Job ghosting | 86% of jobseekers admit not showing up to interviews, research reveals

86% of jobseekers admit not showing up to interviews, research reveals

We’ve all heard of ghosting in dating, and it’s now become rife in the hiring industry, with a growing number of jobseekers admitting they’ve ghosted a potential employer in the past year.

86% of UK jobseekers have without-notice not shown up for a job interview according to new research from global matching and hiring platform Indeed.

The survey of 1,500 businesses and 1,500 working people in the UK has found that ghosting (the practice of withdrawing all communication suddenly and without explanation) isn’t just a dating phenomenon and has now infiltrated the hiring process, with three in four (75%) workers saying they’ve ghosted in the past year.

Gen Z are emboldened ghosters - Millennials have regrets

Gen Z (18-24-year-olds) and Millennials (25-44-year-olds) are the most likely to ghost a prospective job, with more than 3 in 4 (79%) having done so in the past year. However, the two youngest working generations have differing attitudes to the practice. Gen Z takes a confident approach, with 93% saying they haven’t shown up for an interview and 87% not showing up on their first day of work - the highest of any demographic. Almost a quarter of Gen Z even have no qualms about leaving their job without giving notice (23%).

More than half (56%) of Gen Z plans to ghost again - with this number gradually decreasing with age. These young workers have their reasons, however. Gen Z are the most likely to cite finding bad employee experiences at their prospective company (14%) as their reason to ghost. More than any other generation, Gen Z also say that ghosting made them feel in charge of their career (18%), revealing that they are keen to have autonomy over hiring decisions.

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Conversely, Millennials appear to have regrets about their ghosting. The group are the most likely to feel anxious after ghosting (32%) and worried that ghosting will negatively impact future opportunities (64%).

The misalignment between the feelings and actions of Millennials may be down to their communication style - Millennials are the most likely to say they ghosted because they didn’t feel comfortable telling the hiring manager they weren’t interested in the role (24%).

Ghosting becomes the norm

While younger workers may lead the charge, ghosting has become normalised across all age groups. In fact, almost half (43%) plan to ghost in some form again.

Almost a third (31%) of jobseekers say it’s okay to ghost prior to an interview and more than a quarter (28%) say it’s acceptable during communications with the hiring team. Jobseekers say they’re most likely to ghost by not responding to messages from the employer or recruiter during the job application process (38%).

Ghosting is a two-way street

Job hunters may feel emboldened to ghost as they believe the phenomenon goes both ways. 20% of workers say businesses have failed to show up for a phone interview, while 23% say they have been provided with a verbal offer and then been cut off. Over half (55%) agree that since employers ghost jobseekers, it’s fair play to do the same. And, perhaps surprisingly, over a third of companies agree that this sentiment is reasonable.

Ghosting burns time and resources for businesses

While ghosting is seen as commonplace by workers, it’s become a serious pain point for businesses. The majority (89%) of businesses think ghosting is a problem and more than half (55%) say it’s made it more difficult to hire.

With there being 934,000 job vacancies in the UK, it’s clear that ghosting is slowing down already busy hiring teams. It’s also having an impact on wellbeing, with 55% of businesses saying it’s increased stress for hiring teams while 48% agree it’s increased burnout.

The cost-of-living crisis is compounding the issue

The research shows that pay is a significant factor in jobseeker ghosting. The cost of living crisis is the second biggest decider when job hunters ghost (27%), only behind ‘unwillingness to settle for a job which doesn’t excite’. 37% also say that the cost of living crisis has made them more likely to ghost if another job provides a better financial offer, including better pay or a cheaper commute.

When suggesting ways employers could prevent being ghosted, workers ranked higher pay first (35%) followed by better benefits (30%) and more pay transparency (29%).

However, there’s a disconnect between businesses and workers, with only 26% of employers believing increasing pay would prevent ghosting. An even lower (18%) of businesses say candidates drop out of the hiring process because benefits weren’t adequate.

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Danny Stacy, UK Head of Talent Intelligence at the global matching and hiring platform Indeed, said: “It’s clear that ghosting has become an unwelcome phenomenon for employers, and is having an impact on the time, productivity and wellbeing of hiring teams. Reasons for ghosting may differ between generations, as we’ve seen in the differing perspectives on the practice between Millennials and Gen Z. However, the findings highlight clear ways businesses can do their part to prevent candidates of all kinds from abruptly leaving the hiring process. Workers point to being ghosted by employers as a reason to be able to do the same, so businesses have a clear directive to keep up communication on their end during the hiring process, even if it’s to let a candidate know they haven’t been successful for the role.

“It’s also clear that the financial offer is the biggest carrot for employers trying to attract talent, with pay, benefits and other factors that support the rise in cost-of-living likely to prevent a jobseeker from ghosting. Of course, not all businesses will be in the position to increase their offer, but being transparent about the financial package from the outset is likely to prevent jobseekers from ghosting further along the hiring process.”

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