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More Than 40% of Job Applicants Say It’s Reasonable to ‘Ghost’ a Company During the Hiring Process

August 29, 2018

by Michelle Delgado

Senior Writer & Marketer, Clutch

New survey finds job seekers and employers ghost each other at all stages of the recruiting process as part of doing business in a tight job market where companies compete to hire top talent.

WASHINGTON, DC, August 29, 2018— ‘Ghosting’ a potential employer is an acceptable practice, according to a new survey from Clutch, a B2B ratings and reviews firm.Job candidates approve of ghosting but don't like being ghosted. 

More than 40% of job seekers say it’s reasonable to ghost companies during the interview process, abruptly cutting off communication when they decide not to pursue a job. 

Workplace ghosting occurs because job seekers accept another job offer (30%) or decide a role is not a match (19%). Job seekers also ghost in response to being ghosted: Nearly one-quarter (23%) say they ghost when a company stops communicating with them.

Marissa Connell, a current job seeker, views ghosting as a normalized part of the recruitment process.

“You can usually figure out if a job posting is honest and what you’re looking for,” said Connell, who ghosts companies that post inaccurate job descriptions or do not answer her questions about a role.

Overall, more than 70% of job seekers have abandoned a job application. More than half (55%) say they abandon 1-5 job applications during a job search.

“If we’re losing good candidates because of a problem with our process, that could be having a bigger impact than we’d like it to,” FullStack Labs CEO David Jackson said.

Job Seekers View Companies That Ghost Unfavorably

Applicants rank ghosting more favorably when they initiate it, compared to when companies ghost them.

More than one-third of job seekers (35%) say it’s very unreasonable for a company to ghost an applicant. Only 21% believe it’s very unreasonable for an applicant to ghost a company.

A strong economy means candidates have more jobs to choose from. As a result, companies must work harder to win talent.

Companies That Fail to Communicate Signal Approval of Ghosting

Companies that ghost candidates may inadvertently signal their approval of ghosting.

More than one-third of job seekers (36%) received no response at all from the last company that rejected them.

When candidates do receive a response, only one-third of rejections (30%) end with a generic rejection email, providing candidates with much-needed closure.

Fewer companies personalize rejection. Only 1 in 5 candidates (21%) are rejected by phone and only 13% receive a personalized rejection email.

Ghosting Is Considered More Acceptable in Early Interview Stages

Among job seekers who approve of ghosting, nearly half (48%) say it’s reasonable to ghost a company during the early stages of the interview process.Ghosting becomes less acceptable as the interview process progresses. 

As companies evaluate and compare candidates during the middle and final stages of the interview process, job seekers’ position shifts, and they consider it more reasonable for the company to initiate ghosting. 

Once a job offer has been made, however, job seekers believe it’s equally reasonable for companies or applicants to ghost. Nearly 1 in 10 job seekers say it’s acceptable for a candidate to ghost after accepting a job offer (9%) or for a company to ghost after extending an offer (8%).

Clutch’s 2018 Recruiting Survey included 507 full-time employees who started a new job in the past 6 months.

Read the full report here: https://clutch.co/hr/resources/what-causes-workplace-ghosting

For questions about the survey, a comment on the findings, or an introduction to the industry experts included in the report, contact Michelle Delgado at mdelgado@clutch.co.

About Clutch

A B2B research, ratings, and reviews firm in the heart of Washington, DC, Clutch connects small and medium businesses with the best-fit agencies, software, or consultants they need to tackle business challenges together and with confidence. Clutch’s methodology compares business service providers and software in a specific market based on verified client reviews, services offered, work quality, and market presence.


Michelle Delgado


(202) 869-3866