No one likes to be told they’re not wanted, but ignoring your candidates may have a worse impact than if you had simply told them ‘no’.
If your candidates don’t hear from you after a certain amount of time, they are of course going to assume they’ve been unsuccessful in their application. This places them in the same position as if you had sent them a formal rejection, only with no effort on your part, right?
Unfortunately, wrong. ‘Ghosting’ your unsuccessful candidates creates a ripple effect which will ultimately come around to bite you.
Firstly, it’ll damage your reputation. This could be immediate and digital, with a candidate leaving an unfavourable review on a site such as Glassdoor. Alternatively, it could be more of a slow burn. Once they get a job somewhere else, the candidate may tell their colleagues. Before long, the industry knows how poorly you treat your candidates, negatively affecting any image you may possess of being a caring and compassionate business. No one wants to deal with a business with a bad reputation, so this could lose you more than just brownie points.
Secondly, it sets a standard. If you ghost your candidates, it’ll set a precedent that ghosting is an acceptable form of communication. You may find that in your next round of hiring, you’ll fail to get a response from a promising potential hire because they’ve decided they no longer want the role and would prefer to let you know via ghosting rather than by typing out an email.
What your candidates say about you matters:
83% of job seekers are likely to research company reviews and ratings if deciding on where to apply for a job.
52% of job seekers report that their preferred source for finding a relevant new job opportunity is an online job site, such as Glassdoor.
Finally, it ignores the fact that people evolve. Though that candidate may not have the experience or skills you’re looking for right now, it doesn’t mean they never will. You may find in a few months or years that one of your previously unsuccessful candidates is now perfect for another role. If, however, they had a poor experience that left a bitter taste in their mouth, they are extremely unlikely to even respond to your communication. In a way, it’s karma.
At the end of the day, it just isn’t the right thing to do. The job search is stressful and difficult. Waiting on tenterhooks for a response that never comes is a large and unnecessary addition to this stress.
The negative impacts of this practice – damaged reputation, getting ghosted back, missing out on future talent – are frankly deserved consequences of doing something wrong, and on top of that they will cost you money. It doesn’t take much to let a candidate know they’ve been unsuccessful, and it doesn’t take much more to assure them they’ll have better luck soon. Some companies have even been known to send thank you cards and gift vouchers or reimburse someone’s travel to show gratitude. A person shown this level of care is guaranteed only to speak well of the business in the future. Consider whether that might be something you’d want.