Ghosting job applicants

An acquaintance of mine, who wants to stay anonymous for obvious reasons, provided me the data for the above chart. The data came from their last job hunting experience. While a successful job search — after all, they got offers — there is something very disturbing that I would like to point out.

51% of companies provided no response to the applicant! The companies may have sent the immediate, automatically generated, ‘thanks for your application’ email. But no response after that. 

I don’t understand why a company would choose a policy that ignores a person who has taken the time to apply for a job.

When I job hunted in 2013, I had similar results. Many companies simply did not send a message after, presumably, deciding that I was not a fit for their company.

If you have been job hunting in the last five years, you probably noticed that most companies use an online application system. As someone who has been involved in the selection of these systems for implementation, I know they can be configured to send an email when an applicant is rejected.

After a few weeks you assume you got rejected. It leaves a bad taste in your mouth, however, that the company couldn’t be bothered to close the loop with you. Your growing block of ‘submitted, no response’ companies irritates like stones in your shoe.

I presume people generally have good intentions (see here for my bias) so I try to imagine why HR departments choose to go silent. But I fail to come up with anything reasonable.

If you are involved in HR or have influence over your HR department, please make sure that they make a point to respond to all job applications. Period. All of them.

I laugh about the fact that, when I graduated from college, I mailed (yes, paper mailed — it was a long time ago) 26 applications and got 27 rejection letters. I would rather get told ‘no’ twice than to not have any response. 







One response to “Ghosting job applicants”

  1. I think an organization that has a policy “written or unwritten “ that ignores someone who has taken time to apply for a job will continue struggling to hire and keep good people. Not responding to an applicant with either a yes or a no is missing a golden opportunity to make a first positive impression. All job applicants deserve some kind of communication. It’s just the right thing for an organization to do. An organization’s reputation matters.

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