Scary Things Staffing Recruiters Do to Drive Great Candidates Away

Ever been ghosted by a candidate?

It’s a “new normal” in staffing – and it’s extremely frustrating. Viable candidates seem to vanish without a trace in the midst of the recruiting process, never to be heard from again.

But recruiters aren’t blameless.

The word ghosting is now being used to describe similar behavior in the employment world where recruiters simply disappear without as much as a “thanks, but no thanks” email.

If you are guilty of this behavior, it can have a negative impact on your business.

One of job seekers’ biggest complaints about staffing firms is lack of communication. Of course, when you have a lot of jobs to fill, it can be tough to find the time to follow up on every application and interview. You may be too busy, prefer to avoid confrontation, or focused on other priorities.

Here’s why you should avoid ghosting at all costs:

  • 52% of job seekers cite lack of employer response as their number one frustration. Don’t underestimate the seriousness of this issue.
  • Job seekers are waiting to hear from you. You may have many candidates, but they have only one career. Try to put yourself in their shoes.
  • Today’s job seeker could be tomorrow’s hiring manager. Why burn a bridge if you don’t have to? Treat a job seeker well, and they will remember your kindness and professionalism when they are on the other side of the desk.
  • The wrong candidate for this position could be just the right fit for the next. Nothing makes you look better to an employer than filling a position both accurately and quickly. Remaining engaged with candidates in your pipeline can make you a valuable resource for your clients.
  • Reputation management is critical. Candidates who feel mistreated not only tell their friends, they tell the entire internet via review sites. There is no limit to the damage that can be done on social media if you don’t make candidate experience a priority.


How can you improve candidate communication? Stay in touch.

Communication is key. With unemployment at record lows, job seekers hold all the cards. Recruiters and employers now find that they are the ones being ghosted by job seekers who don’t return calls or even fail to show up for the first day of work. Being on the receiving end of this frustrating behavior is an excellent reminder to staffing professionals and hiring managers of the importance of empathy in the hiring process.

Set clear expectations.

If you tell a candidate that you will let them know about a job by a specific day, contact them by that date, even if it’s just to let them know a decision has not been reached and they are still in the running. If you want to reduce the number of contacts you need to make, tell candidates that you will only be notifying those who are proceeding to the next step.

Pick up the phone.

If you have interviewed a candidate, it’s a best practice to call them to present an employment offer or let them know they shouldn’t expect one. This is especially true if there have been multiple interviews that have taken a lot of the candidate’s time. If they are a great candidate, but just missed getting the offer, let them know that you will keep an eye out for future opportunities, then do so.  You know what they have to offer now, so you won’t have to re-do a lot of legwork.

Become a resource.

Consider an email marketing program that targets candidates. Many staffing firms see the value in email marketing to clients but are less willing to invest in candidate engagement. In a tight talent market, it is often money well spent. Create an opt-in job seeker newsletter for candidates. Provide resources on your website that teach how to create a great resume,  impress in an interview or conduct an effective job search. Make sure that at least half of your blogs are candidate-focused to drive additional traffic to your website. This is a great strategy to demonstrate your value to both active and passive candidates.

Don’t hesitate with a great candidate.

You won’t be the only one who can recognize their talent. Move the process along as quickly as possible and update them on every step along the way. Top candidates will not be on the market long, but they are more likely to trust you with their search if they can see you are invested in their success.

Take advantage of the tools you already have at your fingertips:

  • Autoresponder. Most online applications have an autoresponder. Use it to thank the candidate for their application, of course, but also list next steps, with a timeline if possible. Take a friendly, engaging tone to show that you really do appreciate them taking the time to fill out your application. Many systems will allow you to segment your response by the type of position applied for so that the automated response is specific to the applicant.
  • Templated emails. If a candidate has gotten as far as a phone screen, for example, email them promptly to let them know where they stand. Tell them if you are moving forward with other candidates or will be contacting them to schedule an interview. Set up templated emails for yourself that you can reuse as a base. Adding a personal touch will only take a few minutes and make the candidate feel valued.
  • Scheduled mailings. Dig deep into all the tools offered to you. You might be surprised at everything your job board, ATS, staffing software, and recruitment CRM have to offer. It can be difficult to take time out of your day to train yourself, but it will save you time in the long run. You may find features such as the ability to attach a personalized note when you send an intriguing job post or keep them engaged with regular updates.


With unemployment the lowest its been in decades, you need to do everything in your power to take great care of candidates. By improving the quality and frequency of communication, and leveraging tools you already have, you can provide a better service experience and stop scaring top talent away.