The 2023 #EndGhosting report is here, adding new insights to our sweeping UK-wide research from last year. There’s some good news and some not-so-good news. Keep reading for our biggest findings about this bad hiring practice, and what the report means for recruiters across the country.
4 biggest findings from the 2023 #EndGhosting report
We started running the #EndGhosting campaign because you can’t improve what you don’t measure. Tackling bad recruiting practices starts with diving into the data to understand what’s really happening.
Here’s a summary of this year’s four biggest findings.
1 – Ghosting has decreased in 2023
First, the good news. When we launched our #EndGhosting campaign in 2022, we found that 65% of job applicants in the UK had been ghosted by an employer. Today, that figure has fallen by a third, to 42%.
If you’re one of the team’s who’ve been making progress this year, huge congratulations!
We know ghosting is complicated. Companies with bad recruitment practices aren’t doing it on purpose. Ghosting doesn’t happen because recruiters don’t care.
Rather, ghosting typically happens because you’re snowed under with applications and have zero bandwidth for anything other than keeping your head above water. (Sometimes not even for that.)
Any progress to improve the candidate experience despite those pressures is brilliant. It’s worth taking a moment to celebrate the wins.
But at the same time, let’s also reflect on where our industry can improve. Because 42% of UK jobseekers being ghosted is still too many. Honestly, 1% is too many.
2 – London is a ghosting hotspot
Londoners are 43% more likely to be ghosted than the UK average. The #EndGhosting report found that 60% of London-based jobseekers have been ghosted—compared to just the lowest, 34%, in the West Midlands.
That’s not surprising given the speed and scale of hiring in the capital. But it means London-based employers have some work to do.
One big positive: if you hire into London and you don’t ghost candidates, you have an even bigger opportunity to build a stand-out employer brand. Here’s what one respondent told us:
“We’ve come to expect ghosting as normal. It felt like a joy to get a response, even not a positive one, as at least there was closure. In the end I decided to go freelance, as I was fed up of being led on what seemed a bit of dance.”
Imagine the competitive advantage of being the brand that inspires joy in candidates. Imagine the brilliant people you could attract and retain.
3 – Younger candidates are ghosted most
In our #EndGhosting research, we also looked at the age profiles of candidates who have been ghosted. Our Stop the Bias research last year found that age was far and away the biggest factor candidates worried about causing discrimination, so we wanted to see how those concerns translated into ghosting.
Tribepad’s Stop the Bias report 2022 found that 78% of UK jobseekers are concerned they’ll face discrimination because of their age (either because they’re ‘too old’ or ‘too young’).
We found that 18-24 year olds are 5x as likely as over 64s to face ghosting.
This suggests particular issues with the high-volume, entry-level roles younger applicants are often applying most for – no surprises there.
If you handle enormous application volumes, we know efficiency is everything. But efficiency can’t come at the cost of the candidate experience. It risks damaging your reputation, hurting your employer brand, and making recruitment harder long-term.
4 – Ghosting becomes a vicious cycle
Ghosting might’ve decreased from last year, but the same pattern is happening where the ghosted become the ghosts.
Our report found that 19% of jobseekers admit to having ghosted an employer – young people, men, and Londoners being the worst culprits.
We’ve never met a recruiter who doesn’t loathe candidate dropouts. Candidates who ghost you increase cost-per-hire, slow time-to-hire, and cause a whole lot of heartache around the circuit.
But are we bringing that on ourselves, at least to some extent? We’re not saying that all candidates’ ghosting stems from employers ghosting candidates. And we’re not condoning it. But it certainly doesn’t help.
Ghosting (and bad recruiting practices generally) create a toxic hiring landscape where employers and candidates are pitted against one another, rather than working together to match people to the jobs where they’ll genuinely thrive.
And that brings us to an important truth:
Ending ghosting isn’t just better for recruitment delivery – it’s recruiters’ moral responsibility.
Yes, ghosting ultimately is shooting ourselves in the foot.
A whopping 91% of candidates say ghosting makes them think less of the brand, making them less likely to apply for future positions and less likely to recommend the organisation. That’s a big deal given that 67% of people find out about potential jobs via colleagues, friends, and family.
Ghosting is bad for candidates and bad for business. It damages the candidate experience and hurts employer brand, making it harder and more expensive to hire.
But more than that.
If you’ve spent time with Tribepad, you’ll know we’re all-in on the power of recruitment as a force for good. The right jobs really do change lives. The right jobs are the major mechanism for a more diverse, equal, and inclusive society.
But bad hiring practices like ghosting are a major barrier.
This year’s report brings that to life. We heard qualitative input from lots of the people we spoke to, and the quotes don’t make for pretty reading.
Recruitment is “frustrating and upsetting”. Ghosting recruiters “lack any sense of courtesy or compassion”. Candidates are “cynical” and disillusioned.
As an industry, we need to do better. Not just for our own recruitment outcomes, but because as an industry we are the gatekeepers for societal change. We have a responsibility.
So let’s finish with the same call to action as last year. Ghosting might’ve improved – but let’s not rest on our laurels. Let’s banish the bad hiring practices and #EndGhosting once and for all.
Tribepad is the trusted tech ally to smart(er) recruiters everywhere. Combining ATS, CRM, Video Interviewing, and Onboarding, our talent acquisition software is a springboard for faster, fairer, better recruitment for everyone. (Here’s how we help teams #EndGhosting).