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Nearly half of job seekers report being ‘ghosted’ after an interview

Between 9 October 2023 and 10 October 2023, TopCV surveyed 350 UK career-driven professionals.

New research reveals the fears that haunt professionals during the job hunt. Being ‘ghosted’ — a term used to describe when a recruiter or hiring manager who previously expressed interest suddenly ceases communication — was among their chief concerns, with nearly half (48%) admitting they had experienced being inexplicably left in the dark after speaking with a potential employer.

With Halloween on the horizon, TopCV asked UK professionals whether they have ever been ghosted during their job hunt, as well as which other aspects they find most intimidating. When asked, ‘What do you think is the scariest part of the job search?’ they shared the following responses:

  • ​​Interviewing: Making a bad impression or having to respond to difficult questions (36%)
  • Rejection: Receiving no response; not being selected for a job I want (27%)
  • Competition: Having to stand out from others who may be more qualified (17%)
  • Networking: Dreading having to network; feeling stressed or intimidated by it at times (8%)
  • Negotiating: Having to disclose my salary requirements and/or negotiate my compensation package (6%)
  • Age Discrimination: Being deemed “overqualified” or a poor culture fit due to my age (6%)

‘With nearly half of job seekers (48%) stating they’ve been ghosted by a prospective employer during the interview process, it’s clear that ghosting is a real issue for job seekers, leading to both frustration and resentment’, said Amanda Augustine, careers expert for TopCV and a certified professional career coach (CPCC). ‘In fact, when job seekers were asked whether being ghosted had negatively impacted their opinion of that company, an overwhelming majority (90%) confirmed that it had’.

‘Undeniably, there are consequences for companies who behave poorly, and ignoring candidates during any stage of the vetting process can hurt the employer brand of even the best companies’, said Augustine. ‘Offering the simplest of responses, such as, “thanks for your time, but we’ve decided to go in a different direction” can go a long way towards forging good will, especially as you never know when that candidate may cross paths with you or the organisation in the future’.

Unfortunately, ghosting often results from factors that are outside of a candidate’s control. However, Augustine recommends that job seekers take the following steps to minimise the risk of being ghosted:

  • Do your research: Use company review sites like Glassdoor and leverage your professional network to learn more about the company and its hiring process. This can help you understand what to expect during the interview process and how responsive a company may — or may not — be with candidates.
  • Ask the hard questions: During the interview, ask the hiring manager or recruiter if there’s any reason they would be reluctant to hire you. Not only will their response help you gauge their interest in your candidacy, but it will also give you an opportunity to overcome their objections while you still have their attention.
  • Get expectations set: Toward the end of the interview, ask your interviewer about the expected timeline for making a hiring decision, and whether you can follow-up with them via email or phone. This can give you an idea of when to follow up and reduce your uncertainty.
  • Follow up promptly: Send a thank-you email within 24 hours of the interview. Express your appreciation for the opportunity, reiterate your interest in the position, and ask about the next steps in the hiring process. This shows professionalism and your earnest interest in the role.

In addition to being ghosted, the type of interview can also fill job candidates with fear, perhaps fueled by post-pandemic workplaces, many of which are permanently remote. When asked, ‘What interview format do you find most frightening?’ job seekers stated that in-person interviews (57%) were by far the scariest, followed by video interviews (28%), and finally phone interviews (15%).

*Research from TopCV

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