have turned and the ghosting is starting to go in the other direction too.
It’s rude when employers do it, and it’s rude when candidates do it. But in a lot of ways, employers set up these ground rules themselves when they treated candidates so cavalierly when the market made it easy for them to do that.
Of course, not every employer operates that way! Many managers, including me, have always been diligent about getting back to every candidate who applies for a job. But employers ghosting people has become so very much the norm that it’s no surprise that workers have decided to play by the same rules.
All that said, I suspect there’s a nonprofit/for-profit difference at play in your situation too. When you’re hiring for nonprofits, a much higher percentage of candidates will be specifically excited to work for your organization in particular, and because of that they’re inherently less likely to ghost. So you’re probably seeing that difference at work too.
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