The job search process can be brutal. It takes applicants a lot of time, effort, and even money to apply for job after job, only to feel like their efforts and applications may as well be getting sucked into a giant black hole. It’s frustrating for job applicants to never hear back from companies they’ve applied for, but it’s too often the norm.

Why Do Companies ‘Ghost’ Job Applicants?

Companies ‘ghost’ unsuccessful job applicants for a variety of reasons. These can range from having too many applicants to contact or not having time to forgetting or simply wanting to avoid conflict. Whatever the reason, you shouldn’t ‘ghost’ rejected job applicants if you can avoid it.

What Is Ghosting?

Ghosting is a term often heard in the dating world to refer to the act of avoiding all communication with someone. It leaves the other person with no idea what happened and wondering what they could have done wrong. Conflict is avoided on the part of the ghoster, but at the expense of leaving the ghostee feeling upset and frustrated.

The same applies for ghosting in the business world. It can occur both ways – the company or the applicant can cease all communication abruptly.

Burning Bridges

It takes a lot of time and effort to go through the recruiting and interview process for both the company and the prospective employee. Therefore, it’s in the company’s best interest to politely inform rejected job applicants, especially those who were promising, that you’ve decided to hire someone else but that you look forward to speaking with them again in the future if there are other openings.

If you avoid burning a bridge with a prospective employee, then you haven’t wasted the time and effort.

Future Prospects

If a rejected applicant finds other work within the same industry, there’s a chance that your company will still be working with that applicant in another capacity. If you have maintained a cordial relationship with rejected applicants, then any contact you may have with them will be much smoother. That candidate may end up working for one of your vendors or becoming one of your clients.

In addition, you’ll never know when other positions at your company will open up that a rejected applicant may be ideal for. The original first-choice candidate could back out of the job offer. Another employee within the company could decide to move on to another opportunity. Someone could receive a promotion.

Rejected applicants that were considered promising may be willing to accept a different offer with your company than what they had originally applied for.

Word Gets Around

If an unsuccessful applicant is ghosted by a prospective employer, there is a good chance that he or she will talk to other applicants. Word will get around that your company ghosts its rejected applicants. This could affect who applies to your company in the future.

Highly qualified candidates could decide not to apply for a position at your company no matter how good a fit they might be.

HR software can help you keep track of job applicants so you don’t lose track of any during the recruiting process. Do you have recruiting needs that you feel would be met by a HRIS? Visit our vendor match page and let us know your needs so we can help you find the perfect software.