A new campaign urges companies to stop 'ghosting' job candidates, which it says is bad for both people's wellbeing and brands' reputations

By Stephen Jones

An international recruitment firm has launched a campaign asking employers to stop "ghosting" job candidates, saying that the practice can severely damage people's wellbeing.

The campaign, end-ghosting.com, was launched by the UK recruitment software company Tribepad, which works with clients in 16 countries. 

Ghosting — which takes its name from the practice in dating — usually involves an employer going silent on an applicant during the interview process. The company may have interviewed the applicant, or asked them to complete a test, without giving feedback.

This can damage applicants' wellbeing as well as the reputation of a company, according to Tribepad, which surveyed 2,000 UK adults who had previously searched for a new job.

The website invites companies to sign a pledge acknowledging that they may have ghosted people in the past, but will take steps to avoid doing so in the future.

According to the findings of Tribepad's survey, summarized in a whitepaper, 86% of employees said that being ghosted had left them feeling down, and 17% of this group said the impact was severe.

The site also invited employees to share their accounts of being ghosted. One account quoted in the whitepaper claimed that an applicant had six phone calls with a company, but then heard nothing back.

Another applicant, Jessica, said that a company broke contact midway through the interview process, despite guaranteeing her a final interview. 

"I just didn't understand, wasn't it the hiring manager's job to get back to me? Maybe they were overwhelmed with applicants. They could have said anything: 'you weren't quite right, we changed our mind'; even have sent a standard email template response," Jessica said, per the whitepaper.

The pandemic has led to more ghosting from both employers and employees. 

The pandemic appears to have made ghosting worse.

In a February 2021 survey by the jobs site Indeed, 77% of US employees surveyed said that they'd been ghosted since the start of the pandemic. 

Some are even reporting being ghosted by their employer, despite them having a contracted role. 

Several US workers told Insider's Dominick Reuter that they had been gradually removed from rotas without explanation. Most worked in industries with irregular work schedules, such as hospitality. Most service work in the United States is 'at will' employment, meaning a company does not have to give an employee notice before terminating their contract.

More than a quarter of employees, however, also said they'd ghosted an employer, an increase from 18% in 2019, according to the Indeed survey.

Some employees are going further, exploiting the US labor shortage to land a job, then leave shortly after their first paycheck. Such is the scale of this trend, known as "ghosting coasting," that the Federal Reserve bank of Atlanta noted the problem in its latest economic trends roundup.

The trend, which has been accelerated during the pandemic, is disruptive for restaurants, but workers say they have their reasons, blaming low-pay, horrible working conditions, and bad managers.