The top reason that candidates “ghost,” or drop out of an employer’s hiring process, is because the job or company have lost their allure. That’s one of the dangers of allowing candidates to learn more about a company’s culture and opportunities. The major factor leading frontline employees to drop out is a lack of advancement opportunities or career growth.

According to the analyst firm Lighthouse Research & Advisory, ghosting has become a “major challenge for employers when candidates disappear without warning.”

The Need for Speed

Lighthouse said other reasons for candidate ghosting include their accepting another job or attempting to navigate a hiring process that’s too long or too complicated. In addition, speed is a prime concern of candidates when it comes to recruitment and hiring.

“We’ve been telling employers and talent leaders to assume that everyone you talk to is juggling at least one other offer, and if it takes you two weeks to set up the interview, don’t count on that candidate being available at that time,” Lighthouse said. “Employers must speed up the hiring process if they want more consistent results from their hiring activities.”

Most candidates participating in the survey said they’ve never backed out of a job offer after accepting it. However, a “surprising number of people who have backed out” said they did because they’d accepted another job offer somewhere else.

Nearly a quarter of the candidates surveyed, 23%, said they might be prompted to back out of an offer if they faced a lack of communication from the company or its recruiters. “Employers can’t assume that an accepted offer means the person will show up on day one,” Lighthouse said.

“[Employers] have to keep building the relationship and providing value all the way to the start date and beyond,” the advisory firm explained.

By Mark Feffer

Mark Feffer is executive editor of RecruitingDaily and the HCM Technology Report. He’s written for TechTarget, HR Magazine, SHRM, Dice Insights, and TalentCulture, as well as Dow Jones, Bloomberg and Staffing Industry Analysts. He likes schnauzers, sailing and Kentucky-distilled beverages.


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