For those not in the know, ghosting is a term coined in the digital age. It refers to abruptly ceasing all communication with someone without any warning and ignoring their attempts to get in touch. It’s typically used to refer to dating relationships, but can apply to any type of relationship. This includes the candidate-employer relationship! It goes both ways; either the job seeker or the employer can ghost the other. In a job-setting, it typically happens because one person doesn’t want to endure the hassle or unpleasantness of rejecting the other.

Ghosting can happen at any stage of the job application process. From directly after the initial application is received, to during the interview process, to even after an offer has been extended. No matter when the ghosting happens, employers are often left wondering ‘what went wrong?’ Though we don’t condone ghosting on either side (a polite ‘no thanks’ email is always the better option!) there are some common mistakes that precede many cases of employers being ghosted. Below we cover a few mistakes employers make that scare off candidates.


you waited too long

Did you know the average time to hire (or the length of time it takes from application until a candidate lands the job) is 22 days in Canada? That’s close to a month. And Canada’s actually considered one of the speediest countries. Americans wait closer to 23 days, Australians wait 28, and the French wait a whopping 32. 22 days is a lot to wait for anything, much less something as critical as a job. And remember that’s just the average. Some workers, especially those who work in complex, high-skill industries, may wait much longer. The recruitment system is broken and it’s only getting worse. In 2010, the average time-to-hire in Canada was 12 days. The current recruitment paradigm is built on the pretense that employers have all the power – that they deign to choose who is worthy of a job. In the current job market, the number of jobs outweigh talented candidates by a significant margin. A dated approach that assumes job seekers should bow to employers doesn’t fly anymore.

you didn’t keep them informed

Two-way communication is essential in any relationship. That extends to the employer-candidate relationship. Candidates are often told it’s their responsibility to follow up with employers after a job interview. Send a thank you note. Check in after a few days to see if they’ve made a decision. That lets employers off the hook when it comes to keeping in touch with a candidate.  Often recruiters and hiring managers get so swamped by the volume of candidates they’re in contact with that they neglect to respond at all. If you expect a candidate to wait around for you while you make a decision, keep them in the loop or you risk them thinking you’re not interested and losing your window of opportunity.

you weren’t 100% honest

Did you stretch the truth about what the role entails? Maybe the office isn’t as luxurious as you implied. Maybe there aren’t actually opportunities to grow in this role. It’s incredibly common for hiring managers to hype up the job offer to ramp up candidate interest. That can be awesome if you’re able to back up your lofty promises with action. But over promising and under delivering just sets candidates up for disappointment. Telling the truth and being authentic, even about the less than glamourous parts of the role, is usually the smarter move. At the end of the day it’s better to find a candidate who’s thrilled to accept the role warts and all than someone who grudgingly accepts a role that wasn’t what they were told it was.

the offer wasn’t up to scratch

Know your stuff before you put a job offer in writing. Is the salary you’re offering fair given the market rate? Are you offering adequate benefits and other perks? Often employers use the salary of the last person to hold the role as a benchmark for what to pay the next person. That can severely backfire if the last employee was underpaid. Market rates change all the time, and are radically different depending on the skills you need and where you’re hiring. Do your research to ensure any offer you table isn’t insulting. Need some help with benchmarking salaries in Canada? Check out our salary guide.

you asked too much

We’ve all been to an overly complex job interview, where the employer seems to think you need a Mensa membership and 3 Ph.Ds. to qualify for the incredible honour of working for them. If your expectations are unrealistic or you’re asking candidates to jump through hoops to work for you (i.e. taking multiple tests, personality screenings or scheduling multiple interviews to accommodate meeting several team members) they might just decide you’re not worth their time. After all, if this is how you’re treating them now, when you’re trying to entice them to work for you, how will you treat them when they’re on your payroll?

you don’t seem to care

There’s playing it cool, and then there’s being indifferent. Treat every candidate who enters your doors with respect and warmth. If you treat job applicants like they’re nothing special or just another application, it’s an immediate red flag that they won’t matter in your workplace either. Today’s most talented candidates have a wealth of opportunities laid out before them. They want to work for an employer who cares about them and their success. Millennials and Gen Z candidates, in particular, are attuned to what employers have to offer on a cultural and social level. If it’s clear that they’ll be nothing more than a tiny cog in a large machine, they may run for the hills.

want to create a better experience for candidates who want to work for you? check out more content on this subject.