Over 20% of job applicants ‘ghost’ prospective employers - study

People who are looking for a job for the first time in their life tend to ghost employers at a higher rate than those who are already a part of the workforce or have previously been employed.

 Low wages, workplace disrespect, no career advancement and employee dissatisfaction have helped contribute quiet quitting, which has become popular on TikTok (Illustrative). (photo credit: PXHERE)
Low wages, workplace disrespect, no career advancement and employee dissatisfaction have helped contribute quiet quitting, which has become popular on TikTok (Illustrative).
(photo credit: PXHERE)

More than one in five job applicants have ignored or otherwise ceased communications – commonly known as “ghosting” – with prospective employers after sending in an application, a study commissioned by job search platform ZipRecruiter found. 

Published on Sunday by the job search website, the study found that 21.6% of job applicants admitted that they stopped communicating with companies or recruiters they were in touch with and did not bother to inform them that they had found another job or were no longer in the market for a job.

The results of the study, which surveyed over 2,500 job-seekers who found employment over the past six months, indicate that people who are looking for a job for the first time in their life tend to ghost employers 30% more often than participants who are already a part of the workforce or have been employed previously.

Further, the study found that people under the age of 34 were three times more likely to ghost their prospective employer than workers aged 55 and over, saying this is likely because applicants who would suddenly ignore a potential employer were more likely to apply to a large number of jobs.

 ZipRecruiter office in Tel Aviv. (credit: ZIPRECRUITER) ZipRecruiter office in Tel Aviv. (credit: ZIPRECRUITER)

Applicants who ghosted their recruiter or a potential employer also took more interviews on average than applicants who maintained good communication with parties with whom they ultimately did not agree on a deal. Roughly half of applicants who ghosted companies participated in ten job interviews throughout the six-month search period, whereas those who made sure to maintain contact with all employers participated in an average of six interviews in the same period.

Why do job applicants ghost companies?

Around half of applicants who have suddenly ceased communications with potential employers say they have faced similar conduct from companies after applying for a job, and thus felt it was standard conduct for the job application process. Other factors cited as reasons were a lack of sincerity from the company seeking new staff, long interview wait times and discrimination against minority groups, as well as attention-deficit disorders that made it difficult for applicants to stay on top of their job applications. 

ZipRecruiter’s global employer brand manager Leora Golomb says that ghosting hurts companies' recruitment processes due to the valuable time spent in futile attempts to get answers from potential employees. Golomb urges companies to reduce the possibility of being ghosted by treating candidates with respect accompanied by transparency and not stretching the recruitment process beyond what is required.

Among the largest recruiting companies in the world, ZipRecruiter has been ranked #1 in downloads on Apple and Android devices in the job search field for the past three years and has seen over three million employers use the platform to recruit new employees. ZipRecruiter’s Israeli development center operates in Sharona, Tel Aviv and employs 120 people – a figure that is expected to grow to 200 next year as part of the expansion and absorption of new employees in the fields of data science, product and development.