‘Ghosting’ in recruitment has consequences on brand reputation says new report

‘Ghosting’ – a behaviour usually associated with unforgivable dating app etiquette, is now rife in recruitment, according to a new study.

The practice is affecting candidate mental health and the reputation of brands, with 94% of job applicants citing that the experience left them with negative feelings towards the brands in question.

Two-thirds (65%) of the UK public have been ghosted by a recruiter according to recruitment software company Tribepad; almost all of them (94%) said it left them with a negative perception of the company they applied to.

Three in four men (72%) have been ghosted during the job-seeking process, in comparison to three in five women (58%), with Londoners experiencing the poor practice most often (74% of all job seekers ghosted).

The impact on mental health is significant, according to the report. 86% of respondents claim the experience has left them down or depressed in some way, and 17% saying they had been left severely depressed.

Dean Sadler, CEO of Tribepad said: “The whole planet has been upended in the past 18 months and it’s inevitable that the impact of that is far-reaching. The HR and recruitment industry is under intense pressure with the job market contracting and expanding at an incredible pace. Nonetheless, the practice of ghosting applicants, at potentially one of the most stressful times of their lives, is having a significant negative impact on the individual, and how brands are viewed. We are calling for brands to pledge to acknowledge and address the problem, because it’s the right thing to do, and because doing so will safeguard their reputation and their future at the same time.”

More than four in 10 (43%) UK applicants who have been ghosted say it took them weeks or even months to recover, with 12% of men saying it took them several months to get their confidence back.

The research suggests that older workers seem more mentally resilient, with a third (35%) of 55-65 year olds saying they got over the experience instantly compared to just 14% of 18 to 24 year olds.

Interestingly, the demographic using dating apps most frequently, 25-34 year olds, take ghosting in recruitment the hardest. More than half (53%) taking weeks or months to get over the experience of being ignored post-interview. A quarter (25%) of this age group claims they’ve felt severely down or depressed after ghosting and a fifth (20%) saying they take months to recover, higher than any other age group.

Cities in Scotland and Wales are the least ghosted in the UK with 56% of job-seekers in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Cardiff ghosted. Despite Celtic job applicants least affected by the practice, they are the amongst the most disgruntled in the UK when it does happen, with 61% saying it has a significant negative effect on how they feel about the brand, suggesting that perhaps those who experience ghosting more often are hardened to the recruitment process.

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